How to Punctuate Dialogue

By Chris Saylor It’s easy for fiction writers to get tripped up on when to use a period, where that comma should go, and how to even use all the other forms of punctuation correctly. The truth is, you don’t need to know what every piece of punctuation does when you’re writing fiction. But you(…)

Understanding Goal, Motivation, and Conflict: GOAL

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) The foundation of every functional novel is goal, motivation, and conflict. What your character wants, why they want it, and what they’re willing to endure to get it. Sounds simple in principle, right? But I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with this, so over the next few weeks, I’m going(…)

Should Fiction Writers Care About Grammar?

By Chris Saylor Some people believe that, when you’re writing fiction, you can throw all the rules of grammar out the window. We’ll call this the It’s Not Important camp. They say that grammar is too fickle—the rules of grammar are seemingly in constant flux, and they’re too nitpicky to begin with, especially for fiction(…)

How a Novel Is Like a Human Body

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) I’ve come to believe that part of the reason writers can work for years on a book and still have it be unready for publication is because we don’t always understand the different layers that need to go into a great story. A lot of this happens because most of us(…)

Indie Choices: To Pen Name or Not to Pen Name

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) In traditional publishing, many of the choices are taken out of our hands, including sometimes whether or not to use a pen name. As independent authors, this becomes another choice we’re able to make ourselves based on what we think is best for our situation and our business. Authors use pen(…)

Want to Make Revisions Easier? Create an Editorial Map

The tables are turned on me today. Normally each month I head over to Janice Hardy’s Fiction University (and I will still be there next week), but this month I also have the extremely nice and talented Janice Hardy here to share her knowledge with all of you as part of her blog tour for(…)

Writing in Multiple Genres or Specializing

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) One of the empowering, amazing parts of being an independent author is we get to choose. That ability to choose and experiment is one of the things that drew me to self-publishing rather than trying to work with a traditional publisher. A lot of the choices we make won’t have a(…)

How to Use Layers to Create Rich Character Emotions

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) One of the least effective ways to convey character emotions is to tell the reader what the character was feeling: fear, love, jealousy, anger. Before I go on to look at how we can create a rich emotional life for our characters that will touch our readers’ emotions, I think we(…)

Dissecting Books: Reading as a Writer Part 4

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) Welcome back to my series on how to dissect books to understand how and why they work. In other words, how to “read as a writer.” (Here’s where to find Part 1 [openings], Part 2 [plot], and Part 3 [characters and theme].) This week we’re going to dig down into the(…)

Writing to Market

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) Writing to market isn’t a new concept, but recently it’s become one of the hot topic issues within the writing world, largely thanks to Chris Fox’s 21 Day Novel Challenge. On one side of the divide over writing to market are authors who say that writing to market is the way(…)