Six impossible things


Following a trail instead of a hook

A lot of attention gets paid to “writing a killer hook” for one’s story, to the point where I’ve known people to spend more time writing their very first sentence than they spend working on the whole rest of their story. Not all at once, of course. […]

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Update notice

This is just to let everyone know that sometime in the next day or two we are rolling over to the new site format, which is not that different from the current one but which will (we hope) be more mobile-friendly. I’m hoping that there won’t be […]

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Little things

The subject matter of a story is seldom what really makes it interesting to a reader. A great idea that can be summed up in one tantalizing sentence may attract attention, but what keeps the reader going past the first page is a combination of the subject […]

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Synopsis, Part II

Most of the positive things to remember about writing a synopsis are hard, because they run counter to everything else one gets told about writing. First among them is this: A synopsis is the place to tell, not show. Fiction writers have “show, don’t tell” pounded into […]

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Synopsis, part 1

I’m going to pretend that this blog entry was delayed by the Labor Day Holiday on Monday. Which it sort of was; I lost track of “Wednesday, time for blog post” because my week started a day late. So mea culpa. Anyway, today I’m going to talk […]

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Query letters

Query letters are trickier than they ought to be, considering that they are only one page long. The fundamental problem is that everyone who sends out a query letter is desperate, and that includes writers who have long publication track records. Because the reason you’re sending out […]

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Submitting Things

Query letters and story synopses are part of most writing careers at some point, unless one starts off self-publishing and sticks to it relentlessly. For the rest of us, querying agents and editors is part of the business, and so is preparing various sorts of submission packages. […]

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Multiple viewpoint, part 2

As I said last week, multiple viewpoint is most commonly used these days for writing ensemble cast or braided plot novels, and for these, one usually ends up with a more-or-less balanced word count for each POV character. The most obvious case of this is the alternating-viewpoint […]

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Multiple viewpoint, part 1

Let me start by defining “multiple viewpoint.” A multiple-viewpoint story is one in which the scenes, chapters, or sections are written either from the point of view of different characters, or using different types of viewpoint (e.g. first person for the first scene/section/chapter, tight-third for the second), […]

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Who sees?

Picking a viewpoint character seems to be one of those things that writers either have no trouble with at all, or else struggle with for weeks and/or multiple drafts. It seems to be a particular problem for people who are writing multiple-viewpoint structures, where there are several […]

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