Monthly Archives: March 2014
Writing Tech Part 2: Scrivener

In my last post, I discussed Literature and Latte’s quick note taking software for writers–Scapple. Now it’s time for Scrivener. Scrivener is a nifty program that allows writers to organize, construct, and structure their novels, stories, research papers, and scripts. It’s all about accessibility, much like Scapple, but on a larger scale. Imagine having your plot outlines, research notes, reference materials, and inspiration aids side by side with the first draft. Your Draft Scrivener allows you to construct your chapters and scenes in a seamless, single document that distinguishes between each section so you can easily identify one from the…

Writing Tech Part 1: Scapple

If you’ve scoured the internet looking for any sign of software designed for serious writers then you’ve certainly come across a company called Literature & Latte. Scrivener is their more well known product, but today I’d like to talk about another: Scapple. Scapple “is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them”. It’s essentially a blank piece of notebook paper on which you can write down single words, phrases, or sentences and draw lines between them. You can use those lines to make connections, or you can connect two or more ideas…

Pace Yourself: Writing With Rhythm And Intent

Pacing is all about creating a rhythm for the reader to follow. It allows you, the writer, to invoke emotion in the reader wherever you wish. The most basic element in pacing is speed; how fast or how slow your reader reads what you’ve written can be determined by sentence structure. Fast Pacing There are a number of reasons why you might want your reader to speed through a scene. Are your characters racing through the streets in a high-speed chase? Is the protagonist encountering a tense situation, like playing in a high school football game or witnessing a car-jacking?…

The Premium Writing Space (Is the one you create)

Our environment is not always ideal for writing, plotting, or revision. I have a noisy cat, televisions blaring all over, and a rabble of neighbors who have seemingly coordinated their lawn mowing in subsequent shifts–they’re secretly plotting to annoy me, I think. Even with a number of household distractions, it’s not too difficult to find or make your own writing space. Carve out a cubby in your bedroom, rope off a corner in your basement, or box in a little office in the attic. Natural Vs. Unnatural Light This is my number one concern. While writing, I like my laptop…

New Poll: What do you write?

Let me know what genres you love to write! If you aren’t a fiction writer but enjoy writing in some other genre, add yours into the poll.

Literary Fiction Vs. Genre Fiction

Whether you’re a reader, and English-major, or a writer, the concept of two categories defining all of fiction may seem confusing and totally unnecessary. But if you are interested in the literary fiction vs. genre fiction debate, here are the ground rules that are often ambiguous and muddled and ever-changing.  Character Driven Vs. Plot Driven This is often the first “defining” factor. Many say that literary fiction is driven by characters and their needs, wants, wishes, and dreams. The story revolves around people–not an event or a journey (although the people may certainly go on one). The best example I…

Adventures in World-building: Writing Local Color

Imagination can take a writer far; what it can’t do is take a writer to the moon and back whenever it pleases. Writing Fantasy is a wonderful experience, but writing local color in Fantasy to make your towns, villages, and cities appear dynamic is a difficult task. Here are some ideas and resources to consider when give your world a rich, vibrant, colloquial vibe. Consider Manner of Dress Your characters will not be running around naked (or will they?). But you can not assume your readers will expect to see the protagonist wearing brands like Hollister and The Gap. If…

What’s a Portal?: Gateways and Their Place in Fantasy Fiction

The portal-quest fantasy is one to love and one to be confused by. Surprising to many readers, who believe The Lord of the Rings is what Farrah Mendelsohn calls an immersive fantasy, Tolkien wrote what really functions as a portal-quest. The truth is, Frodo passes through a gateway of sorts: he leaves his idyllic Shire and the home he’s always known to enter the dangerous lands of Middle-Earth. And while one might argue that the Shire is a part of Middle-Earth, elements of the story might prove otherwise. A portal is all about the change between places, whether those places…

How to Use The Comma

As I’ve said before, grammar and mechanics are just as much a part of craft as plot, compelling characters, and well built worlds. The comma is one hell of an important punctuation mark. Commas indicate pause; if you give pause where there is none, your readers are likely to trip over your words, sending them stumbling along through the sentences that follow. Keep these three major rules in mind while you’re writing. Connect two independent clauses with a comma and a conjunction An independent clause is a set of words that include a subject and a verb. It must express…