After you’ve written a paragraph, have you ever stopped to squint at the words, wondering if you’ve chosen the right ones to convey the mood you intended? Did you manage to craft a distinct voice for your viewpoint character, or does the narrative sound too much like you? Are your commas placed correctly?
On my first read of The Book Thief, the peerless prose stunned me. I wanted to achieve Zusak’s skill, but I didn’t know how. So I began a nightly experiment to see if any techniques would emerge.
When you think of poetry, what comes to mind? Language strung together that you don’t understand but somehow exemplifies the standard of literary beauty? Sentences that drop off in the middle and flow onto the line below?
If you’ve ever toured an art museum, you can’t walk far without confronting the power of images. The paintings tell stories of animals, families, wars, and kings, each holding a special significance for onlookers.
Every fiction writer has fallen in love with stories and dreams of engaging readers the same way. Few, however, are interested in poetry. In our modern age, this art form fights a losing battle against flashier entertainment.
I used to avoid nonfiction—in both reading and writing—until I discovered that creative nonfiction employs literary techniques usually associated with fiction. How could this be? And would trying it expand my skills?
I’m addicted to flash fiction. I enjoy the challenge of compacting a story into a thousand words or fewer—and watching other writers do it too!
Sometimes characters come to us in pieces. A whisper of dialogue, a murmur of a dream, or even a feeling can ignite a glimmer of inspiration that demands to become a person. But a character is more than a rushed scribble inside our notebooks.
“You wrote a great story, but it needed a proofreader.” No one likes to hear that their writing is full of mistakes. Whether we’re submitting to a website or writing a story for family, we slave over our words. We don’t want our masterpieces diminished by typos.
If your story features more than one character, it probably contains dialogue. Unfortunately, dialogue can be challenging to write, because it needs to sound natural or it will fall flat. As if that isn’t bad news enough, cultivating an ear for dialogue is not an overnight process.