That's a Beautiful Sentence. Cut it.

 As Georges Simenon edited his work, if he came across an especially beautiful sentence, he did something very odd. He cut it. “Every time I find such a thing in one of my novels it is to be cut.”

Read More

Don't Overuse Descriptors

 A common pitfall of writing is the overuse of descriptors. When adjectives and adverbs are used too liberally, it slows down the pace of the narrative. If there's a true excess of descriptors (as there is in the example that follows), it can even prevent the reader from easily grasping the meaning of a sentence.

Read More

Make Your Character Walk Naked Through Times Square

exc-51435e9fe4b04eaef367254d

​You've got a stubborn character on your hands. You can't figure him out; he feels more like a cardboard cutout than an interesting, vital character. The problem is that you don't really understand who he (or she) is yet. 

So how do you get to know someone without spending years with them? Go to war together. People show their true colors in difficult situations. Believe it or not, your one-dimensional character is no exception... ​

Read More

What Discouraged, Young Writers Should Know

exc-51435dece4b04eaef367223d

If you're not an established writer (and often even then), you've probably endured stretches of grave doubt. These are miserable periods when nothing you write seems promising, and you've started to wonder whether you're wasting time on scribbles that will never see the light of day. Yet, it's precisely those desperate times which should prove to you that you're a writer...  

Read More