Robbie Blair

Flash Fiction: The Zorro Circle of Storytelling

Flash fiction can help writers answer vital questions: How can you identify which words to cut? How can you use subtlety to increase the power of your prose? And what's at the heart of a story?
Rob Hart

The Art of the Content Edit: 10 Ways To Make Sure You're Doing It Right

The proofreading phase is when a book gets pretty--but the content edit is when you really bring the story home. Here's how to do it right.
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: The Horror of Editing and Revision

It's been said that the difference between a good writer and a great writer is editing. So let's hop to it.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Endings, Twisted and Otherwise

A beginning, a middle, and an end. Let's talk about the end. Make it resonate.
Chris Rosales

Transition As Metaphor

Incorporate these principles to not only transition smoothly from scene to scene, but to add a new layer of metaphor for the manipulation of meaning and theme.
Chris Rosales

Is This Your Card? How Michael Chabon Uses Suspense in Literary Fiction

A study of how Michael Chabon uses Suspense in literary fiction to keep the reader reading and to move the story forward.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Writing Horror Stories

What does it take to write a terrifying story? Every tool in your writer's toolbelt.
Stephen Graham Jones

Unrevised

Know your weaknesses as a writer, and then cull them, fix them.
Jon Gingerich

The Problems of the Disassembled Narrative

Just because it's popular for writers to create stories with non-linear narratives, it doesn't mean it's always a good idea. More often than not, in fact, it's a recipe for disaster.
Stephen Graham Jones

Ten Obvious Truths About Fiction

Ten obvious truths about fiction and its relationship with your readers.
Jon Gingerich

Write What You Don’t Know

Of all the rules that apply to fiction writing, perhaps none is more misleading than the common, banal adage that you should “write what you know.”
Rob Hart

Down With The Double Tap! (Why You Shouldn't Space Twice After Sentences)

Many of us were taught we should insert two spaces after a sentence, but it's the appendix of typography; it serves no purpose and we'd be better off without it. Here's how to break the habit.
Jon Gingerich

The Changing Character

Does a character have to “change” during the course of a story? Do they have to evolve? Or can they continue behaving the same as always, even at the end of the narrative?
Jon Gingerich

Putting An End To Plot Conveniences

Writers are often faced with the predicament of writing themselves into a plot corner. We know where our stories are supposed to go, but the plot becomes an impasse to resolution instead of a gateway.
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

The Art Of The Rewrite

A true rewrite is not just editing, proofing or copy-editing, but a complete re-imagining of the work. Here’s a four-part process to fortify writers with a successful re-writing plan that works.
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?
Taylor Houston

Don't Leave Me Hanging...

The ending is the most important part, and as a writer you should want to write a spectacular ending because, hey, you did a heck-of-a-lot of work on the beginning and middle parts.
Chuck Palahniuk

Talking Shapes: The Rebel, the Follower, and the Witness

Take a look at your work. Are you writing a classic rebel-follower-witness story? If not, what kind of myth are you creating? This essay takes up the mythic patterns prominent in our culture and provides great examples.
Chuck Palahniuk

Killing Time: Part One

In: Structure
Several methods exist in fiction for showing the passage of time--from subtle to not-so-subtle. Here, Chuck glosses various approaches while highlighting his preferred method.
Chuck Palahniuk

Required Reading -- Absurdity

In: Structure
In this essay, Chuck explores authority, specificity, pacing, and brevity as points of power in two classic shorts--one from E.B. White and one from Shirley Jackson. You'll be challenged to carry these principles into your own experiments.
Chuck Palahniuk

A Story from Scratch, Act Three

In Act Three, Chuck demonstrates the importance of keeping established elements present to the story as it moves forward. He also brings in the "Buried Gun" and reveals strategies for building tension and maintaining character arc.