Writing Craft

The Revenant: A Literary Trope

One of the front runners for the Best Picture Academy Award this Sunday is the Leonardo Dicaprio film The Revenant, directed by Alejandro Inarritu. The film is intense, breathtaking, brutal, visceral, and an absolute feat of modern filmmaking. At its offset, it may seem like a relatively straightforward film: a man overcomes incredible odds for revenge….

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Writing Compelling Character Descriptions

A character is more than his or her appearance. Yet, when we introduce a character in our manuscripts we often default to simple physical description of hair color, eye color, and articles of clothing. It’s as if we believe these attributes are the magical foundation of character, worthy of our reader’s first impressions. Of course, the opposite…

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What Do You Want?

I’ve been busy planning 2016 and brainstorming articles to write for this blog, when I had a mini ah-ha moment. Rather than rehashing the same old things I’m always thinking about here on the blog, I thought … “Hey, I should ask my readers what they care about.” What do you want? What topics would you…

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Ingrid’s Monster List of Writing Craft Books

I love craft books. I collect them. I love reading different philosophies on writing craft. I also find them very inspirational. When I’m developing a new story, I’ve got John Truby’s 22 Steps in hand. When I’m revising for word choice, I review Mary Oliver’s Poetry Handbook. When I’m looking at story construction, Robert McKee is…

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NaNoWriMo Prep

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year? It starts this Saturday (November 1st) and is a mad dash to write 50,000 words of a novel in one short month! I participated for the first time last year and loved it. It’s true, I was a big snob about NaNoWriMo before I…

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9 Reasons Your Reader is Bored

Don’t give your reader an excuse to put your book down! Make sure your book looks more appetizing than a cheese sandwich by avoiding these nine pitfalls. 1) Leisurely Descriptive Passages Ever read a book where the author spends multiple pages describing a house? Or maybe it’s a spaceship, or the way the light plays upon…

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Metaphorically Speaking

“Metaphor lives a secret life all around us. We utter about six metaphors a minute. Metaphorical thinking is essential to how we understand ourselves and others, how we communicate and learn, discover and invent.” – James Geary If you haven’t watched James Geary’s brilliant TED talk about metaphors, you should! Ten minutes might break open everything…

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4 Types of Prologues

There’s an ongoing debate about prologues. Do you need them? Are they superfluous? Do they set up the story, or should you cut ’em and get to chapter one already? Plenty of opinions exist, and many opinions have to do with taste. So, before we jump on the “prologues never contribute to the story” bandwagon, I…

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Five Things I Learned From Doing NaNoWriMo

It’s been nine months since I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and wrote 50,000 words of a novel in under a month. It’s one thing to bask in the manic euphoria of pounding out 50,000 words like an intense sprint around a track. But it’s completely different thing to step back and look at…

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