Tips Straight from the Horse’s, er Judge’s Mouth

One of my current goals as a science fiction and fantasy writer is to eventually get into Writers of the Future. This has been a target for me ever since one of my literature teachers in college won and was published by them. If you can survive the brutal competition and professional-level judging, you can proudly …

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My Writing Process, or Dirty Dancing with the Muses

Some people are plotters, some people leave their characters adrift in hopes they will do something interesting. Stephen King is in the latter camp, adamantly a member of the let-the-characters-do-their-thing party. I imagine Tolkien must have been a plotter, and a big one. He started out building a language and then wrote a story for it. I'm …

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SHARE: 8 Unstoppable Rules For Writing Killer Short Stories

So like the last share, this is another article I came across in one of my Facebook groups that I almost never pay attention to. The article 8 Unstoppable Rules for Writing Killer Short Stories by Charlie Jane Anders offers a lot of good advice. This advice is more applicable to genre stories like science fiction and fantasy, but if …

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REBLOG: How to Outline a Scene like a Pro

Such a great outline for checking your scenes, I had to share! Thank you for the advice, Amy.

Amy Walters is an author and blogger who often blogs about writing techniques and tips. It would definitely be worth your time to jump over and check out what she has to say on the topic of fiction writing.

Regarding this particular post, I think the checklist she provides for examining scenes is very helpful, particularly for those odd, tricky scenes that are hard to parse. Most of the points in the list are very useful, so it’s hard to isolate a few to focus on. Certainly POV is a big issue for scenes. Your POV should not be shifting in scene without a very, very good reason. It’s a common, unintentional mistake in the early drafts of new writers. Also, the POV should also be clear from the beginning of the scene. Who is experiencing this scene and what does that mean for the information the readers receive?

If I were to choose one point from the list as the best or most important (which I shouldn’t, as they are all useful, but I am trying to add my two bits here), then I would say “What do I want the reader to feel by the end of this scene?” is the critical question to ask when developing and evaluating a scene. This is your end goal, the target you want to hit with your prose. This goal is the idea of how the scene fits into the larger work, its purpose. The first way to evaluate your scene is to ask if you’ve met that goal.

But I don’t think you should only focus on that point and ignore the rest. I cannot reiterate enough that there are a lot of great points in the checklist.

If you’d like to know how to evaluate a scene, jump on over to Amy’s blog and see what she has to say.

Blissful Scribbles

Hello, lovely people, I hope you are well? You are? Great! I know I am, it’s Friday after all! The last few days I have been outlining my scenes so that I am ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in July.

I’m reading an amazing book by CS Lakin called The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction which I have found invaluable. Lakin gives a scene checklist which I recommend you get your hands on.

I have used this to ask myself set questions per scene, and they are helping me so much I thought I would share them with you. Let me know what you think!

​What is the action or revelation that is the high impact crux of this scene?

What new information will this scene tell the reader?

What is the purpose of the scene?

What do I want the reader to know by reading this scene?

What is…

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The Danger with Self-Publishing, or Why Collaboration is Essential for new Writers

I'm a traditionalist. I'm a military vet and a historian for gods' sakes, so my head is very much stuck on the tried and true. As an author, I have been putting all my focus on traditional routes for publishing--getting my short stories in mags and ezines, and finding a proper agent for my book. …

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REBLOG: How To Be A Fantasy Character 101

Here is a very humorous approach to the now common list of fantasy cliches that has become almost cliche itself. I’m surprised by how many of these I’ve actually ignored from the start. Maybe that’s due to my coming into my current habit with a decent amount of experience in hand. As with all warnings about cliches, and any writing advice in general, the point is not to reject such cliches outright but to be aware of them and not fall into the trap of using them without care because it’s easy.

Inns and taverns is the one in this list that I feel is less a cliche than an honest reality. Inns were important for town life for a long time, before being replaced by coffee shops and cafes. Lots of important historical stuff happened in inns and taverns. The Culper Ring was centered on a tavern and its keeper. I honestly think any medieval story would feel odd without mention of the local inn or tavern, as it was a critical locus of town life. But that’s just me.

You Write Fiction

Today we’ll be studying the basics of what it takes to be a full-fledged fantasy fiction character. Note-taking is encouraged.

Step 1: Wear the appropriate attire

In this class, we provide you with a starter kit which includes pre-muddied boots and a cloak carefully hand-torn by our specialists. We also recommend you complete your outfit with your own choice of shirts, pants, and hoods. Our wardrobe selections include Colors Of the Forest, A Hunter’s Garb, and Dusty Road Wanderer.

Step 2: Grow out your hair

Most of our past graduates adapt to the standard shoulder-length hair, which we recommend for its versatility. It’s long enough to catch the breeze while you sit majestically on your wilderness rock of choice, and it’s short enough to whip around just right in situations where dancing, spinning around in surprise, or hand-to-hand combat are required.

Step 3: Make sure you have…

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