A Study in Best-Selling First Sentences (part 2)

As I thought about what I wanted to write about in today’s post, I remembered a post I wrote almost a year ago: “A Study of Best-Selling First Sentences.” In that post, I listed a number of popular books from the NYT best seller list along with their first sentence (or two), and then I suggested […]

A Writing Tip from John Green

  Right now I’m reading John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I’m almost finished, in fact. His books are pretty quick reads. Anyway, I came across the following line from chapter fourteen that struck me, and I wanted to share (no spoilers): “On the flight home, twenty thousand feet above clouds that were ten thousand feet above […]

On Setting the Mood

I’m reading The Help right now. Well, okay actually I’m listening to the audio book. Yesterday there was a scene where a character was going over to another character’s house to talk. The scene was tense, awkward, and even a bit suspenseful because we weren’t sure what was going to happen during the conversation. As I listened, […]

On Avoiding Unnecessary Narration

Sometimes a book can be well written and have an interesting plot and characters but still be boring. Why is that? Shouldn’t a well-written, interesting book be, well, interesting? Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and most often the solution comes down to cutting unnecessary narration, which is what I’m going to focus on in this […]

I Think I Thought: How to Properly Show Character Thought

The problem of proper thought recently appeared (and not for the first time) in a book I was editing a week or two ago. For some, the difference between spoken dialogue, plain narrative, and internal thought is obvious, but for others it isn’t as easy. Spoken dialogue is usually noted in text with quotation marks. […]

Basic Tips for Writing Dialogue Tags

Last Friday I talked about the basics of dialogue with basic writing principle #2. Now, I want to follow that up and talk about dialogue tags. What is a Dialogue Tag? A dialogue tag is, simply, a tag attached to dialogue to show who’s speaking and, in some case, how they’re saying it. The most common dialogue […]