Richard Thomas

Storyville: Putting Your Life in Your Fiction

Some helpful tips for working your life into your fiction.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Three Essential Books On Writing

Three essential books on writing by Stephen King, Donald Maas and Jeff VanderMeer.
Christopher Shultz

Want To Be A Better Writer? Take Acting Classes

From basic games to complex script analysis, actors have a thing or two to teach writers.
Chuck Palahniuk

Nuts and Bolts: “Thought” Verbs

You've always heard the maxim, "Show, don't tell..." but almost no writing teacher ever explains... How. Discover how to strengthen your prose by unpacking abstract and static verbs into descriptive action.
Robbie Blair

6 Ways You're Botching Your Dialogue

In: Dialogue, List
Want to improve your dialogue skills? This article looks at the mistakes writers commonly make.
Robbie Blair

Do or Dialect: 6 Tips for Building a Believable Voice

Six tips on creating a sense of a character's voice and dialect without resorting to painful phonetic representations.
Taylor Houston

Talk It Out: How To Punctuate Dialogue In Your Prose

Quotations marks, italics, em dashes, or none of the above: these are a few different ways to punctuate dialogue in your prose.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Writing Dialogue

What is the function of dialogue, and how do you make it sing?
Karina Wilson

10 Reasons Your Screenplay Sucks (and how to fix it)

What makes a reader hate a screenplay on sight? Here are 10 pet peeves - and fixes.
Kimberly Turner

The Secret Lives Of Little Words

What's that word doing there? When it comes to spoken language, nothing is accidental. Linguists are working on finding meaning in every 'oh,' 'um,' 'well,' and 'okay.' The results might surprise you.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Narrative Hooks

Writing a great narrative hook isn't easy, but it's one way to grab your audience and never let them go.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Writing About Sex

How do you write a good sex scene? By utilizing the right language, all five senses, and empathetic characters, you can seduce the reader into living the moment.
Jon Gingerich

The Benefits of Free Indirect Discourse

Writers who find themselves wrestling with point-of-view problems may want to consider a technique that combines the best of two narrative modes.
Stephen Graham Jones

As I Lay Mostly Dying

The baddest of the prose villains, that one word that, when mis-used, can single-handedly wreck an entire page of fiction for me, if not the whole piece: As.
Jon Gingerich

Writing Effective Dialogue

Writing authentic, compelling and engaging dialogue is one of the most vital yet misunderstood challenges of the writing process.
Brandon Tietz

Merits of Other Mediums: Going Beyond Books to Improve Your Craft

Many authors will tell you that reading and writing is the key to improving your work and getting published. In this column we examine the merits of three mediums OTHER than books.
Rob Hart

On Dialogue Tags: Why Anything Besides 'Said' And 'Asked' Is Lazy Writing

Expressive dialogue tags are the mark of lazy writing, because they break one of the cardinal rules--they tell instead of show. This is why 'said' and 'asked' are all you ever need.
Jon Gingerich

When To Show, When To Tell

Maintaining action is paramount in fiction, but sooner or later we’ll need to deliver expository details for our stories to make sense. So, how do writers engage while providing character depth?
Chuck Palahniuk

Nuts and Bolts -- Punctuating with Gesture and Attribution

In: Dialogue
Smart actors use the stage business of peeling an apple or lighting a cigarette to create a layer of interest that dialogue alone can never convey. Learn to punctuate your dialogue with gesture and attribution to propel interest and achieve better pacing.
Chuck Palahniuk

Discon nected Dialogue: Part One

In: Dialogue
The temptation for new writers to answer every question raised in a fictional dialogue with a perfect, clever, instant response is very strong. Chuck demonstrates how this flattens the energy of a scene and what to do instead.
Chuck Palahniuk

Body Language: Part One

In: Dialogue
Leave it to Chuck to make an assignment of watching movies with the sound turned off... and have this make perfect sense. This essay explores gesture and movement as an important counterbalance to your dialogue.