Close

Ask Jami

Collection of Jami’s answers to questions from writers and authors.

Writing Building Blocks: Paragraph Breaks & Voice

Close up of a keyboard's Enter key with text: Paragraphs Are about Voice?

From school, we’re probably all familiar with using topic sentences to break ideas into paragraphs in non-fiction, but the rules are different for fiction. Choosing where to put paragraph breaks is one of the most voice-dependent decisions we can make as writers.

Pin It

April 12, 2016

Read More

Writer Sanity: Recognizing Takers & Setting Boundaries

Old West "wanted" poster with text: Takers Who Don't Give Back

Last week, I challenged writers to think about how they’re giving back to the writing community because it needs our help to thrive. Yet no matter what I recommend, there will be takers infecting our community, so let’s learn how to recognize them for what they are.

Pin It

January 12, 2016

Read More

Writer Karma: Don’t Be a Taker

Many hands reaching to grab with text: Are You Giving or Just Taking?

Everyone who knows me and follows my blog knows I love to help others. Most people who contact me are appreciative, and I really am happy to help. But there are a few… *sigh*

Pin It

January 5, 2016

Read More

Ask Jami: Why Isn’t There One Right Way to Write?

Pen on a notebook with text: Why Isn't There a Right Way to Write?

When we’re young, the world feels like it’s made up of wrong answers and right answers. Not surprisingly, writing is one of those areas of our life where “one right way” doesn’t apply, and there are several reasons why there’s no definitive “right” way to write a book.

Pin It

December 15, 2015

Read More

Developing Our Story: From Beat Sheet to Scene List

Rebar steel ready for construction with text: Building a Scene List for Our Story

My regular readers know that I’m a pantser, but I’m naturally a planner/plotter in the rest of my life. So when a reader asked me how to build a scene list from a beat sheet, I didn’t shudder and scream in horror. Instead for my plotter-loving friends and readers, I figured I’d put together a real answer.

Pin It

October 8, 2015

Read More

Character Likability and Subtext

Layers in red rock with text: Add Layers to Non-POV Characters

How are villains, character likability, subtext, and point-of-view all related? In many stories, our antagonist is a non-POV character, and for non-POV characters, my previous tips about likability will be limited to subtext. So even though we might not be trying to make our villain likable, we might struggle to make them layered.

Pin It

September 17, 2015

Read More

Tangents and Subplots: When Do They Work?

Shopping cart in the woods with text: Is This Scene Out of Place?

My Elements of a Scene Checklist helps us identify whether a scene is truly necessary and contributing to our story by making sure it fulfills a story purpose. The same judgment criteria can apply to subplots as well. Let’s take a look at how can we make sure our tangents and subplots are adding to the story and not acting as a distraction.

Pin It

August 25, 2015

Read More