Fleshing Out Characters

When a story gets stuck, I try to see it as an invitation. Amid the frustration, I seek what I have missed. What central element have I bypassed in this story that makes it tick slower, slower, slow until it halts? Often for me, the culprit is the undeveloped character. I plan the story and... Continue Reading →

Growing story ideas

In between novel revisions this winter and spring, I've been working on a few short stories. The more compressed, quicker course of developing and honing these has helped me think about the process and purpose of telling stories, and today I'll share some of what I am learning. Likewise, I would love to hear your... 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 →

Put your descriptive writing to work!

A few years ago I found myself in a one-day writing workshop, examining all fiction in terms of three elements: character, conflict, and description. The idea that every sentence we write is primarily serving one of these functions is perhaps reductive, but it can also help us tease out why a passage is not working,... Continue Reading →

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