Happy Friday, and happy mid-National Novel Writing Month to those who are participating.
This is “over the hump” day, the halfway mark where, for many of us, things begin to flow. We’ve figured out who the Big Bad is, or we know what our hero has to do to finish strong. We’ve had an aha! moment. Words pour out of us like water, and we’re ready to go the distance.
Or maybe we’re ready to scrap the last 25k words because they sound like nonsense, endless babble that goes nowhere....
Technically, the last third of National Novel Writing Month doesn't start until Wednesday. But who's counting?
My son runs cross-country in the fall. (That's him in the picture above. He's a tall, skinny white boy wearing a purple and white school uniform, running across a stretch of grass, with cars and trees in the background.) For varsity and JV, this is a 3-mile run (5k), usually through a town park. The terrain can be anywhere from nearly flat to multiple steep hills, open fields to dense trees. Running doesn't stop just because of...
Everyone's heard "show, don't tell" at least once. It gets passed around in workshops, classes, and critique groups. It takes other forms, too. Sometimes it's labeled as "spoon-feeding" or "info-dumping," depending on the genre. It's probably the most common piece of writing advice ever given.
It's also the most meaningless.
"Show, don't tell" has a somewhat unfortunate history. It may be anti-communist propaganda, and it definitely has
This might be the most basic, important question for a writer to ask, whether spinning a yarn about mythical beasts or typing out a memoir: Who is your target audience?
"Anyone who wants to read it" is certainly a valid answer, but the difficulty there is that it might be too generic to develop either your characters or your story. Some pitfalls of this include making a book on a social issue (like police brutality or homophobia or intimate partner violence) feel like an educational tome. It can become less of...