Writing

Why English Needs Singular They

A portrait of William Shakespeare.

Despite the growing recognition and validation of gender-neutral pronouns, there are still many people – particularly in the writing industry – who reject singular they. These traditionalists usually complain that singular they will make the English language worse, since the meaning of “they” will be … read more »

Lessons From the Hyped Writing of Dawn of Wonder

Art showing man holding sword, with a fortress in the background

As soon as I spotted the cover for Jonathan Renshaw’s Dawn of Wonder, The Wakening, I knew this was the book to critique. “Dawn of Wonder” is already dramatic sounding, and adding “The Wakening” pushes it into melodrama. It doesn’t help that these words border … read more »

A Beginner’s Guide to Epistolary Writing

Old Letter and Photos

Many writers have a pet narrative technique they think is underused and underappreciated. For me, it’s epistolary writing. While this framing premise has its challenges, it can also be wonderfully creative and powerful. For those who haven’t tried it, allow me to give you a … read more »

Giving Your Hero Sympathetic Problems

Making your protagonist a relatable underdog is a great way to encourage your audience to bond with them. Unfortunately, it’s easy for this effort to go wrong. Instead of feeling sympathy for your hero, the audience might think your character is whiny and unpleasant. The narration … read more »

When to Narrate a Villain’s Point of View

Through a doorway, Barty Crouch Jr kneels by Voldemort's char

Most writers know that their important protagonists should have the lion’s share of viewpoint scenes. However, some stories need another point of view to communicate information the protagonists don’t know. Often, that point of view comes from the primary antagonist. Unfortunately, using a villain’s point … read more »

Using Poetic Devices

Rose and rose petals on a book next to a brush with red paint

If you want your words to sound captivating, borrow tricks from a poet. Most fiction writers are familiar with literary devices like metaphor and personification, but it’s less common for storytellers to focus on auditory effects. Working with sound and rhythm can help you convey … read more »

How Useful Are Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules of Writing?

Despite passing away in 2007, Kurt Vonnegut remains a giant in the American speculative fiction tradition. His writing is both poignant and politically charged, with masterpieces like the anti-war Slaughterhouse-Five and the surreal Cat’s Cradle. There’s a good chance you read some of his work … read more »

Six Habits That Sabotage Audio Stories

A big set of headphones on an open book.

For a long time, prose stories were written with the understanding that they’d always be read off a page. That’s no longer the case. Audiobooks were once a niche market, but with the prevalence of smartphones and mp3 players, audio has exploded. These days, nearly every major … read more »