Tag Archives: writing tips

The Perils of Lengthy Memorials

Laura Ayo

My high school creative writing teacher once noted in the margin of an assignment that I had “memorialized a moment” in the story I submitted. I remember being surprised by his comment. I hadn’t intended to memorialize anything; but after I re-read what I had written, I agreed with his assessment. I had, indeed, preserved a memory. And while the piece did that well – I still remember the moment 26 years later – my teacher’s point was that the story did nothing other than serve as a way to never forget what had happened one rainy afternoon at a park. The story wasn’t anything anyone else would want to read because it lacked a plot, character development, conflict and a resolution. Since then, I’ve come a long way with my writing. But, as my critique group helped me realize recently, I apparently still like memorializing moments – even if they are moments experienced by fictional characters I create in my imagination. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 7-5-17

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Repeating similar actions or circumstances throughout a story can bolster thematic resonance and give greater significance to the action. However, each iteration should accomplish a different story goal. Try mirroring a particular action that you use in the climax earlier in story.

The Power of Contrast

Stacey Kite

As writers, we’re all aware of the importance of conflict, plot, character and voice, but I want to talk about another element that can ratchet up the intensity of a story: contrast.

In painting, contrast is an essential tool for adding punch and drama. Painters use dark and dull complementary colors to make the bright touches sing, and light to give the darkness depth. The same principle applies to stories. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 6-28-17

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Take a paragraph you’ve written and circle all the adjectives and adverbs. Then, revise the paragraph by finding stronger nouns and verbs whose meanings make modifying words unnecessary. For example, replace “spoke quietly” with “murmured” or “young child” with “toddler.”

Practical Prompt 6-21-17

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Books need characters, but too many can confuse your reader and detract from the story. With that in mind, take a look at your secondary characters and ask yourself whether each is really necessary for the plot. Eliminate those that aren’t essential. If you have several minor characters that each play tiny, but crucial roles, try combing them into one character to streamline your story.