Fiction Advice

Show Dont Tell

One of the thorniest issues most beginning novelists have is what is meant by “show, don’t tell.” Certainly, a good novel will have a balance of showing and telling. If authors showed everything, then one novel could end up being as long as a library shelf of books, and readers would feel more like they’ve just completed a triathlon than reading an enjoyable story. You want to engage your readers, not exhaust them. But what exactly do we mean by “show, don’t tell”? And how do you strike the right balance? Here are some common traps writers fall into with showing and telling:… Read More

Just as there are recipes for making dinner and formulas for mixing drinks, there’s advice for writing great novels. Novels involve a lot of moving and evolving pieces, from the way characters speak and behave to the twists and turns of your plot. Here are some quick tips and great advice for sharpening your storytelling skills. Character Tips To make your characters really compelling, put them on the therapist’s couch and ask them about their deepest, darkest secrets.… Read More

Where do you get your ideas? Recently, I received an email from a fiction writer who was nearing completion of her first novel and wanted to know how to generate a list of ideas for future stories. I’d like to start by saying that I applaud this writer for thinking ahead. It is always best to have a bunch of ideas waiting to be written when you have finished your most recent manuscript. But how do you find ideas? And how do you know which are worthy of spending your time on? First, it helps to know that there is no magical formula for generating ideas.   With that said, here are 6 suggestions on how to generate ideas for your story that have worked… Read More