Looking to brush up your writing skills or learn a new trick or two? You've come to the right place! Check back weekly for helpful tips and articles that make your writing better. 

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In Narrative Voice: Point of View and Tenses, we looked at the difference between various points of view; now we'll consider how to put that information to good use. The question is: How do you, the author, know what point of view is best for you and your story? 

Choosing your story's point of view may be the most crucial decision you make when crafting your novel. Point of view… read more

June 14, 2024
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July 13, 2022

Folklore, which includes folk and fairy tales, legends, myths, fables, ballads, rhymes, riddles, jokes, and proverbs, offers a rich menu of ideas to use in your writing. You can retell a traditional tale or include a character from a tale in your own story. Items of folklore are in the public domain, which means that you are able to reuse them without worry (unless you are borrowing from… read more

June 24, 2022

If you’re writing and editing your novel and plan to submit it to an agent or a publisher, there are a few more small things you can do to make sure your manuscript is polished and as professional as possible. Before you begin, note that most publishers only accept submissions through an agent, though there are exceptions, so if you're sending your manuscript directly to a publisher, make sure… read more

June 11, 2022

No writer can ever produce a flawless manuscript alone. Writers are simply too close to the story to know if everything has been successfully translated onto the page. That’s why writers work with reader groups, critique partners, writer’s circles, or professional editors.

Other Writing Partners

But before we dive into the specifics, let’s talk… read more

April 24, 2022

Draft one of a manuscript is for you. In this draft, you get to tell your story to yourself. You can write as much as you want, go off on tangents or side quests, or infodump and worldbuild to your heart’s content.

Draft two is for your readers. Draft two is where you rework the story you told yourself to ensure that you transmit it to the readers in a way that is entertaining,… read more

April 06, 2022

There are many ways to approach manuscript editing, each with its own particular process, and nearly every editor and writing advice site has their or its own method.  This post will describe the most common types, explain what they’re for, and provide questions you can ask yourself to ensure that you’re approaching this stage in the best way possible.

Bear in… read more

February 25, 2022

Cutting through the noise as a writer is hard. Not only are short story contests a great way to get eyes on your work, winning a short story competition can provide a much needed sense of validation, and it never hurts to make money doing what you love. Here are some tips on how to enter a short story contest that will hopefully give you the best chance for… read more

February 18, 2022

So, you’ve finished writing your manuscript. Congrats! Huzzah!

Now it’s time to turn that haphazard collection of phrases and scenes into a polished, thoughtful, and intentional novel. And how do you do that? By editing.

Editing is a small word, but it encompasses a heck of a lot of work. And it requires a completely different way of looking at… read more

January 30, 2022

This post is the fifth in a series on subplots. 

Now that you've figured out what kind of subplot you’ll be writing, and who will be the star and/or narrator of it, let’s look at the technical aspects of how to integrate your subplot(s) into the structure of your main plot. The methods I’m going to highlight here are by no means the only way to do it, but they are the most popular… read more

January 18, 2022

This post is the fourth in a series on subplots.

As you’re developing your secondary plot, you'll need to start thinking about who is going to carry it. Some subplots continue to feature, or may be told from, the POV of your main character. Other subplots may focus instead on a minor or secondary character, who guides the reader through this second storyline.

It’s tempting to… read more

December 31, 2021

Now that you know what a subplot is, and you’ve decided what kind you’re going to write, it’s time to figure out what shape that subplot is going to take.

What Do You Need To Accomplish?

The first step is to think about what you need this secondary plot to accomplish. You know the goals and thrust of the main plot, but what will this secondary one do to either aid or impede your… read more