Revise and resubmit

For those who have been in this writing game for a while, you will be familiar with the “revise and resubmit” (or R&R as I call them). The horrible irony that this will give neither rest nor relaxation, but hopefully will allow your reader to ultimately enjoy the book—like that lady in the picture, having some actual R&R.

Read more

Encouragement in pain

During a recent sermon on encouraging each other in our faith, the minister said something that really landed with me. When we comfort others who are going through difficult times, rather than using platitudes or our own words, why not use the words of our Lord? He has experienced everything that we are experiencing, and He understands what we are going through.

Read more

Motivation for murder

Did you know that while there are limitless motives for people to murder other people, they all boil down to a handful? When I recently researched motivations for murder—I’m sure that if I wasn’t before, I’m now on another watch list somewhere—I found some interesting statistics.

Read more

The central question

A few months ago my agent asked me to write a covering submission for my novel. Honestly, I thought that once I had an agent, the days of writing a covering anything were over! Turns out there is no way around writing a synopsis, a blurb, or any other part of the covering submission. At this point, it wouldn’t even surprise me if J.K. Rowling still has to.

Read more

Finding their voice

Of recent times, I’ve been critiquing the work of a range of writers—from first timers to the multi-published. What is often the difference between me slogging through, and wanting to read more, is the characterisation. If you’ve been following along, you know this blog harps on about character. But something happened that made me remember the importance of character voice.

Read more

Audience of One

There are pivotal moments in every writer’s writing life. It might be the day we finish our first novel, or the day we sign with an agent or publisher. For me, the day came when I realized the significant edits that I’d made to satisfy a publisher’s requirements meant my work no longer reflected my values. It did not glorify God. Quite the opposite. It glorified sin.

Read more

Exposition exposed

Does your reader need to know your protagonist’s backstory and other vital information? Yes. Should you dump the entire shebang in one go? You already know the answer to that. But how to achieve that sprinkling of salt so perfect a master chef couldn’t fault you? Read on.

Read more

Integrated elements

A few months back I explored the “setup” and “payoff” elements that create a satisfying story. As you can read back in that article, it’s non-optional. Integrated elements however, work at a high level to make the story three dimensional. They’re not mandatory, but they make your story pop.

Read more

ChatGPT and simile

I’ve been hearing a lot about ChatGPT, and when I complained to a (non-writer) friend I was struggling with a chapter, he said “just get ChatGPT to write it”. Ha! Normally I’m a bit of a luddite, but I figured if it’s what the kids are doing, I should give it a go. While ChatGPT is definitely hit and miss, you can use it as a tool similar to a thesaurus.

Read more

Unity of opposites

An element of literature and film I find a lot of fun is the power of two completely opposite characters being brought together by a common event or goal. Once there, they find themselves in a scenario where they want precisely the opposite things. 

Read more