POV (Point of View).For a long time, I thought this only meant two things.First, whether you’re using first or third.Second, headhopping is bad.I knew I used third unlimited (more than one character gets a POV) and I did my best not to headhop.At least consciously. Turns out, there’s a world more information about POV that I was in dire need of.Here’s what I’ve learned about POV from a couple of really great books (I’ll include two of my recommendations at the end of this post) and the wonderful critique group I joined.Boy, they keep me honest about POV.(For the sake of my sanity, I amRead More →

I got my first no from an agent today.  It’s actually more frustrating than soul-crushing.  They didn’t say no to my writing or to my manuscript.  They said no to a one page description of my story. I’m going to work some more on that one page description.  It’s only bad when everyone says no.Read More →

A friend (an awesome friend who I love, fyi) bought this book, Revision & Self-Editing, for me after I featured it on Material Girl. I was correct in my assessment that it would be helpful.  It is, in fact, extremely informative.  James Scott Bell covers all the elements of writing: character, POV, scenes, plot & structure, etc.  Each chapter offers valuable exercises and techniques.  I couldn’t recommend this book more. (Thanks again, Jen!)Read More →

Today I’m linking to an article by Julie Leto about Layering When You Write. This article was a lifesaver for me when I first started writing.  This is how I write.  And I thought I was doing it wrong. See, I can whip out the dialogue.  And dialogue is crucial.  It keeps the pace, it raises tension, it adds emotion, it… well, dialogue can do anything.  It’s like the superhero of writing.  Then it starts getting harder.  I usually write in the action, trying to see the scene like watching a movie.  This works, but it leaves me with a bunch of dialogue, a bitRead More →

I suddenly hate that word, “telling,” like I hate running out of coffee. Apparently, telling instead of showing is an easy mistake, especially for beginning writers. Here’s a wonderful post from Flogging the Quill. How to Show, When to TellRead More →

I’m editing right now, as well as participating in a crit group.  I’m thinking this book would help catch a lot of those mistakes.  It’s on my wishlist, anyway.Read More →

Let me preface this by saying, I have children.  From 4 to 14, which means I watch everything from The Secret Life of an American Teenager to The Imagination Movers.  And, yeah, I realize my kids should be reading.  My kids do read.  They just also watch television and play video games.  Sueme.  TV is flashier and easier for them. There goes that point again, making a break for it.  Monday night, my daughter’s watched Spectacular, a much hyped, brand new movie from Nickolodeon.  Except, it’s not all that new. Premise: Boy is good at one thing, probably has a future as a professional.  BoyRead More →

Today’s Material Girl link won’t cost you a dime*. Enjoy it, that’s pretty rare. It’s called Lovely Charts (a hug for my friend Kris for thinking of me when she saw it). I tried it out, and it is lovely. It comes ready to build several different types of flow charts, including people. How’s that for connecting your characters? I happen to have drawn one of these before, using tables in Word–it’s not fun. Lovely Charts? Fun. *Update 6.29.2011: It’s no longer free.  Sorry! *Update 11.22.2016: Site is now defunct. Goodbye Lovely Charts.Read More →

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard No kidding, the best advice I ever read.  For a while I’d be all… “Ugh, I have to write that scene,” and if you don’t want to write the scene, why the hell would anyone want to read the scene?  Sum it up and move on.  You don’t have to write a play by play of life for your characters–only the important parts. I realize there are times when self-doubt about the ability to really pull off an important scene slips in, but that’s the thing: you know it’s an important scene.  InRead More →

Those Rules, the capital R ones, can stifle a young writer (and by young I mean novice).  You can spend so much time on your first draft making sure that you don’t overuse adverbs, use correct grammar, don’t head hop, include enough description–augh, the list is endless.  You can spend so much time following all of those Rules that you don’t give yourself permission to write badly.  But I promise you this, if you don’t let yourself just freaking write, you will never find your voice. Let your characters say what they need to say.  Infodump if you have to.  That’s right.  I went there. Read More →