I once arrived with a group of writer friends on San Juan Island for a writing retreat. We had just carried our luggage into a gorgeous rental home with picture windows overlooking the Salish Sea. All six of us heaved a sigh at the same moment, then looked up and laughed. This wordless exchange remains fixed in my mind. Continue Reading>>
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Story ideas drift into my mind at odd moments—while I’m driving, in conversation, in nature, doing dishes, gardening, even while I should be paying attention in church. They are incorrigible and more prolific than I’ll ever be. Continue Reading>>
College teachers are notorious for piling on homework at the last minute. The last days before a wedding are often a mad rush to the finish. An author accomplishes feats during the final days before a book deadline. It’s human nature to create time stress, and writers are particularly good at it. Continue Reading>>
Simply stating the events that transpire throughout a manuscript does not a story make. Substituting narrative summary for a scene is a common writing error. This writing mistake is surprisingly easy to make. A vivid imagination can be both a blessing and curse. Have you ever filled out a scene in your mind only to field a slew of questions from critique partners who can’t picture it? Continue Reading>>
What would The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien be without an oppressive aura, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum sans its yearning pathos, and Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist with no melancholy? A novel’s story tone can make or break it’s emotional appeal for readers. Given that most readers say they read for the way stories make them feel, it behooves an author to set a story tone that will inspire the right mood. Continue Reading>>
Every novel projects the opinions of its author while creating a certain atmosphere for readers. These elements are known as the story tone and mood. While both reinforce the main story theme, they are two different things. Their interrelated nature can make telling them apart confusing, but it’s not difficult once you understand them. Knowing how to use story tone and mood is an important skill that contributes to a mastery of plot structure. Continue Reading>>
Your job as a novel writer is to structure its many elements into a cohesive whole that will transport your readers. You want to pace your story well. The plot must unfold at the right pace, progressing in a logical order. Continue Reading>>
Writing descriptions within a story can be a lot like painting a picture. You labor over the process, but the end result never quite matches the scene you envisioned. In my view, the ability to speak a world into existence comes as a gift from the Author of Creation, who did it first and best. Continue Reading>>
Mantled in the half-light, shadowed at its edges, a garden at dusk whispers mysteries. It is a place to walk, reflect, conspire, love, pray, and more. If you as a writer need to find inspiration, a garden is one of the best places to search. Let’s go inside, shall we? Continue Reading>>