Cath Murphy

Keeping it Real: A Rough Guide to Using Real People As Fictional Characters

In: Character
Ebeneezer Scrooge, Tintin and Alice in Wonderland are all said to be based on real people. Is using your boss or neighbor as a ready made character a stroke of genius, or a fast route to a lawsuit?
Cath Murphy

The Third Character: A (Very) Rough Guide to Settings

In: Character
Choosing the right setting for your fiction can be as tricky as giving a turtle a haircut. Here's my Rough Guide to what I think of as the 'third character'.
Jon Gingerich

The Heavy Hand of Didacticism

Why overwriting and needless instruction have a habit of killing a story every time.
Chris Rosales

Figurative Language, and Stuff Like That

Add depth to your writing with a Figurative Language Well.
Jack Ketchum

Splat Goes the Hero: Visceral Horror

In: Theme, Voice
Jack Ketchum on violence, pain, and the importance of not looking away.
Jon Gingerich

The Spiraling Narrative

In: Theme
Plots shouldn't unfold with cause-and-effect insomuch as careful repetitions of symbolism and theme. Here's one way you can do this without forcing the story to wear symbolism on it sleeve.
Max Barry

The First Draft

In: Rewriting
Max Barry shares his love/hate relationship with re-writing, and the importance of getting feedback on your initial drafts.
Taylor Houston

World Book and Copyright Day –The Best Holiday You Never Heard Of

In: Research
Books are the best! So let's celebrate them today--a day marked by literary history!
Taylor Houston

Three Comma Rules You Need to Learn Now! NO MORE EXCUSES!

In: Grammar
There's comes a point in every writer's life when the excuses for not learning how to use commas correctly simply run out. This is that time. Learn these. Right now. Or else.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: Revealing Character

Here are some tips on how to reveal character through showing, not telling.
Jon Gingerich

The Problems of the Disassembled Narrative

In: Structure
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.
Keith Rawson

My First (Kinda, Sorta) Book Signing

Keith Rawson talks up his recent author appearances with Johnny Shaw, Joe Lansdale, Owen Laukkanen, and James Sallis.
Taylor Houston

App-tacular: Writing on Phones, Smart Phones, and Tablets

In: Plot
We're moving on from the land of computers to writing on tablets and smart phones. Here are a few ways that writing is happening with these new implements.
Rob Hart

Path to Publication Part 4: Mea Culpa

In: Rewriting
Looks like I got a little ahead of myself...
Taylor Houston

Sentence, INTERRUPTED! - Five Ways to Interrupt Yourself (Grammatically)

In: Grammar
Commas, parentheses, and dashes are just a few ways to interrupt a perfectly good sentence.
Stephen Graham Jones

Write Or Go Home

Essays from the doctor himself, Stephen Graham Jones. Stephen is a critically acclaimed author and instructor here at LitReactor. When not contributing craft essays, he also writes for our Magazine.
Jon Gingerich

Writing Powerful Descriptions

Why the best descriptions are the ones that are easily understood, yet leave a lasting impression on readers’ minds.
Taylor Houston

Short Shorts: Extremely brief prose forms plus LitReactor’s first Short Shorts Contest!

In: Plot
Learn all about how to write the shortest stories possible, plus enter your own 10 word/2 sentence short short for a chance to win some LitReactor swag. Short short = Win win!
Jon Gingerich

False Starts, Dead Ends and Bad Beginnings: A Guide to Successful Storytelling Patterns

Why failing to establish clear narrative patterns or ignoring a story’s natural capacity to surprise can render an otherwise compelling work into an instant dud.
Ed Sikov

Getting It Right: Accuracy, Truth, and the Fudge Factor

In: Research
A guide to the responsibilities of biographical writing and how to get around them.
Richard Thomas

Storyville: How to Get An Agent

In: Research
The brutal truth about trying to land an agent.
Taylor Houston

Drag it Out: How to Use Extended Metaphors for Maximum Effect

A discussion of successful extended metaphors and how to create your own.
Kelly Thompson

The Long & Winding Road: Part 1- Writing The Novel

The 1st in a series chronicling my experiences with my novel, including finding an agent and submitting to publishers. Part 1 details writing my novel and my first partial request from "ideal agent"
Rob Hart

The Path To Publication Part 3: When Is Done, Done?

In: Rewriting
In this installment, I discuss why I haven't been able to meet the self-imposed deadline I set for myself last month!
Taylor Houston

Autobiographical Fiction: Using Your Real Life To Craft Great Fiction

In: Plot
When crafting fiction from your real life, tread lightly and follow these tips.