Short stories should have compelling characters and clear conflict. But how do you write a cohesive work of fiction in just a few thousand words? In this article, we take a closer look at short story writing.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

January 16, 2022 · 13 Min Read

how_to_write_a_short_story_2.jpg

Novels and short stories share many of the same considerations. Characters must be well developed, and conflict must be present. There must be a theme—a strand of something that ties the prose together. It should have structure. Yet the limitation on how many words can be used in short stories adds an additional layer of complexity. Read more...

Writers are often told to stick to the active voice. But how do active and passive constructions differ? In this article, we look at the impact of grammatical voice on sentence length, clarity, and tension.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

January 7, 2022 · 6 Min Read

active_vs_passive_voice.jpg

In English, grammatical voice can be either active or passive. Both are correct, of course, but their applicability depends on what’s being written. Fiction, which seeks to elicit emotion, should be written in the active voice. Read more...

It can be tricky to write the first chapter of a novel. Where should you start? How important is backstory? In this article, we look at some of the factors that impact the quality of a first chapter.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

November 12, 2021 · 4 Min Read

how_to_write_a_first_chapter_1.jpg

The first chapter of a novel needs to pique the reader’s interest and showcase the writer’s prose. The voice of the writing should connect with the reader as soon as possible—but presentation should not come at the cost of accessibility. Read more...

Books that prioritize information are beholden to many of the same rules that inform creative writing. In this blog post, we look at the most common pitfalls of writing about real-world events and experiences.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

October 5, 2021 · 4 Min Read

common-nonfiction-writing-mistakes.jpg

Expository nonfiction books prioritize information, but information on its own does not make for an enjoyable read. For knowledge to be impactful, it must be original, well researched, and delivered as succinctly as possible. Read more...

It can be tricky to write a novel that contains a nested story. It has to be structurally sound, of course—but the motives of the storyteller add an additional layer of complexity to the prose.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

August 6, 2021 · 6 Min Read

frame_story.jpg

Simply put, a frame narrative is a story within a story. It could be a character telling a tale to other characters around a campfire, or it could be a character sitting down at a desk to regale a story directly to the reader. The structure of such novels can vary; however, they usually start off with the narrator telling the story, then switch to the actual story being told. Read more...

Writers often labor away to get a description exactly as they want it—only to have it returned with, “Don’t tell me, show me,” scrawled in the margin by an editor or writing mentor. In this article, we take a closer look at showing and telling.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

May 13, 2021 · 6 Min Read

Introspection and outward action both play an important role in fiction. Action is impactful only when the character’s motives are understood (or at least suspected). Conversely, the internalization of events can only carry weight if there is outward action. Read more...

show-dont-tell.jpg

Literary students are lectured to ad infinitum on the strengths of active verbs. Yet what makes an active verb not just okay, but great? In this article, we analyze the impact of verb choice on scene construction and characterization.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

March 16, 2021 · 7 Min Read

Verb choice takes on added importance when writing isn’t solely functional. Fiction writers don’t just convey information—they entertain while doing so. Read more...

decisive-verbs.jpg

What gives a character authenticity? Elaborate backstory and emotion are not enough; instead, the writer needs to dig deeper.

Some characters don’t seem to be able to shake their blandness—writers reiterate and revise, draft after draft, but still feel unsatisfied with the authenticity of their creations. In this article we’ll look at two crucial, often overlooked, ingredients of characterization: the character’s self-identity and perception of the world. Read full article...

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

Dec. 8, 2020 · 6 Min Read

flat-character.jpg

Although crucial to any story, excessive expository writing can severely hamper reader enjoyment. In this article, we define exposition and look at its common pitfalls.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

Nov. 21, 2020 · 9 Min Read

exposition-in-writing-1.jpg

One of the more frequent criticisms levelled at writers is that their writing is too expository. At first, this may seem vague and even unfair; however, upon closer inspection, it often becomes clear why the critic feels that way. Exposition deals with backstory, and backstory is a crucial element of storytelling. Read more...

In this article, we define and look at examples of personification. Most importantly, we determine how the writer can use this literary device to enhance the mood of a story.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

Nov. 4, 2020 · 5 Min Read

personification-writing-2.jpg

Personification can make an object seem willful, angry, or wise; even though it is only an inanimate thing. Needless to say, such a tool can give life to what would otherwise be bland descriptions and observations. Read more...

How do adjectives and adverbs impact writing? These word classes are crucial for writing clear descriptions, but overusing them can lead to wordiness.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

Oct. 6, 2020 · 9 Min Read

adjectives-adverbs.jpg

After defining and giving examples of adjectives and adverbs, we look at how they influence sentence structure and readability. We then analyze how these word classes can cause wordiness, and how wordy writing should be revised.

Read more...

What are literary symbols and how can you use them to add depth to your writing?

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

Sept. 14, 2020 · 4 Min Read

symbolism-writing.jpg

Writers often think that symbolism as a literary device is cliché and cheesy; however, if used correctly, symbols can be stirring. This article defines and gives examples of symbolism in literature. It also explains how symbols can be successfully implemented in writing. Read more...

In this article, we address the differences between similes, metaphors, and analogies. We also discuss when and how they should be used in writing.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

Aug. 26, 2020 · 6 Min Read

difference-between-simile-metaphor.jpg

Simile, metaphor, and analogy are often used interchangeably. However, although all three are used as tools of comparison in figurative language, they are not one and the same. Read more...

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

Aug. 6, 2020 · 4 Min Read

direct-indirect-characterization.png

In short, characterization is the display of a character’s personality, beliefs, and motives through action, dialogue, and description. These traits can be showcased either directly or indirectly, but they always help to answer the following question: What is the character’s ultimate purpose? Read more...

Writing and punctuating dialogue in fiction can be tricky. This article uses examples to illustrate how dialogue should be formatted.

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

July 27, 2020 · 3 Min Read

how-to-write-dialogue-fiction-novel.jpg

How to write good dialogue? Why, by formatting it correctly, of course! The proper use of quotation marks, commas, periods, and speaker attributions are extremely important. Read more...

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

July 14, 2020 · 3 Min Read

story-prompt.jpg

A writing prompt is used to prod a writer to start writing. Putting pen to paper for the first time can be daunting, whether you're about to begin a novel, a chapter in a novel, or something else. Writing prompts can be a sentence, image, or anything that stirs inspiration. Read more...

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

July 2, 2020 · 9 Min Read

how-to-write-a-book-manuscript-mentoring

If you like to read, then sooner or later you'll ask yourself the following question: How do I become a writer? It may be a fleeting thought, or it may be something more substantial. Whatever the case, the idea is worth more than cursory consideration. Read more...

manuscript-mentoring.png

Manuscript Mentoring

June 29, 2020 · 4 Min Read

proofreading-editing-differences.jpg

There are some fundamental differences between proofreading, editing, and developmental editing. Firstly, it is important to note that their meanings are not always fixed. Read more...