The Parts Readers Skip: Dialogue

The late Elmore Leonard advised writers to avoid writing the parts that readers tend to skip. This is the third part in my series of posts about this subject. In case you missed my other posts, they focused on “Too Much Description” and “Transitions.” While conducting background for a third post, I discovered that some […]

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Space Is Big (a brief digression about warp drives and similar fictional constructs)

This post began as a 250-word digression in the middle of one of my reviews of a classic Trek episode. I’ve come to understand how my brain works over the years. It is easily distracted by things it associates with other things. Sometimes I can ignore this free association—this tangential thinking—if I am sufficiently caffeinated […]

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I Like The Way You Talk (How Tarantino, Sorkin & Kevin Smith Won Me Over with Dialogue)

Nothing reveals character as much as dialogue. This applies in real-life as much as it does in fiction. I can hear your objection to this. Talk is cheap, you say? Actions speak louder than words. I understand your position on this. If a person’s actions are inconsistent with the words they speak, that still reveals […]

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Write Drunk, Edit Sober (good bad advice on how to tap your creativity like a keg)

This quote has often been misattributed to Hemingway, just as it is here. There’s no evidence that this piece of advice ever originated with Ernest Hemingway at all. According to Quote Investigator, the most likely source of the original quote was a novel by humorist Peter De Vries, Reuben, Reuben, written in 1964, three years […]

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Idea Building (creative writing tips from Pencil Sketches, Modeling Clay and Fred Saberhagen)

  This post, at its heart, is an essay about developing ideas for writing projects. I’m no stranger to having ideas. Ideas are cheap. The implication that a good idea is all you need to write any work of fiction, from a short story to a multi-volumed series of books, is somewhat insulting. Especially to […]

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