Article Index


– “Accidental Plagiarism” (1/13/12): Why you can’t “accidentally plagiarize” someone (and why your premise isn’t as original as you thought).
– Actions Speak Louder (6/12/16): Why “showing” is so important when it comes to character building in a story
Adjectives and Adverbs (9/26/13): The difference between quicker and more quickly.
All of a sudden, he was suddenly there (4/3/12): Why the word “suddenly” can make things seem less sudden.
– And… Scene (6/30/14): How to work in time jumps (and figure out where to end those pesky scenes).
– Antagonist vs. Villain (3/13/14): Why your antagonist isn’t always your villain.


– Backup!  (10/3/13): Tips for protecting your work in case of computer crashes and other awfulness.
– Beat Changes (7/14/14): How taking a lesson from acting can make your dialogue better.
Beginning Writer Problems (1/22/12): Common problems seen in the work of many new authors to watch out for.
– But They Did It… (3/9/12): Why best sellers aren’t always the best role models.


Catching Openings (9/23/15): Some Dos and Don’ts to consider when starting a story.
– Chapter Length (11/10/15): How to use chapter length to make your book stronger.
– Character Flaws (2/10/14): How to make your characters three-dimensional rather than Mary Sues who trip.
Character Questionnaire (1/28/12): Some questions to ask when fleshing out a new (or flat) character.
– Contracts (3/25/12): Things you should look out for in contracts if you’re your own agent…and some publishers you might want to avoid.
– “Craigslist Agents” (4/23/12): Why advertising for a good agent/publisher doesn’t work (and some tips to keep in mind when starting to look for one).
– Crises of Confidence (5/22/12): How to work through it when you start to doubt yourself as a  writer.


– Dialogue-Strong vs. Narrative Strong (12/6/14): How identifying your strengths can make you a better writer.
– Die! Die! (7/22/13): Thoughts on if you kill off characters to make a compelling story.
– Does Length Matter? (12/19/13): What to do when your novel ends up short in word count.
– Do the Twist (4/22/15): Tips for making plot twists and foreshadowing work for you.


– Editing 101 (4/23/14): Some tips for just how to get started once you have a rough draft.
– Eh, It’s Not My Style (9/9/13): Some tips for those sticky style problems (and what the Chicago Manual of Style says).
– The End? (10/31/13): Why you might not always need to know the end of your story when you start out.
– The Ever-Dreaded Plotholes (1/31/12): What to do when you find a plot hole in your story.


Finding Time to Write (6/25/12): How to fit writing into an already hectic schedule.
Floating Dialogue (5/1/12): Tips on how to write tagless dialogue without confusing your readers.
– From Premise to Plot (10/17/13): How to start building a plot around an idea.


– Genres (and why we write them) (7/3/16): Inaugural post for the “Genres (and why we write them)” Sunday blog series. Jessica Dall discusses the trials and tribulations of writing at the edges of established genres.


– Hate Storms and Self-Publishing (9/30/13): What one woman’s hate storm teaches us about self-publishing.
– He said, said he (11/18/13): Why “he said” is more popular than “said he” for dialogue.
He said, She said (3/2/12): Why you shouldn’t worry too much about over using “said” in dialogue.
Head Jumping (2/20/12): Ways to keep the right point of view character while writing in third person limited.
“Hey look! I’m a writer!” Syndrome (2/13/12): Why poetic prose doesn’t often make you look like a great writer.
– Historical Naming (6/4/14): How to find time-period appropriate names when writing historical fiction.
– How -Not- to Take a Review (3/4/12): Some things that won’t endear you to book reviewers.
– How to Get Published (1/23/12): Some tips on publishing (but sadly no magic tricks…)
– How to Take a Critique (2/29/12): Ways to get the most out of a critique of your work.
How to Write When You Just Don’t Feel Like Writing (3/12/12): Tips on getting out of those pesky “I don’t wanna write” moods.


I am woman, hear me roar (4/27/12): Why it’s fine to have weak female characters…as long as you write them correctly.
– I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fanfic (2/9/12): Why “name-changed fanfiction” can annoy acquisition editors.
– I. Us. Them. (9/19/13): How working with an editor through a publisher is different than working with an editor you hire.
Info Dumps (3/21/12): Some tips on “how to turn info-dumping into story-telling”
Inner Filters (2/3/12): How to write something when you’re uncomfortable with the topic.
“Intensive Purposes” (3/19/12): Commonly misheard (and mistyped) idioms in writing.
– It’s Been Done (12/23/13): Why you shouldn’t worry in the slightest if your story idea sounds like someone else’s.


– Just a Pretty Face (7/15/13): Some tips to get a clearer mental picture of your characters.


Language Barriers (12/15/14): How to deal with bilingual characters (or characters speaking a foreign language in general).
– The Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil (4/29/14): How “character alignment” charts can help with characterization.
– Layout Templates (12/31/13): .docx templates to lay out your novel in book or manuscript format.
– Less is More (7/17/12): When showing goes too far.


– Making your Characters Believable (3/21/14): Tips for character building before starting out.
Mary Sues (2/10/12): What they are, and why to watch out for them.
– Mental Health Blog Day  (5/14/14): Tips for writing when depression makes that difficult.


The Name Game (1/20/12): Some helpful naming sites when trying to name characters or places in a new story.
– Novel Blogs (4/5/12): Is it a good idea to blog your novel as you write it? Depends on your motivations, but it can hurt your chances at traditional publishing.
– Novel Layout Tips (10/10/13): Some tips for laying out your own novel without making your book look amateurish


“Plot Device” Disorders (6/28/13): Things to keep in mind when using “popular” mental disorders, such as amnesia and DID.
– Plot Holes (Part II) (4/11/12): Examples of plot holes still around in some well-known fictional works.
– Plot Holes (Part III) (4/12/12): Looking into just how you can tell if you have a plot hole in your manuscript.
– POV Bloat (10/9/15): Reasons for caution when dealing with a large cast of POV characters.
– Prior Works (7/26/12): What to do (and not do) about prior credits when submitting your first novel.
– The Problem with Pronouns (9/26/13): How using pronouns can trip up writers (and readers).
– Punctuating Dialogue (11/17/15): How to properly punctuate dialogue tags and beats.


– “Real” Writers (2/6/12): What makes someone a “real” writer, and why you shouldn’t care.
 Rejectomancy or: Why did they really say ‘no’? (8/28/14): What that “thanks but no thanks” letter you got from your query might mean (and why you shouldn’t read too much into it).


– Self, Vanity, Traditional Publishing (1/19/12): The different types of publishing out there.
 Shoot the Shaggy Dog (5/9/14): 10 writing/publishing terms it might be helpful to know.
– Submissions 101 (6/5/12): Everything you ever wanted to know about the submissions process.


– Tense Slips (1/20/15): How to properly use past or present tense in narration.
That’s Just…Wrong (1/16/12): Some “facts” that many writers get wrong.
– This Totally Makes Sense (11/25/13): How foreshadowing can save you from a deus ex machina.
– Through His/Her Eyes (10/28/15): How to get personalities across when your character isn’t telling the story.
– Toe Tappin’ Copyrights (9/16/13): Why using song lyrics in your writing can land you in hot water.
Too Much Dialogue (1/24/12): When to use dialogue and when to use narrative (and why not to stress too much about either.
– Truth is Stranger than Fiction (12/2/13): Suspension of disbelief, and why you shouldn’t break it.
– Typing, Print, Cursive (12/16/13): Why handwriting still sometimes wins over typing when writing a story.


– The Unanswerable Questions (1/27/12): Why outside help can’t always help you with a character you’re having problems with.
The Unneeded Words (3/16/12): How to tighten up your writing (and cut down a too-long manuscript) by finding unneeded wordiness.


War on Was (2/16/12): Showing is better than telling, but why you shouldn’t always be on a “to be verb” witch hunt.
– What Genre is My Novel?  (7/6/16): A list of genre types and what novels fit into them.
– What’s He Look Like, Again? (9/29/15): Tips for working description into prose rather than writing a (generally boring) laundry list.
What’s in a Name? (1/30/12): Why changing the name of a character can change the character entirely.
What Should We Call Me? (4/8/15): Things to consider when coming up with a title for your manuscript.
– Who are you, again? (5/12/14): How to introduce character names in your stories.
– Wishlists and Trends (7/2/13): Why you shouldn’t try to force your writing into publishing trends.
– A Wizard Did It (2/1/12): Plot holes and avoiding Dei Ex Machina.
Write What You Know (1/15/12): Why the old saying “write what you know” is good and bad advice.
Writing Prompts (2/5/12): Some different ways to jumpstart your writing when trying to think of a plot.
– Writing Shakespeare (10/21/13): Why you don’t need to write historical fiction using Old English.
– Writing Through Writer’s Block (7/18/13): Some tips for blasting through writer’s block.
– Word Limits (3/14/12): Why many publishers have word limits as to what they accept.
– Worth the Wait (1/30/14): Why it’s okay to take your time when it comes to publishing (and why vanity presses aren’t worth your time).
– Wy I Hayt Fonetik Axsents (3/13/12): Reasons you might want to stay away from phonetically spelling out accents.


– [X] Types of Plot (2/7/12): Why so many books seem similar, theories on there only being so many different plots.


– You Can’t Write That! (8/21/12): Why no topics have to be off limits when writing.
– Your Character as a Roommate (10/28/13): A new take on the traditional Character Questionnaire.
You Don’t Say… (4/17/12): Some tips on writing more natural sounding dialogue.


$*&# @#*% (2/24/12): Reasons why you should (and shouldn’t) swear in your writing.

Guest Blogs

Genres (and why we write them) #2 (7/10/16): Victor Canto
– Genres (and why we write them) #3 (7/17/16): Laura M. Kolar

– Bernadette Marie: Why I Became a Publisher (9/5/13): Why one author moved from being a writer to starting a small press.
– Laura E. Koons: Strengthening Your Dialogue (12/11/14): Some tips for writing better dialogue.
– Marianne Sciucco: Book Signing 101 (10/7/13): Some tips on how to have a successful book signing.
– Author Interview – Gillian Felix (10/14/13): an interview with the author of Family Portrait (Changes).

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