Writing

Six Reasons You Shouldn’t Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests seem so flashy and cool. They promise big prizes and publishing deals, and surely your story is good enough to win, right? Entering seems like a no-brainer! Except that it’s almost never a good idea to enter a prose writing contest.* For authors, writing … read more »

Five Speculative Fiction Novels You Can Learn From

What we read influences what we write, often without our conscious intent. So if you’re working on your writing skills, pick your books carefully. Great books can show you how it’s done. Terrible ones can encourage poor habits. But which books are great? If you’re new … read more »

Ten Ways to Switch Up Your Sentences

Fiction is made of people doing things, and the standard “protagonist verb object” is a strong way to write that. But if you structure all your sentences that way, you’ll have a monotonous mess on your hands. When that happens, it can be a struggle to inject some life into stale phrasing. To keep your head from hitting the desk, I have some quick ideas you can use. Read more »

Five Perspective Mistakes to Avoid

Narrative perspective comes in many forms. In first-person limited, the narrator and the protagonist are one and the same, and the audience knows only what the character knows. In third-person omniscient, the narrator is free to rain down information from on high and use whatever voice … read more »

Five Exercises for Stronger Narrative Personality

Speculative fiction calls for a vast array of narrative personalities. A spec fic writer could be called on to write in the voice of a clockwork golem, a garter snake, or an otherworldly alien. But instead of flavoring your wordcraft with these perspectives, it’s all too … read more »

Lessons From the Sloppy Writing of The Tommyknockers

Shadow of person in green glowing woods

It’s time to tear apart The Tommyknockers, written by the venerable Stephen King and published in 1987. In his long and prolific history of writing, King has both gems and duds. Even within a work, his improvised storytelling technique tends to turn out both brilliant moments … read more »

101 – Character Description

The Mythcreant Podcast

The protagonist appeared in the doorway, dressed in a magnificent golden helm and with cerulean eyes shining fiercely. If something about that sounds a little cheesy to you, then you’ll be happy to hear that we’re spending this episode talking about character descriptions. Joined again … read more »

Choosing Your Story’s Perspective

A large sculpture mimicking a scene with distance

The choice of perspective has important ramifications for a story. The best perspective will be the one that reinforces the goals of the story, matches the writer’s skill set, and feels invisible to the audience. I’ll describe the different factors involved in a story’s perspective and how they are likely to … read more »

Mastering Evocative Telling

close up of an ent

The old adage “show; don’t tell” is great advice for new writers. But with practice, writers can master many creative techniques that depart from standard showing. Evocative telling is one of those techniques, and it can add a lot to a story. Read more »

Five Bad Habits Writers Can Learn From Roleplaying Games

Recently, I wrote about the lessons writers can learn from roleplaying games. Now it’s time to discuss the reverse, because as awesome as roleplaying games are, they can teach writers some pretty bad habits. This is especially true for long-time GMs making their first forays … read more »

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