What is some advice that you can give regarding plot development in writing?

1. Plot is story. So start with that. What story do you want to tell? Write it down in a sentence or two on a slip of paper. 2. All good stories have beginnings, middles and endings. Write down the beginning and the ending on separate slips of paper. Again, a sentence or two will …

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In fiction, how do you fairly and without bias write a compelling character you deeply dislike?

It’s easier than you might think. You write fairly and without bias because you are so totally determined to not be unfair that in most cases you’ll go the other way and make that character better than he/she really is. And you make that character compelling because to you, he/she is already compelling, in your …

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I think I’ve almost finished writing a good novel, but I’ve lost focus and interest in finishing it — how can I best regain it?

The answer to this particular question is easy. I suspect I’m not the only writer out there who has learned the answer through experience. The answer is: Forget about it. Put is aside. Find a nice shelf and put the manuscript on it and cover it with a pile of other, more interesting, things until …

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Do MFA programs make you a better writer?

Maybe. Maybe not. And before I go on, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I have a love-hate relationship with advanced degrees. I've loved some of my advanced classes and hated others. And I remember one time when the instructor went around the first day of class asking us what we …

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Is it true that there’s little to no money in writing fiction?

Sadly, that’s true. I read somewhere that the average fiction author earns $5,000 a year from his/her writing. However, the e-market is changing everything, including the potential for making as much money as you are willing to work for. And I do mean work. Two kinds of work are involved and each is equally important …

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The first scene of my novel is a chase scene where two boys are being chased. But I haven’t revealed their names, so there’s a lot of “the first boy”, “the other boy”, “then the other boy” for 4 pages and it’s confusing . How can I fix this?

Reading this question, I had a couple thoughts. Questions. The answers to the questions indicate how to handle the scene. First, is it necessary to distinguish which boy is doing what? Does it matter or are you mainly trying to get across that two boys are being chased? If it doesn’t matter, then don’t worry …

Continue reading The first scene of my novel is a chase scene where two boys are being chased. But I haven’t revealed their names, so there’s a lot of “the first boy”, “the other boy”, “then the other boy” for 4 pages and it’s confusing . How can I fix this?

What are tips you would share with someone wanting to write a fictional story?

There is a craft to writing short fiction: Learn how to put a story together. Take a class, read a book, do whatever it takes to learn the craft of telling a short story. Pretend that the story really happened. It should seem real to the reader, so it should also seem real as it …

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How does one express oneself in writing a science fiction novel with an original idea so that it can impact people and never leave their minds? Take the writing style of, The Martian, for example.

You write without considering that you’re writing for people to read what you write. That way you’re more concerned with what you write than you are with how you write and your writing will flow more naturally. You also write without considering that you’re really writing, not for your reader, but rather for the editor or publisher (bricks and mortar or …

Continue reading How does one express oneself in writing a science fiction novel with an original idea so that it can impact people and never leave their minds? Take the writing style of, The Martian, for example.

Does being social help with writing dialogue for your stories? If not, what do you think helps with writing good dialogue?

To be honest, your question stumped me for a moment. I doubt that being social helps because people in books don’t speak the same way that they do in real life. Not even close. Nor can you just pull sentences out of thin air. But I suspect that reading books that have the kind of …

Continue reading Does being social help with writing dialogue for your stories? If not, what do you think helps with writing good dialogue?