Explain It All or Let the Reader Figure It Out?

Someone asked me recently about where a writer should draw the line between explaining something in painstaking detail versus just glossing over a topic and letting the reader try to figure it out on their own. It’s a complex question, really, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

What was really interesting, though, was that right on the heels of this question, I had an experience in my critique group that not only did NOT answer that question, but highlighted how there truly isn’t a right or wrong answer.

First off, let me say that I absolutely love all of my critique partners, and our times together are full of valuable feedback, learning experiences, and lots of fun. One of the elements that makes a good critique group, I think, is having a diverse group of writers who all have different writing styles, favorite genres, and writing experiences. Continue reading

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In Defense of Happy Endings

Lately I’ve realized something in my reading and writing habits: I like happy endings. This is not a new realization, really, but I started thinking about it recently in a new and deeper way.

As a kid, I loved Disney movies and similar stories, where everything was tied up in a neat little bow and they all lived happily ever after. I didn’t like feeling sad, and so I sought out happy stories with happy endings.

As an adult, I still like happy stories with happy endings—but there’s more to it than that. It’s not as much about everything ending on a perfect tidy note, but more about ending on a strong or redemptive note. Continue reading

Summer 2018 Update – Writing and Other Shenanigans

For anyone who follows this blog, and/or is wondering what I’ve been up to of late, here it is in a short summary: not writing.

I’ve missed several weeks of blogging here and there over the past few months, and I’m embarrassingly behind on my writing goals for my current dieselpunk series. So it’s more “other shenanigans” rather than writing that I’ve been doing this summer. Continue reading

Square Dancing as a Metaphor for Writing

Writers tend to think in metaphors, and have a penchant for turning non-literary stuff into something literary. And so because of that, a great many non-writing things in life can be held up as useful for the writing life.

I have recently begun taking square dancing lessons (you may laugh if you wish). I live in a small town, and square dancing is a big thing here. And with good reason – it’s a fun, family-friendly activity that people of all ages can do together, and it’s good exercise. I’m really enjoying it, and I’m learning a lot. And, because I’m a writer, I’m applying it to my writing life, too.

Dancing/Writing is not a Solitary Activity

While square dancing requires a minimum of eight people, writing tends to be something that one does all alone. And while it’s true that the act of writing is a solitary venture, getting a publishable book into the world is not. Ideally, a writer has critique partners or beta readers, an editor, perhaps a cover designer, and of course readers. Continue reading

Story Prompt Pictures

Sometimes you just need a good picture to jolt your creativity or give you some ideas. Whether it’s a landscape, a city scene, a fantastical image, or some little detail that often goes unnoticed, studying pictures can help us bring richness and details into our writing.

Continue reading

5 Tips for Writing Convincing Technobabble

One of my most popular posts on this blog lately has been this post about how to write technobabble. Apparently there are a lot of writers and creators out there who need tips and ideas on how to come up with convincing scientific or technological jargon that sounds real but isn’t.

So here are five tips to help you invent convincing technobabble words and concepts:

Do Some Scientific Research

The best technobabble has an element of truth or at least believability to it. If you’re writing an outer space adventure, then you should probably familiarize yourself with real astronomical terms and have a passing understanding of basic physics. If your spaceships are powered by cosmic strings, a lot of sci-fi readers will have a hard time buying the plausibility of that, despite your glowing technobabble terms. Continue reading