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Writing - Nuts & Bolts
This section is devoted to articles about improving your writing ability, honing your skills, and fine-tuning the basics. Scroll down the page for individual sections.

How Long Should Your Story Be?
by Lee Masterson
A quick guide on estimated word counts and story lengths for all kinds of stories!

Common Writing Mistakes
by Michael Larocca
Most books aren't rejected because the stories are "bad." They're rejected because they're not "ready to read."

Suspending Disbelief
by Dr. Vicki Hinze
What does a writer do when a novel contains an element that requires a serious suspension of disbelief? How exactly does the writer incorporate that element so that the reader buys into the premise?

How to Hook Your Reader
by Marilyn R. Henderson
The opening of your novel must entice the editor or agent to read the entire story. It should plant a seed of suspense, set the mood, begin building dramatic tension, and pose a question the reader wants answered. To do this, you need to choose the right time and place to open your story.

Hook Your Readers - Right from the Start!
by Shawn Scarber
it was important to catch your reader from the very start with a good hook. But just how do you go about creating a good hook?

How to Write Compelling Fiction
by Rob Parnell
"I can't put it down" - How many times have you heard someone say this about a book? And have you ever analyzed the books people can't put down? What's the one thing they have in common? Rob Parnell discovers what makes some fiction so compelling - and how you can do it too.

Dialogue and Narrative

Dialogue Basics.
by Terry W. Ervin II
Dialogue is an essential part of most short stories and novels. It is always better to show or have happen than to explain or to describe. Character conversation, or dialogue, is one way to accomplish this. This article reviews some of the basic structural and punctuation issues of conventional dialogue.

Writing Dazzling Dialogue
by Lee Masterson
Putting a realistic, believable conversation into your story is not as simple as it seems

"Good Dialogue," the Editor Said.
by Dr. Vicki Hinze
Creating good dialogue and forming realistic conversations

Effective Dialogue
by Dr. Vicki Hinze
Used effectively, dialogue is a powerful toold. But ineffective dialogue can see your reader throwing your book in the trash - or worse - see an editor reject your manuscript!

Creating Realistic Dialogue
by Bonnie Way
Dialogue can often be one of the most difficult parts to write in fiction. Not only does your dialogue need to sound realistic, but it also needs to convey much information about characters and plot at the same time.

Effective Narrative
by Dr. Vicki Hinze
When is narrative a good thing and when is it just too much information? Writing narrative can be tricky, but it can also improve your story - if written well!

Exposition vs. Narrative
by Dr. Vicki Hinze
What is the difference between exposition and narrative? And when do you use them?

Trust Your Readers
by Lee Masterson
As an author, how much do you trust your readers to see the same images you created for them to see?

by Vicki Hinze
All stories have a 'backstory' - the events that led up to the sequence of occurences happening in your plotline during the course of the novel. So how does a writer reveal backstory without resorting to 'telling' the reader in long, boring chunks of narrative?

Point of View

Whose Point of View?
by Lee Masterson
Choosing to tell your story from third person limited, or first person can be a tough choice. Here is a look at some options facing an author deciding on whose eyes to tell the story through

Picking the Right Viewpoint Character
by Tina Morgan
Choosing the right person to tell your story is almost important as the story itself.

Me, Myself & I: Writing in First Person Point of View
by Cheryl Wright
Telling a story from the perspective of an "I" character is often easier than it looks. Cheryl looks at ways to make a first-person POV more immediate.

POV or: Whose Head Am I In Anyway?
by Cynthia VanRooy
Fiction writing is about people. Romance fiction is about two people in particular, your hero and heroine. The story is told from their point of view, so understanding and effectively using point of view is crucial to writing good fiction.

Handling Multiple POVs
by Vicki Hinze
Should I worry that my main protagonist isn't in every scene? Or should I be looking at ways to get into the heads of other characters?

Write What You Know
by Tina Morgan
How to get around the tricky situation of substituting imagination for factual experience.

Write That First Draft First ... Then Get Published
by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta
All published articles, stories or novels undergo several revisions. So the first step in actually getting published is writing those first drafts. Perfect final drafts arise from those ugly first drafts, so write that first draft first...then you can start thinking about getting your story published!

The Importance of Setting
by Tina Morgan
Every fiction writer is responsible for creating a believable setting for their story to take place in, but how many actually take the time to do it?

"Play it Again, Sam" - Redundancy in Writing
by Tina Morgan
Many writers find that giving their characters the same traits, or repeating the same comfortable formula might give them a shortcut to finishing their book. Problem is, your writing becomes redundant for the amount of repetition. Here's how to avoid making your writing redundant...

Sex in Fiction
By Tina Morgan
Thinking of including a little "hanky-panky" in your story? Here are some basic guidlines for avoiding offending your readers!

Write A Novel In A Month!
by Lee Masterson
Okay, so it's impossible to write a best-selling novel in just 30 days. But it IS possible to write a completed first draft in that time.


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