Short Story and Novel: Key Differences in Form–#AuthorToolboxBlogHop

This week's post is part of the monthly Author Toolbox Blog Hop. Check out others' great posts about the craft and business of writing! I first encountered Haruki Murakami through his short story collection The Elephant Vanishes. These stories of middle-class life in Japan were bizarre, esoteric, often difficult to get my mind around. The... Continue Reading →

Mode, Genre, and Form: Three Ways to Think More Deeply about Our Texts

In the huge range of texts we write, distinguishing among them helps us know what we are writing, helps readers know what to expect, and helps us connect our pieces to readers who will enjoy them. Today we'll discuss three central ways texts are distinguished from one another: mode, genre, and form. These tools help... Continue Reading →

A Plotter Pantsing: what I’ve learned, and what I’m still trying to figure out

In Twitter's #WritingCommunity, the discussion of plotting and pantsing our stories is a common thread. Plotting, the careful outlining of a story before writing, and pantsing, the seat-of-our-pants, unplanned, accepting-what-comes creation of a story, each draws a crowd of strong adherents. Out foraging for mushrooms this week, we came across this beautiful chanterelle, late for... 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 →

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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