Wednesday, August 23

Is Your Novel Exploring an Idea or Solving a Problem?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

I have a file on my computer devoted to story ideas. Last count, I had around forty of them in various stages of development. Some are just titles, some are query blurbs, and others are multi-page summaries. Nearly all of them have one thing in common—they’re only exploring ideas.

Which is why they aren’t books yet.

The ideas that I did turn into books were all ideas that posed a problem the protagonist had to solve. They were stories, not just a cool premise.

Tuesday, August 22

Don’t Speak: The Power of What’s Left Unsaid When Crafting Dialogue

By Bonnie Randall

Part of the How They Do It Series
(Monthly Contributor)

Bonnie is off this month, so let's dip into the archives for one of her older articles on writing subtext. Enjoy!

As a writer, and a therapist, dialogue is sacred to me; conversations convey so much: personality, preferences, desires, motives, and, yes, a person’s story. Yet in fiction, as in life, sometimes the most powerful message delivered is what isn’t said. The unspoken, the implied, and the evaded can turn up the volume of a story, creating poignancy, pathos, and the tension we are always striving for as writers.

Monday, August 21

How to Use Your Word Count to Your Advantage

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy 

Updating from the archives today, going all the way back to 2010. 

Quite often, word counts are associated with dread. "Oh no, I have to cut words," or "My manuscript is too short for the market I want to write for." We might even stress over a chapter that's gotten too big (or too small). It makes sense, since what we can measure is what usually gets measured, and word count is the easiest things to measure in a manuscript. It's how we judge the hard to judge.

Which is a bit unfair to the poor word count, because it's actually a very handy too to use when writing. The number of words we have can help us judge our pacing and structure. I even use my word count to help me write my scenes.

Sunday, August 20

Writing Prompt: The Story Starter: Arrgghh!!

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a story starter, so take the element provided and turn it into a story of any length you choose. If you’re stuck on size, I suggest aiming for 1000-2000 words.

Someone dealing with a mundane, yet frustrating problem


Write whatever this triggers, and use these details however you wish. Put them together, use them separately, make one a detail in a scene, whatever inspires you—run with it.

Saturday, August 19

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This Fantasy Blurb Work?

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Real Life Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and I diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to Real Life Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: Three

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through September 9.

This week’s questions:

Does it work as a blurb? Is there enough information about the story and the setting? Are you able to get a general feel for the story or is it too vague?

Market/Genre: Fantasy

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, August 18

Free Writing Workshop on Conflict at the Orlando Public Library

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy


I'm happy to announce I'll be doing a free writing workshop on conflict at the Orlando Public Library on September 28, 2017.

I'll show you how to amp up the conflict in your fiction and how to find the best conflict for the story you want to tell. 

When: September 28, 2017
Where: Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd., Orlando, FL
Time: 6:30 pm
Register here.