Solving Pronoun Problems Can Benefit Your Writing in General

PRONOUNS (002)One of the most effective ways to obfuscate, distract and otherwise confuse your readers is to misuse pronouns. Here are some writing tips that will straighten out your pronoun use and add punch to your writing at the same time.

Overuse of Pronouns

I’m sure you’ve seen it:

He screamed and flailed at him, while his father desperately tried to pull him away.

Without some context, all we know is that there are three characters in this scene, all are male, and one of the younger pair is upset with the other. What is actually going on, and who is doing it, is quite opaque. And all because of a few little pronouns. Continue reading “Solving Pronoun Problems Can Benefit Your Writing in General”

Writing a Series: Pitfalls and Solutions

writing a series graphicCommon wisdom has it that, as an Indie, it’s a good idea to write a series. You price the first book as free or $.99 and set the rest at a regular price. Once readers are hooked, you can pretty well count on them to buy the others. Loyal customers and all that.  But inherent in the multi-book series, you have two main problems. Continue reading “Writing a Series: Pitfalls and Solutions”

6 Key Differences Between Storytelling and Writing

STORYTELLING (002)Lately I’ve been working on a project recording people’s personal stories and editing them for publication. While creating these transformations, I have gained a new appreciation for the difference between a work told by a storyteller to a live audience and something written by an author for the reading public. Storytellers who want to write their stories down run into so many problems because some elements of the storyteller’s art just don’t translate to written form. Since the ability to tell a story is one of the key items in every writer’s toolbox, we all tend to slip into storyteller tricks. Watch out for this slippage; often it doesn’t work. Continue reading “6 Key Differences Between Storytelling and Writing”

8 Elements of Tradecraft: Is Your Writing Plumb, Level, and Square?

writing and tradecraft PLUMB LEVEL SQUAREOver the holidays I was talking to my brother, who is a carpenter in Fort McMurray in the Alberta Oil Patch. Because he spends a lot of time living in camp, he is a voracious reader, so when he talks about books, I listen. His comment was that a lot of the authors he reads do not pay enough attention to their tradecraft.

As a carpenter, his objective in every project is that everything is plumb, level, and square. It is easy to slack off and not bother. Boards are usually cut off square in the mill, so if you jam them together tight, they will usually align themselves square to each other. However, if they are even slightly off, your project will not end up completely square. Which is no problem, until some day, later on, you try to match it up to another project. Then, if the other piece of work isn’t quite square either, the errors always multiply, and the two will never fit together, and in the end it will all look like crap. And if the first project is, for example, the foundation of a house, the whole rest of the structure is going to be problematic. Continue reading “8 Elements of Tradecraft: Is Your Writing Plumb, Level, and Square?”