Likable Characters

Alida goes on a field trip this week and talks about the concept of writing likable characters. Do you need to write likable characters? Is that really the goal of character development?

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Writing Short Stories

  In this week’s Word Essential 60 Second Writing Tip, Alida discusses short stories and how to get started writing them. Story Works Round Table Short Story Series: Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3  

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Flash Tip: Ups & downs

  This week, I talk about the importance of ups and downs in your plot, for your protagonist and your reader! Don't take the "try-fail cycle" totally to heart, because ss in life: you win some; you lose some. I explain why your hero...

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Slowing Down Action for Effect

  The point that if you want your reader to really engage with your character in any kind of action scene, from running along a trail to the intense action of your climax, you need to slow down and do two things: show and embody.

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Flash Tip: Typecasting Minor Characters

  Today, I discuss the benefits of using types when you need to fill a minor character's role. Those characters who don't need much development, because they don't garner much ink on the page, beg the question, how do I make them...

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Fooling Ourselves

  I explain how writers can fool themselves into thinking they’re writing in scene, when they’re really writing summary. It's both simpler and trickier than you think. Ready to pull the wool from your eyes?   Have a comment? Want...

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Don’t Make the Reader Work

  I discuss the problem with leaving your story in your head. It makes the reader do some of your work for you. How do you know when you've left too much off the page? And what can you do about it?   Have a comment? Want to share...

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Flash Tip: Broken Breaks

  In this nuts & bolts tip, I show you how to correctly separate dialogue and “stage directions” into paragraphs. The funny thing about writing, is a story doesn't come out of our heads with the structure included. If you read...

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Flash Tip: Nicey-nice

  In this week's Flash Tip, Alida explains the role of Nice in our lives and in our fiction. Have thoughts on Nice? Minnesota or otherwise? In or out of fiction? Use the comments below or hop over to the Story Works Writers Facebook...

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