Dialogue #2: How People Really Speak

This post is part 2 of a series on dialogue. Click here to read the first post in the series about the three core forms of dialogue. This week's post on Words Like Trees pushes forward into the world of dialogue. We'll look at a concern that often arises with this fickle structure: is the... Continue Reading →

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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 →

A quick note from Naples

It's 10:30pm, and I'm just sitting down to write. I'll have to keep it a quick one. A long and sweaty, beautiful and adventurous day of travel now at an end, I'll recount a bit and reflect, see if I can tease out a few details to remember. Naples has a reputation. I think everyone... 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 →

Foraging for stories

I spent a bit of time researching MFA programs yesterday. Just a bit. It's still a ways in the future for me, but I began with a survey of the pros and cons of formally studying creative writing at all. Jennifer Ellis has assembled a helpful list of cons, and the first item she included... 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 →

Anatomy of a cliffhanger

They're page-turning. They're nail-biting. They're infuriating. They're everywhere. Cliffhangers, those endings to scenes, chapters, or whole works that create anticipation in the audience, sometimes feel like the bread and butter of modern storytelling televised and written, and as a literary tool they have a long history. Today, let's step back and take their measure. What... Continue Reading →

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