tips

Writing Tips

That Creepy Feeling — Writing Shivery Stories


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First, let me say that this is what my average family gathering looks like around the holidays. The poisonous mushrooms steaming up grandma’s crystal platter. The live goldfish flitting about wide-eyed in their bowl, wondering if they’ll be swallowed whole or if cousin Octavia will get a hold of them first. Cousin Octavia likes to play with her food. Then there’s the questionable Jell-o, the stuffed gecko and Aunt Muriel’s bottle of Chanel No 5. Always handy when the still-beating heart hidden under the floorboards starts to smell.Addams Family DinnerOkay, my real family gatherings aren’t quite so grim, but they would make a good setting for a tummy-turning tale. So what are the secret ingredients to a juicy, brain-curdling yarn? (more…)

Writing Tips

Writing Memorable Characters


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From the misunderstood Lady Macbeth to the beloved Wilbur the pig, some literary characters stick with us long after the story ends. They are powerful, conniving, selfless, greedy and, most of all, far from ordinary. Like Paul Bunyan, these unforgettable characters tower over the rest and make even the most mundane moments seem larger-than-life.

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So how can you turn your run-of-the-mill lumberjack into a literary giant? (more…)

Writing Tips

Writer vs. Dr. Dread


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You know that moment halfway through a sentence when a sour taste creeps up the back of your throat? Is it the coffee and candy straws you ate for breakfast making an unwanted reappearance? Nope, it’s that crusty slimeball of awfulness I call Dr. Dread.49710_XXX_v1And no, he’s not a delicious combination of Jamaican seasonings, but he is a real jerk. I’m talking about fear. (more…)

Writing Tips

Top Ten Writing Tips — Part 1


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This is the start of a series I’ll be doing on my blog featuring my top ten writing tips. So, let’s get down to business:
1. Write (a lot)
Writing is a passion, but it’s also hard work. Not every moment involves sipping triple espressos at a hip coffee shop, letting the grinding of the machines fire your muse. Sometimes (most of the time), you have to forget about the dark sunglasses and adorable misanthropy and sit down at the kitchen table and write. And we’re not talking about a few expertly crafted sentences scribbled feverishly whenever the muse happens to strike. Writers who hope to make a living with their writing can’t wait for the muse. They have to write through hangovers, holiday weekends and looming mushroom-clouds of self-doubt. Some days will feel like caffeine-fueled love fests, every word streaming perfectly formed onto the paper. Other times, writing will feel like giving birth to a demon baby, the kind with pointy horns and teeth. No matter what type of day it is, try your best to write, and write a lot.

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Writing Tips

Find Your Voice


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Voice is that nebulous, often hard-to-define concept that makes your writing sing. At its core, voice reflects the unique lens through with you see the world. Like Neil Gaiman once said, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.” We’ve all heard the old adage that every story has already been told. Editors and agents read hundreds of queries every month, many pitching stories with similar concepts to yours. The only thing you have that nobody on earth can replicate is the unique combination of life experience and DNA that you alone possess. Your voice should come from this deep-down, irreproducible place.

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So how do you find your unique voice? Here are a few tips that have helped me along the way: (more…)