Writing A Book? Avoid These Two Pitfalls

Last weekend, I published this post about why we stop reading books. Many of you submitted insightful comments, and as I read through them I realized something: many of our “reading pet peeves” can be boiled down to the author doing one of two things. Not bad, huh? Just avoid doing two things and you’re…

What Makes YOU Stop Reading A Book?

I’ve read a lot of books. A LOT of books. When I was a kid, I’d get sets of books and be thrilled at the promise of spending countless hours sitting upside-down in my mom’s recliner with an open book. Reading and appreciation of a good story is part of who I am. But in recent…

Is It Possible To Make Any Subject Interesting?

As I goofed around on the interwebs, I came across this image. So of course I started brainstorming – what are truly boring things a writer could try to make interesting? A potato? A rug? This post?? I suppose it depends on the details. Maybe the rug is Aladdin’s and you can ride around on it. Maybe the…

The Art Of Description: How Much Do You Need?

One of my favorite books is Stephen King’s On Writing, and one of my favorite parts of that book is when he describes the rabbit. Remember that part? After a few sentences, readers pictured a white rabbit with a blue number eight on it. King used the illustration to describe the telepathic nature of reading and…

Avoiding Repetitive Redundancy In Your Writing

Yes, the title was intentional. I borrowed it from the department of redundancy department. Telling a story in a concise way should be a goal of the novelist. I say should, because based on the length of some books and what I’ve seen both in published works and in works I’ve critiqued, this isn’t always…

Show And Tell Matters More To A Writer

Anyone who’s spent five minutes in a writing group has heard it: that’s telling. You need to show it. I bet the writers among us are groaning a little. Everyone else is scratching their heads. Let’s start with the basics. Telling occurs when you, well, tell the readers what’s happening. Tim was angry. Showing gives clues…

Ramping Up The Tension, One Block At A Time

My kids were playing Jenga this afternoon. You remember that game, right? It’s the one where you remove a block from a tower of blocks and add it to the top of the tower. So the tower always has the same number of blocks. Since you’re taking the blocks from the lower parts of the tower…