Six impossible things

Blog

Nuts and Bolts: How I Fix Things

One of the reasons I spent the last two posts on the process part of revision is that I believe that understanding your process saves enormous amounts of time in the long run. Specifically, having some idea how your first-draft process works and what exactly you’re trying […]

Read more

Fixing What’s Broke, Part 2

Writers go about doing revisions in different ways, depending on the what and why of the revisions and on the writer’s personal best process for them. As always, there is no One True Way; if what you are currently doing isn’t working, try something else. The only […]

Read more

Fixing what’s broke

Fixing a broken manuscript comes under the general heading of “revisions,” and since I haven’t talked about revising for a while, and since I’m in the middle of doing some in the current WIP, this seems like a good time to go over them. There are three […]

Read more

Process, Progress, and Works-In

The other day, one of my dear friends and I had one of those long, rambling, writerly conversations about our current works-in-progress, our process, and the horrors of the literary life. At this particular moment in time, we are at opposite points on the first two, which […]

Read more

Doing Dialog

One of the first tasks most writers face is improving their dialog. This seems to happen in stages. In my experience, beginners start by writing dialog the same way they write narrative, in long, formal, complex sentences without idioms or contractions. Characters frequently speak in paragraph-long speeches […]

Read more

Keeping the Reader Reading

Ultimately, writing is all about keeping the reader reading. There’s all sorts of advice out there on how to do this, ranging from cheap tricks to dense psychological analysis. Ultimately, though, all of them are a means to an end, and the end boils down to this: […]

Read more

What drives the story

“What drives your story, plot or characters?” There are a bunch of problems with this question. First off, what drives the story isn’t an either-or dichotomy; it’s a continuum that runs from the total-action-with-cardboard-characters tale at one end to the nothing-but-character-introspection story at the other end, with […]

Read more

DIY Exercises

For a very long time, I thought (and I’ve said here) that I hated writing exercises and writing prompts. Then I started talking to people about writing, and some of them demanded that I give them exercises. After much thought, I came to the obvious conclusion that […]

Read more

Speed Intervals

Last week, I ran across a writing-advice book that focused firmly on productivity, and promised to teach you how to write thousands of words per hour. The author’s method for achieving this miracle rested on two fundamental ideas. The first was taking the writing process apart so […]

Read more

The Worst Possible Thing

“Ask yourself what the worst possible thing is that you can do to your characters” is an often-repeated piece of advice that is a lot less helpful than it looks. If you follow it literally, about 99% of the time the answer is going to be “torture […]

Read more
Page 1 of 7312345...102030...Last »
Questions regarding foreign rights, film/tv subrights, and other business matters should be directed to Pat’s agent Ginger Clark, Curtis-Brown, Ltd., 10 Astor Place, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003, gc@cbltd.com

Books

Appearances