When to Narrate a Villain’s Point of View

Through a doorway, Barty Crouch Jr kneels by Voldemort's char

Most writers know that their important protagonists should have the lion’s share of viewpoint scenes. However, some stories need another point of view to communicate information the protagonists don’t know. Often, that point of view comes from the primary antagonist. Unfortunately, using a villain’s point … read more »

Using Poetic Devices

Rose and rose petals on a book next to a brush with red paint

If you want your words to sound captivating, borrow tricks from a poet. Most fiction writers are familiar with literary devices like metaphor and personification, but it’s less common for storytellers to focus on auditory effects. Working with sound and rhythm can help you convey … read more »

How Useful Are Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules of Writing?

Despite passing away in 2007, Kurt Vonnegut remains a giant in the American speculative fiction tradition. His writing is both poignant and politically charged, with masterpieces like the anti-war Slaughterhouse-Five and the surreal Cat’s Cradle. There’s a good chance you read some of his work … read more »

Six Habits That Sabotage Audio Stories

A big set of headphones on an open book.

For a long time, prose stories were written with the understanding that they’d always be read off a page. That’s no longer the case. Audiobooks were once a niche market, but with the prevalence of smartphones and mp3 players, audio has exploded. These days, nearly every major … read more »

A Complete Guide to Beta Reading

Hands with pen marking up paper

Most writers rely on one or more beta readers to help them improve their work. In the right circumstances, beta reading is an invaluable tool. Unfortunately, it’s so full of potential pitfalls, it can weaken stories rather than improve them. Here’s what you should know … read more »

Lessons From the Rushed Writing of The Blade Itself

Gather round, ye speculative fiction fans. It is time for another critique post. Last time, I reached into spec fic’s distant past and dredged up A Spell for Chameleon, but today I take on a more modern offering: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. I … read more »

Lessons From the Flat Writing of Tiger’s Curse

A close up of a white tiger with blue eyes

On the cover of Tiger’s Curse is a white tiger giving me an intense blue stare. I think it knows I’m about to critique its book, and it does not approve. Still, I can’t help but appreciate the tasteful graphic design and gentle pattern overlay … read more »

Crafting Micro Stories

Micro stories are not only great fun, but excellent practice for writers. Creating micro stories forces you to tighten your prose – an essential skill for any kind of writing. Naturally, these tiny narratives come with challenges of their own. Let’s look at this unique … read more »

Five Essentials of Omniscient Narration

What do Discworld, Alice in Wonderland, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Lord of the Rings have in common? If you guessed “omniscient narration,” then you’re right, but you also cheated by reading my title. No matter – I will still share the secrets of this powerful but challenging … read more »

Will Your Subgenre Prevent You From Being Published?

As a literary agent at Trident Media Group, I see a plethora of science fiction and fantasy book ideas come across my desk, but only ideas that sell will make it to publication. Writers can find themselves in a stalemate when they’re writing more of … read more »

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