Fiction Advice

5 Easy Ways to Amp Up Your Dialogue

Any novelist can tell you how difficult it can be to create a passage of dialogue that sings. A brilliantly written conversation between two or more of your novel’s characters can drive your novel forward, develop a character, entertain, or invite readers to understand your story world in a deeper way. On the other hand, a flat interaction can stall the pace of your story. Here are 5 ways to amp up passages of dialogue:… Read More

3 Ways to a Killer Opening Line

When you first crack open a new novel, there’s so much riding on that first sentence. I know it sounds a bit extreme, but hear me out — aren’t opening lines that immediately pull you into the novel’s story world so much more invigorating and intriguing than lackluster ones? A powerful and utterly interesting opening line can not only draw readers into your novel, but also hint at the overarching themes your work explores in a deep and lasting way. Here are 3 ways to open your novel:… Read More

Choosing the Right Weapon for Your Character

I’m a retired federal agent who for 30 years carried at least one weapon on my body while fighting crime. As a writer, I believe that a particular make and caliber of gun can be used to deepen a character’s persona. For example: You didn’t assign Inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan cases, you just turned him loose. He didn’t just solve murder cases, he smashed them! He didn’t run the streets of San Francisco chasing ruthless criminals with a pithy .22 cal. handgun.  A wimpy gun would not be in character for a wild and crazy lawman that NEVER lost a fight. So what’s a hot-shot lawman going to carry?  He needs a weapon that not only gets the job done, but fits his fast and… Read More