Polishing the Bones: What Home Remodeling Taught Me About Story Revision

After months of paint, plywood, and plaster dust, we've almost finished the renovations on our first house! Home wasn’t the only thing I’ve been remodeling: while sawdust swirled, I also revised Syzygy IV: Escape Velocity, which publishes on June 27. Rearranging words on a page may be less visibly messy than installing cabinets and putting … Continue reading Polishing the Bones: What Home Remodeling Taught Me About Story Revision

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How to Write a Novel, Part 7: Revision and Editing

So you completed the first draft of your story. Congratulations—it’s a milestone in the novel-writing process. But your work is far from done. If you think revision means typing “The End” and running spellcheck, think again. Drafting just generates raw material. Through revision, we sculpt that narrative clay into a novel. That’s where creativity and … Continue reading How to Write a Novel, Part 7: Revision and Editing

How to Write a Novel, Part 5: Dynamic Dialogue

Admit it. You eavesdrop. It’s all right, everyone does. Some anthropologists even assert that humans evolved to gossip, because exchanging information about others informs our social bonds and behavior. In novel-writing, dialogue functions as a critical storytelling tool. But fictional conversations differ from those in real life. They must move the story forward through the … Continue reading How to Write a Novel, Part 5: Dynamic Dialogue

Groundhog Day: Recurring Draft Doubt and How to Beat It

As if insults on a chocolate foil weren’t enough, now cough drops are attempting psychotherapy. Unwrapping a lozenge yesterday, I found the paper printed with aggressive encouragements: “You can do it and you know it!” “Flex your can-do muscle!” “Fire up those engines!” It read like a lemon-and-menthol Jillian Michaels. I laughed because just moments … Continue reading Groundhog Day: Recurring Draft Doubt and How to Beat It