Short Stories & Their Role in the Big Picture

I believe short stories serve a multitude of purposes. They can be, for some, like the training wheels on our bikes. They are a great way to introduce new worlds to readers to test the waters for interest in that area. My short stories came after the novels. It’s been a blast learning the differences in writing techniques needed. In short stories, the author has to be as … [Read more...]

Seven Deadly Sins of Fiction Writing


In addition to the five fatal mistakes cited here, several editors had their own pet peeves to share. Here are seven other problems that can speed your story to the rejection pile: Preachiness. "Stories that present an obvious moral, without nuances, subtlety, or complexity, are the first to hit the [reject] pile," says Skylar Burris of Ancient Paths. Cliches. "I did, … [Read more...]

Create Characters Who are “Real People”


Author of Pimp My Site, Paula Wynne, says the best perk of her job as editor or iHubbub’s home business magazine is reviewing a smorgasbord of books, including a wide variety of writing reference guides on the art of writing fiction and creating fictional characters. Here Paula shares three top tips she has gleaned from years of reading how to create real people in your … [Read more...]

Writing Advice from Elmore Leonard

By MDCarchives (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Elmore Leonard is a prolific writer who has entertained us with more than forty novels, including , , , , and many more. Hollywood is an Elmore Leonard fan, and many of his books have been made into movies. Leonard began writing while still working in advertising. He published a short story in Argosy magazine in 1951, and his first novel, , was published in 1953. So what … [Read more...]

Five Fiction Mistakes that Spell Rejection


Ask most fiction editors how to avoid rejection, and you'll hear the same thing: Read the guidelines. Review the publication. Don't send a science fiction story to a literary magazine, and vice versa. Don't send a 10,000-word manuscript to a magazine that never publishes anything longer than 5,000 words. Spell check. Proofread. Check your grammar. Format your manuscript … [Read more...]

Weaving Travel into Your Fiction Writing


I’ve always loved to travel and I’ve always loved to write. And together, the two seem to be a simple recipe for almost-guaranteed publishing success. But, as with most things in life, it’s not that easy! Imagine you have an exotic and unique yarn– you’re so excited about it and you know that whatever you create is going to be something that no one else has… but what if your … [Read more...]

Co-writing, Eight Questions to Ask Yourself Before Jumping In


I am the author or co-author of seven published fiction titles. Along the way I’ve had the experience of working with four different writers. I’ve spoken many times to libraries and book conventions about how it is to work with another author. Many questions have been asked about the process. I’ve narrowed the list down to the eight most voiced and will share them with you … [Read more...]

Design Characters using Mind Maps


How do you design your characters? Some sources recommend filling in a questionnaire or CV. You need to answer questions like "what is her favourite film?", or "what does he drink?" etc. This doesn't work for me, because by the time I know the answers to those kind of questions I have written my novel. I design my characters in the same way you might find out about someone … [Read more...]

Philosophy 101 for Novelists


Whether writing a realistic or fantasy novel, the novelist is creating a fictional world where he or she is playing God, and that requires creating a worldview or philosophy and basic rules to govern that fictional world. Writers must know what their philosophy is and what worldview they will sell to their readers in order to create effective, convincing fiction. Writing … [Read more...]

Keeping Track of Characters When Writing Fiction


Authors who write fiction have the advantage that they can make everything up, but the disadvantage is they have no sources to go back and check. Creating fictional characters requires great care to make sure no inconsistencies are introduced. Keeping records for your characters helps to make them realistic and effective and saves headaches later. Recently, one of my … [Read more...]