tension

Strengthening Stakes: It’s Not about Going Big

September 27, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Strengthening Stakes: It’s Not about Going Big

A story’s stakes are one element that keeps readers turning pages because they want to see if our characters succeed. At first glance, we might think bigger stakes are better for sucking in readers, but not every story lends themselves to huge stakes. Are “quieter” stories doomed to fail the “page-turner” test?

Pin It
Click here to read more

Backstory: Finding the Right Balance — Guest: Janice Hardy

September 8, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Backstory: Finding the Right Balance — Guest: Janice Hardy

Today, Janice Hardy shares her revision advice on how to include the right amount of backstory. Too much slows the pace, and too little can leave readers confused. Her tips help us avoid the issue of slow pacing, learn how to hide backstory, and identify when we need more.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Story Beginnings: Do You Have Context?

August 11, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Story Beginnings: Do You Have Context?

Story beginnings are difficult to get right. We have to introduce the characters, the story, the setting, the protagonist’s longing, and show an immediate obstacle that creates a near-term goal. At the same time, we have to avoid confusing readers, and for that, we need context.

Pin It
Click here to read more

When Is a Shocking Scene Necessary…or Gratuitous?

August 2, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for When Is a Shocking Scene Necessary…or Gratuitous?

As authors, we need to be careful when dealing with shocking, horrifying, or potentially problematic story elements. Let’s explore the steps we can go through to figure out the right approach for our genre, story, and characters.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Strengthen Your Writing with Rhetorical Devices

June 30, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Strengthen Your Writing with Rhetorical Devices

If you’re anything like me, and your English or grammar instruction was less than ideal, you might not be familiar with the term rhetorical devices. But once I did learn about them, I quickly became aware of how using rhetorical devices can strengthen our writing—even if we’re writing genre stories.

Pin It
Click here to read more

5 Tips for Empowering Description with Contrast — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

June 16, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for 5 Tips for Empowering Description with Contrast — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

We’ve probably all heard (or thought!) that description is boring or the part readers skip. Yet our stories need description or else be confusing. Marcy Kennedy joins us today to share 5 tips to empower and add interest to our description by using contrast.

Pin It
Click here to read more

4 Tips for “Setting” a Mood — Guest: Becca Puglisi

June 14, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for 4 Tips for “Setting” a Mood — Guest: Becca Puglisi

The Thesaurus books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are a must-have for every fiction author, and they now have two new Thesauri books: Urban Setting and Rural Setting. Becca’s here today to talk about how setting is important for more than just describing the time and place of our scene.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Plot Obstacles: Too Easy, Too Difficult, or Just Right?

May 12, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Plot Obstacles: Too Easy, Too Difficult, or Just Right?

Our characters have to overcome many problems throughout our plot, but changing the obstacles doesn’t always fix story problems. Sure, sometimes an obstacle doesn’t fit the story, but too often, the obstacle itself isn’t broken—but the storytelling around the obstacle.

Pin It
Click here to read more

What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

May 3, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

When we first start off as writers, if someone asks us about our story, we might launch into an overview of our story’s plot. It’s easy to think the plot is what our story is about. But with few exceptions, story isn’t the same as plot.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Subtext: Creating Layered Characters

April 21, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Subtext: Creating Layered Characters

I’ve written many times about how much I love subtext, the stuff that happens between the lines. Subtext lurks in many aspects of our stories and helps immerse readers and add realism and tension. In addition, subtext can help us build layered characters.

Pin It
Click here to read more