By Robbie Blair
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?
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.
In: Character, Craft, Dialogue, Literary Devices, Narrative Hooks, Plot, POV, Setting, Storyville, Structure
Writing a great narrative hook isn't easy, but it's one way to grab your audience and never let them go.
In: editing, fiction writing, Grammar, Plot, Revision, Rewriting, Storyville, Structure, Vocabulary, Workshop
It's been said that the difference between a good writer and a great writer is editing. So let's hop to it.
A beginning, a middle, and an end. Let's talk about the end. Make it resonate.
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.
A study of how Michael Chabon uses Suspense in literary fiction to keep the reader reading and to move the story forward.
What does it take to write a terrifying story? Every tool in your writer's toolbelt.
Know your weaknesses as a writer, and then cull them, fix them.
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.
Ten obvious truths about fiction and its relationship with your readers.
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.”
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.
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?
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.
In: Cervantes, Craft, Dave Eggers, Don Quixote, Literary Devices, metafiction, Narrator, nonfiction, Plot, POV, Structure
When narrators escape--a discussion of metafiction.
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.
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.
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?
In: Craft, Jennifer Egan, Literary Devices, Little Red Riding Hood, Memento, NaNoWriMo, Narrator, Non-linear, Structure
A Discussion of Non-linear Narrative Structure
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.