Monthly Archives: September 2014

Shades and variations. How to write a novel — part 12

It occurred to me as I read through some of the stories submitted by my students, that many of them missed opportunities to enhance their work through shades and variations. Like most writers, they were working with a deadline, so … Continue reading

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Chunk-style! How to write a novel — part 11

Forgive me, please, for a moment of wool-gathering. Whenever I think of “chunks,” I can’t help but conjure an image of Arnold Stang gazing, drooling, lusting, or in deep contemplation of a hefty cubeĀ of chocolate known as a “Chunky.” Given … Continue reading

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Readers as conspirators. How to write a novel — part 10.

Wait. What? Readers are supposed to conspire with writers? What kinda rubbish is that? The clever kind. The sneaky kind. The think-ahead kind. It’s a strategy any writer can use to enlist the reader’s aid in creating settings that resonate … Continue reading

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Declare war on “was.” How to write a novel — part 9

Let’s be clear from the start; I don’t like the word “was.” It’s evil. That said, I use it. Lord, do I ever. In fact, I probably use it too much. And the really sad thing is: I know better. … Continue reading

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Death to weasel words. How to write a novel — part 8

What the hell is a weasel word? And how could there be more than one? Sadly, there are almost too many to count, and like their cuddly little namesakes, weasel words appear soft, sweet and quite unremarkable. The problem is … Continue reading

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But that’s NOT how it happened! How to Write a Novel — part 7

We’ve all heard the admonition that we should write what we know. And, sadly, some folks still think that’s good advice. Trust me when I say it ain’t. If it were, there wouldn’t be any science fiction, unless it’s okay … Continue reading

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Why you need “good” bad guys. How to write a novel — part 6

If you don’t take your bad guys seriously, how can you expect your readers to feel any differently? We’re talking about villains here, and for most adult fiction, two dimensional bad guys like Snidely Whiplash rate no better than what … Continue reading

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