The Best Cowboy at the Rodeo is the Clown

Every rider, roper, athlete, or stunt double will tell you: before you can do the special tricks, you have to master the basics, or you’re likely to get hurt. So here’s a VERY basic writing question: What’s a sentence? Answer you learned in 3rd grade: A sentence has a noun (specifically a subject) and a [...]

Writing Lesson 3.34 – Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Grace Awards Finalists 2011

You may have noticed that our Student Writing Competition (ACCEPTING ENTRIES NOW!) asks for only your first five pages. Why? It is VERY important for writers to put their best foot forward. I learned this the hard way! Though my novel, More Precious Than Gold, recently finaled in the Grace Awards, I had a deja [...]

Writing Lesson 3.31 – Minimalist or Epic Writer?

A February 3, 2012 blog post by Sharon K. Souza of Novel Matters caught my attention. Souza said, “I tend to write novels with just a handful of characters, and only a few plot lines. I’m always impressed with complex novels and wish I could pull off that kind of writing, but my story worlds [...]

Writing Lesson 3.13-Adding Adventures

room addition

We started the year with a post on Story Engineering. With two contributors in the midst of home renovations, it’s no wonder if our posts about plotting a story keep drawing analogies to architecture. We’ve likened genre to architectural style. We’ve said that themes and motifs provide a sense of form and function to the [...]

Writing Lesson 2.29 – Dialogue: To Attribute or Not to Attribute?

“That is the question,” said . . . er . . . mused Jack. As you prepare your entries for the upcoming contest, consider the way you use dialogue. Have you read books where every snippet of dialogue ends with “he said” or “she said”? These phrases become boring and redundant. I’ve heard that our [...]