A Story For The Ear: Writing the Audio Drama

A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep … heard this line before? Welcome to Night Vale is an audio drama podcast written by Joseph Fink and Jeffory Cranor about a strange desert town where the unusual and horrifying […]

Creating the Story Playlist

There are some stories that we can see playing in our heads; we can see the cinematic sequence of every fight, of every kiss, betrayal, victory, and defeat. And as we play these movies through our heads, what do we hear? You can visualize the actions and scenes playing in time as your eyes scan […]

Tension and Terror: Pacing Horror for Beginners

Horror is one of the most primal genres to exist. It touches the primitive parts of our minds that still fear what we cannot see in the dark and how it will hurt us. However, a lot of modern day horror focuses less on building to those moments in favor of the instant-gratification emotions of […]

Alien Encounters: On Writing Sentient Beings Beyond

Millions of people have stared into the night sky and asked, are we alone? Arthur C. Clarke has said, “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” But if we are not alone, what will we find? There are thousands of science fiction and science […]

Writing Asexually

Don’t tell the television executives and mainstream media this, but not everyone wants sex. Imagine! And here we were thinking that the “A” in LGBTQIAP+ meant, “ally.” There are projected to be over a million asexual people across the world, yet the saturation they have in media can almost be counted on two hands. But […]

Does Syntax In Dialogue Set a Genre Apart?

Should we consider linguistics and English composition when creating dialogue in fiction? How does syntax function within fictional dialogue and set a genre apart? In How English Works: A Lingusitic Introduction, Adams and Curzan state that we use “intuition” (169) to decipher the meanings of sentences and determine whether a sentence is structured correctly. For […]

To Describe Your Main Character or Not: That is the Question…

When writing a story, your goal is to paint such a vivid word picture that your readers will be able to see and experience everything on the page as they read it. Your goal, then, is to paint as many vivid images as possible. To do that, you have to describe settings, characters, sights, sounds, […]

The Three POVs You’re Most Likely to Use

So, you’ve drawn up a complex character sheet, prepared a full outline with all the plot twists and surprise reveals, and have everything ready to write that future best-selling novel. But before you can write the clever opening line of your book, you have to decide on one important thing: the Point of View. Point […]

The Query Letter

The query letter is usually the first thing that is seen by an editor, and unless the query is polished and stands out above the rest of the slush pile, it may be the only thing seen before your letter is tossed to the “rejected” stack after the first paragraph. The opening of your letter sets […]

Titles for your Novel

So you’re finally finished writing it – the thing that has taken up all of your free time for the past two years (or more), the monkey on your back that wouldn’t let you sleep, that had you pulling out your pen and paper while on vacation with your family because The Idea came to […]

Word Count

I received a question over the weekend regarding Microsoft Word’s word count tool versus to the manual page x 250 word formula when submitting to publishers, and which is more accurate. Since I have gotten this question multiple times over the past year, it seems prudent to post something here. …He [my agent] gave a […]

The Driving Force: Characters

People go to the movies for the characters. Pretty elementary, right? Oh, sure, you have the occasional viewer who just wants to see what your digitized Tyrannosaurus Rex looks like up close, but for the most part, people go to the movies because movies tell a story, and stories are about characters. It doesn’t matter […]

Clothes Make the Character

“Clothes make the man,” Mark Twain once declared. “Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Last week, we talked about audiences tuning in to movies and television to see characters. Unless you’re making a very specific type of movie that Mark Twain certainly wouldn’t approve of, your characters will most likely be clothed […]

The Real Hero

One important thing to remember when creating your main character–which in most cases (though not all) turns out to be the hero–is that they need to be real. What I mean is creating a character that is believable, despite all of the amazing–if not fictional–acts and accomplishments they achieve over the course of the novel. […]

Performance Anxiety 

The Ins and Outs of Sex Scenes Ah, the sex scene. Is any other aspect of writing so adored and reviled? There’s entire contests devoted to good and bad sex in fiction. Writers eternally hope their own scenes wind up in the former and not the latter. Sex scenes are tricky on their best days. […]

Old is New Again

  Oh, the things you discover during spring cleaning. I’ve always felt that old stories never really die—they just disappear, waiting for the right time for their creator to pick them up again. Sometimes you just have to give up on a project for whatever reason—time constraints, loss of passion, family emergencies—and then they end […]

Spring Beginnings 

Spring is just around the corner—March 20, to be exact. Spring has always been the season of new beginnings and fresh starts; you’ll notice I have a new logo on top of the page, and I’m exploring a number of new projects. Thus, for this blog entry, I’m going to talk about beginnings. The beginning […]

Halloween is Coming 

October is here. Are you ready? One of the best things about October (besides the candy, of course) is the influx of scary stuff it brings with it. It’s a big month for scary movies, the obligatory scary episodes of Halloween shows, and horror novels. Why not, right? In honor of this most spook-tacular holiday, […]