Dialog Journals and Writing Good Dialog

Start a dialog journal, fix up your dialog, write better characters, and basically rule the world.
David James Keaton

Jack of Shrugtown

I read my first Jack Reacher book, and there were so many shrugs. Jack Reacher has come to shrug and chew bubblegum, and he's all out of bubblegum.
Joshua Isard

Using Plain Language in Speculative Fiction

Employ language that allows the audience to believe your characters believe what is happening.
Chuck Palahniuk

The Haunting: How To Conquer The Shame Of Being A Writer

An essay about why the vocation of writing can sometimes feel shameful, and how to own that shame and then eventually conquer it.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Putting Your Life in Your Fiction

Some helpful tips for working your life into your fiction.
Taylor Houston

Nothing New Under The Sun: The Origins of 5 Common Literary Allusions

Do you ever feel like you are reading the same things over and over again? Well, you are. Here are five familiar literary allusions explained.
Jon Gingerich

Kill Those Modifiers!

The overuse of adjectives and adverbs can ruin sentences and flatten descriptive passages.
Robbie Blair

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

In: List, Phrases
8 frequently abused words or phrases that gum up your content. Stars of the show include "suddenly," "then," "is," "started," "very," "that," "like," and "in order to."
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.
Jon Gingerich

Art and the Aphorism

Love them or hate them, writers can learn a lot about sentence structure and wordplay by experimenting with the timeless artform of the aphorism.
Jon Gingerich

Writing In Parallel

One of the biggest mistakes committed by both beginning and experienced writers is a failure to craft sentences that transmit information clearly, evenly, and with an emphasis on what’s important.
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.
Chuck Palahniuk

Nuts and Bolts: Using Choruses

In: Phrases
This verbal repetition can create a beat of bland time that lets your story breathe, or it can refresh previous plot points and trigger strong emotions. Steal this natural aspect of spoken rhetoric to enliven your prose.
Chuck Palahniuk

Utility Phrases: When All Words Fail

In: Phrases
What does your character say when he doesn't know what to say? Utility phrases fill a beat of bland time, possibly framing a gesture, possibly allowing the reader to recover from a shock, all the while developing characterization.