Using All Five Senses in Your Story: Why You Should Do It, and How | Tips for writers about using all five senses when describing events and settings in their stories. A must read for writers who aren’t sure what it means to tap into their characters’ senses.

Using All Five Senses in Your Story: Why You Should Do It, and How

Writing and storytelling are two sides of the same coin, and one usually needs to be skilled in both to create a great story. If your prose is not engaging, your story may not be enough to maintain your reader’s interest; therefore, those of us in the business of helping writers like to suggest that … Read more

4 Basic Ingredients to Make Your Story More Complex | For your story to be the most engaging and compelling it can be, it should comprise these basic narrative elements. A must read for writers who want to get the best out of their stories. Read more at jackalediting.com.

4 Basic Ingredients to Make Your Story More Complex (the critical narrative elements of a compelling story)

Every story has different requirements. Some don’t need much character development. Others don’t need tight plots. But for your story to be the most engaging and compelling it can be, it should comprise these basic narrative elements. 1. Character Reader-Character connection Characters are the reader’s entry point and anchor in the story: what hooks them … Read more

Writing Rules Explained: Should we Follow Writing Rules? | The truth about writing rules. Why they exist, and why you should know what they are (they’re not what you think ;) ). A must watch for writers who refuse to learn writing rules.

Writing Rules Explained: Should We Follow Writing Rules?

(Video transcript) Not a fortnight goes by that I don’t read the comments section of an article about writing and find a comment spurning writing rules and advice of any kind and it grinds my gears. “Rules stifle creativity!” they proclaim. “They make you write for editors and not for yourself! Writing is an art and … Read more

4 Reasons You Should Avoid Dreams in Novels | Tips about writing dream sequences in novels, and why you should avoid it. A must read for writers who have written out detailed dreams in their stories.

4 Reasons You Should Avoid Writing Dreams in Novels

If you’re on a book editor’s website reading blog posts about writing then you’ve been in the writersphere long enough to have heard that editors and agents hate dreams in novels. Many people in the writing community tend to just parrot what they’ve heard others say so the reasons behind these remarks get lost and … Read more

How to Develop a Character | Character questionnaires don’t always let you get to know your character in a way that’s helpful. Ask you character these questions, and you’ll know exactly who your characters are :)

How to Develop a Character

(Video transcript) I don’t like character questionnaires and profiles because knowing things about someone is completely different to knowing someone and if you’re going to follow a character through a story you need to know who they are. Characters navigate the plot by making decisions and acting, and it’s important to be able to anticipate … Read more

6 Dialogue Habits that are Killing Your Story | These 6 dialogue habits might be killing your story. Learn what they are and how to avoid them. A must read for writers who can’t seem to get their dialogue right.

6 Dialogue Habits that are Killing Your Story

Dialogue can be tough to write, but it can tougher to read. These common dialogue habits might be killing your story.  1. “Talking Head” syndrome What’s the problem? “Talking Head” syndrome is exactly what it sounds like: when you reduce your characters to nothing more than talking heads by not balancing dialogue with thought, action … Read more

How to Turn an Idea into a Story | Have you got an idea for a novel, but don’t know how to start? This video will show you how.

How to Turn an Idea into a Story

How to Turn an Idea into a Story (Video transcript) I often hear writers say, “I have an idea for a book, but I don’t know where to start.” That’s because an idea doesn’t equal a story. Ideas don’t tell us much about the story at all. Ideas often involve no characters, no conflict and … Read more

#FirstChapterFriday April 2016 | Every Friday, I read the first chapter of a book I’ve never read before to learn how to write a first chapter that will make readers want to read chapter two. These are the lessons I learned in April 2016.

First Chapter Friday #1 (April 2016)

Don’t know what #FirstChapterFriday is? Coraline, Neil Gaiman Engaging First Sentence? It’s great. It gets to the point instantly, and is so succinct that I can’t even summarise it, so I’ll just quote it: Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house. “The door” says it all. Gaiman could have … Read more

6 Ways Using More Than One Viewpoint can Enrich Your Novel | Tips for writers from a freelance book editor about using more than one point of view in your novel. A must read for writers who want to explore writing from multiple points of view in their stories.

6 Ways Using More Than One Viewpoint Can Enrich Your Novel

As long as you’re not head hopping, writing your story from more than one point of view opens a range of possibilities for making your story more interesting. Some stories work better when you stick to one point of view, but if you want to do a bit of experimenting, here are some ways that … Read more

3 Ways to Effectively Use Passive Voice | Tips for writers from a freelance book editor about using passive voice effectively. Do you know how to use passive voice effectively?

3 Ways to Effectively Use Passive Voice

Active voice tells us the subject is doing the action (The dog chased the cat). Passive voice tells us that the subject is having the the action done to it (The cat was chased by the dog). Easy enough to understand in theory, but confusing and frowned upon nonetheless. The problem with passive voice is that … Read more