In Praise of Boring Stories: Our Desensitization to Conflict

I return today to a question that has arisen frequently on this blog, that nagging issue in fiction I've not yet been satisfied with my own answers to, that I feel like this week I've stumbled haphazard into a new idea about--today, let's circle back to that question of conflict. When I taught high school... Continue Reading →

Dialogue #3: Dialect

This post comes third in our series on dialogue. To read the first post about the dialogue's three basic forms or last week's discussion of realistic dialogue, click these links. This week, we'll look at how characters' spoken dialects might be rendered in fiction, the effects these different portrayals might have on readers, and the... Continue Reading →

Myths of the 3rd Person Narrator

Several weeks ago here on Words like Trees, we surveyed a range of common narrative points of view, from character-turned-narrator first person to free indirect style, omniscient, and close third person. In the weeks since, and in particular as I have been making my way slowly (very slowly) through the first volume and a half... Continue Reading →

Conflict a copout?

I've been working on a short story recently. Unlike most of what I've been writing the last few years, it's solid realism. I didn't expect this to make it a particular challenge for me, but as I have been slogging my way through outlines, a first draft of one-and-a-quarter scenes, doubt has besieged me of... Continue Reading →

Efficient revising: what order is best?

The four faces of revising. Yesterday, I completed a first draft of rewrites to my novel manuscript. It's been three months since I began, thirteen chapters of new material, and copious reworking of the existing. It's a celebration, to be sure, and I'm content to bask in the glory of a milestone passed for a... Continue Reading →

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