Writing

Lessons From the Terrible Writing of Eragon

I’ve never read Christopher Paolini’s Eragon before now, but I’ve heard it compared to both Star Wars and Harry Potter. I know I can expect a young male chosen one and (obviously) the dragon on the cover. Perhaps a dragon named Eragon, as that’s just … read more »

Writing a Short Story vs a Novel

A big horse walking alongside a miniature horse.

With the dawn of online publishing, we have more options for story length than ever before. Microfiction, flash fiction, novelettes, and novellas all have a market online, and most writers will transition to a different length during their careers. It can be confusing to adapt … read more »

Ten Quick Style 101 Exercises

medieval writing on parchment

Different stories call for different language. You might write a romance with long flourishing sentences and a gritty noir with abrupt phrasing. Genre settings need language that blends in, or the phrasing will call attention to itself and away from the story. If you always … read more »

Conveying Character Emotion

You know your character inside out, but that isn’t coming across to your readers. They aren’t sure what your character is feeling, and they certainly aren’t feeling it themselves. The scenes you carefully crafted to maximize emotional impact fall flat instead. If that sounds familiar, … read more »

Pacing Your Dialogue

Dialogue is like music; rhythm flows from its notes and pauses. By shaping the pace of your dialogue, you can make this rhythm more engaging. Plus, those annoying tags become less noticeable when you’re not hitting the same beat every time. Read more »

Shaping the Sound of Your Dialogue

What you write between double quotes isn’t just ideas on a page; it’s notation for vocal sounds. Thinking of dialogue as sound will help you shape the voices of your characters and communicate their tone to readers. Read more »

Labeling Your Dialogue

Argument at the Council of Elrond

Writers use labels, known as dialogue tags, to tell their readers which character is speaking. Many writers think dialogue tags are part of their story’s narration. That’s a mistake. Tags aren’t narration; they’re a technical necessity like punctuation, font, and quotes. We don’t want readers … read more »