Write what you know. Have you been given that advice? Most likely. And it can be great advice. If you’re a neurosurgeon and you’re writing hospital thrillers, you have an inside scoop on the details that can make a story rich.
If you live in New York or Paris or a tiny rural town in British Columbia and you set all your stories there, you have insight into the smells,… read more
Parents, does this sound familiar?
You’ve had a novel swirling around in your head for some time; characters form while you're driving in the car. Plot twists develop in the shower. Worlds and settings come to life while you prepare dinner. You sit down at your computer desk, or open your laptop and prepare to write.
Just as you type out a few words, your child appears beside… read more
This post is part two in a series.
In The Structure of Flash Fiction (part 1), we discussed how you can use flash fiction to help hone your story and covered the first part of flash fiction structure.
Here's what comes next:
The middle part of the story contains a few (maybe 4-6) sentences that show the attempted conflict resolution has failed.… read more
Flash fiction is a very short story. How short depends on who is defining it. Some say less than 1500 words, some say 1000. Some flash fiction stories can be just a few words. For novel writers, thinking about your story this way can also help you focus on what matters.
Though these articles are about structure, it’s important to note that no two flash stories are alike. The more flash… read more
A lot of people write by the seat of their pants—that is, they rush headlong into writing a book without any sort of physical outline. That’s okay. Everyone’s writing process is different and if throwing yourself into a story without an outline works for you, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But if you’re ready to consider plotting your next novel, or if you’re partway through a book and… read more
If you talk to other writers about writer’s block, a fair number will say there’s no such thing. Writer’s block is just lack of planning; someone once told me. Another said writer’s block just means I’m not trying.
But if you’re not writing, you have writer’s block, and whether that’s caused by an uncomfortable chair, a lack of ideas, or fear of failure, the end result is the same—you’re… read more
Whether it's a magical fairy tale like “Cinderella” or a well-worn favorite such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), classic stories continue to inspire both readers and writers alike. Works that are in the public domain offer a multitude of opportunities for writers seeking inspiration. This can be seen in the numerous retellings of classic myths and fairy tales as well as the… read more
The year 2022 was a banner year for retellings of classic stories, fairy tales, and myths, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Recent and upcoming examples include Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Daughter of Doctor Moreau (a riff on The Island of Doctor Moreau), Nghi Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful (a fantasy remix of the The Great Gatsby), and Mary McMyne’s The… read more
When working in the subgenre of cosmic fiction, it is critical to remember that the atmosphere of creeping dread is key.
Real-world issues such as climate change, racial violence, and political upheaval work well in the realm of Lovecraftian horror.
It is the sensation of fear centered on the unknowable that creates this existential panic and madness experienced by characters who… read more