How Important is Plot Anyway?

Let’s start with a serviceable definition of plot:

A plot is the event or events that are used to insure that you get your story and characters from point A to point Z.

In the sense that all stories move a character along a journey, be it emotional or physical, then most stories have a plot. The plot accents the intersection of events and how they affect your characters. How they react, or, in the case of characters causing conflict, how they instigate that conflict in the first place. A plot should make the reader curious about outcomes. The moment a reader thinks they know everything that is going to happen, they stop reading. Read More

All About Using Images

So, you’ve lovingly tapped out ‘The End’ at the bottom of your masterpiece. Huffing a breath of relief that you’ve done it: your word baby is born and you want to release it to the world. Pass out the cigars.

Post it to a community site for review! Submit it to your favorite e-zine! Post it to your blog! Facebook! Tweet it! Pin it! Read More

Writing Rituals

Photo by captain-violence

Last week, I posed the following to my fellow writers:

I do most of my creative writing soaking in a hot bath with my head immersed and my editing listening to metal dubstep trance. What are other people’s writing rituals? What gets you in contact with your muse? What helps you get into a state of flow where time disappears? Curious minds want to know.

I got such a wonderful variety of responses, that I think I’ll just leave them here as is. Enjoy.

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Write It Down or Annie Wilkes Will Break Your Legs

Why write? Good question. I have no idea. Perhaps, the answer for me is also a line of inquiry. Why not? Why not just pack it in and give up on any dreams of becoming a famous author, bathing in a bathtub of dollar bills. Well, I’m Canadian, so they’d be coins, loonies we call ‘em, but you get the point.

Here’s the deal. I have no aspirations of being a novelist, famous or otherwise. Although, an unfamous (as opposed to infamous) novelist seems kinda lame. What is the difference between ‘famous’ and ‘infamous’ anyway? Good and evil, they tend to be used interchangeably. English is such a strange language. Read More

Words to Kill

Part of the self-editing process (you do self-edit, right?) is to clean-up passive voice, needless adverbs and filler words. This is typically done in a pass that doesn’t pass any judgement on the content itself. It’s a mechanical exercise.

So, why not use the awesome power of your computer to get it done. Write down a list of words that indicate writing that could be tightened up. Use an angry red crayon, if it helps. Start with these gems: was, were, had, just, that, started, think, thought, only. Add words to the list you often overuse. Search for them using the so-named function of your word processor. Don’t automatically remove, but challenge them. Are these the best word choices? Read More