How to Develop Your “Author’s Voice” – and How Not to

authors tools wrenchIt is very easy to have your own voice. Basically your voice is anything in your writing style that makes you different from the competition. Some of these qualities are positive, but some are negative. Unfortunately, the negative ones are the easiest, because they tend to look like mistakes. Be careful not to fall into their snare. Continue reading “How to Develop Your “Author’s Voice” – and How Not to”

Writing Tip: Another Set of Words to Trim

HAIRCUT (002) indies unlimited writingI wrote an article here a couple of years ago suggesting ways to tidy up shaggy writing. It’s been a while, and perhaps it’s time for another trim.

Everyone has a list of words and phrases you should “never use.” Many of these are not specific taboos. They are just loose writing that could be tightened if you recognize the symptoms and want to try harder.

Here are a few words and phrases you might consider adding to your private list. Note that I have found all of these at one time or another in a “real” book, and often while I’m polishing my own work. Continue reading “Writing Tip: Another Set of Words to Trim”

Monkeys on Typewriters: Creativity vs Grammar

Ape using a typewriter
Yes, we know this is an ape, not a monkey.

Creativity walks a tightrope. If you are not creative enough, your readers will be bored. If you are too creative, your readers will be mystified.

“Oh!” says the Creative Soul. “That’s what I want. I want my reader to be mystified.”

Not this way, you don’t. I mean mystified as in “mixed up, baffled, confounded, deceived and perplexed.” None of these are particularly happy emotions, especially “deceived.”

Yes, there is a challenge in reading a piece of work that sets a puzzle you must solve in order to understand it. For many experienced readers, the joy of solving the puzzle is a great part of the pleasure of reading. Witness the popularity of Joyce’s “Ulysses.”

But… Continue reading “Monkeys on Typewriters: Creativity vs Grammar”

Tips to Help Pantsers Get Moving Again When the Story Stops

writers block solutions light-bulb-3104355_1920 (002)Those who are pantsers (who write by the seat of the pants, rather than outlining a story) can run into a problem that outliners don’t encounter as much: the story stalling.

It’s happened to every pantser at least once, where they’re in a groove, the story is moving along nicely, and then bam, nothing seems to work. Everything they want to write seems flat or the story just doesn’t move in a compelling way anymore. So, if you’re a pantser and your story has stalled, here a couple of things to try to get your writing mojo flowing again. Continue reading “Tips to Help Pantsers Get Moving Again When the Story Stops”