Close

showing vs. telling

The Psychology of Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

Paper torn to reveal a drawn heart with text: The Psychology Behind Emotions

We usually want to keep the reader immersed in the story and keep readers’ interest by engaging their emotions. But when we understand the psychology driving emotions, we might be able to make those emotions more realistic or recognize when there’s a disconnect on a character’s emotional journey.

Pin It

November 18, 2014

Read More

Ask Jami: How Do We Describe Characters?

High-heeled shoes with text: How Do We Describe Characters?

How we describe characters often depends on our story’s genre and what impression we want readers to have. When we’ve talked about descriptions here before, we focused on how it’s important to describe our settings enough to anchor our readers. Do we have to describe our characters to the same extent?

Pin It

October 28, 2014

Read More

Cause and Effect: Understanding Story Flow

Waterfall with text: Don't Mess with Story Flow

In the real world, the cause of something happens before the effect. But in writing, we can put words into any order we want, which might leave the reader confused. If they have to reverse events in their head, they’re probably no longer immersed in our story. Not good.

Pin It

October 9, 2014

Read More

Showing Emotions: Finding the Right Balance

Stacked stones in a tower with text: Balancing Emotions in Our Story

The ability to manipulate our readers’ emotions is a good thing (as screwed up as that sounds). Storytelling and keeping readers’ interest often comes down to creating emotions in our readers. So let’s take a closer look at how we create emotions in our readers and how we find the right balance.

Pin It

September 25, 2014

Read More

First Pages: Tips to Avoid Cliches and Weak Writing

Blank book open to first page with text: What's on Your First Page?

Many stories “strike out” with readers in the first chapter. So our opening pages are just as critical to sales as our book cover, title, back-cover blurb, etc. Let’s take a closer look at cliches to avoid and tips to make those pages work for us.

Pin It

September 18, 2014

Read More

How to Use Layers to Show Intense Emotions

Stack of terracotta tiles with text: 3 Steps to Using Layers to Write Intense Emotions

A “numb” reaction isn’t unusual for dark or deep emotions. In fact, it’s probably fairly normal. But it makes writing the scene more difficult. How do we show numb and deep emotions at the same time? How can readers connect to an emotionless character?

Pin It

July 1, 2014

Read More

Expand Our Senses and Improve Our Descriptions

Sleep mask with text: Describing with Other Senses

How many hundreds of times have we all heard the advice to “show not tell”? That’s often good advice (except for the times when it’s not *smile*). Other than the exceptions, “showing” usually is better than telling because it pulls the reader deeper into the story. But that means we […]

Pin It

June 12, 2014

Read More

Fix Showing vs. Telling with Macros & Word Lists

Laser light show with text: Secret Weapons for Show vs. Tell

Many writers will search in MS Word for red flag words that indicate telling. But there are a lot of those words, and that would be a lot of searches. That’s where macros can help, and today we’ll learn how to build our own trouble-searching macros with a few secret weapons.

Pin It

March 25, 2014

Read More

MS Word Trick: Using Macros to Edit and Polish

Tarnished silver tea set with text: Need a Polish? Editing with Macros

We want to clean up our story the best we can because copy editors often charge a “messy manuscript” premium. Yet it can be difficult to self-edit at this “polish” stage. For one thing, this step can be tedious to the extreme. Even with MS Word’s “find and replace” functionality, there are many words to check, and it’s hard to remember them all.

Pin It

March 18, 2014

Read More