Mary Ortega

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How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish

by Joe BuntingI’m working on a new short story. However, it’s been a while, and I’m feeling out of practice, like I have to figure out how to write a …

Creative Writing

He Said / She Said — The Problem with the Word “Said” in Dialogue

At some point in my writing life, the word “said” began to annoy me, and it’s only grown worse over the years. While it’s arguably a necessary word …

5 Ways to Make Your Editor Think You are Awesome

<i>By Lisa Lepki</i>As the Editor of ProWritingAid’s blog, I am constantly reading submissions from writers, and few things irk me more than common …

Creative Writing

A Guide to Short Story Contests in 2018

“When seriously explored, the short story seems to me the most difficult and disciplining form of prose writing extant. Whatever control and …

Creative Writing

Authors Need an Amazon Author Page | Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

“When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.”<p>~ Phillip Roth, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist~<p>By Catherine …

Dialogue words: Other words for ‘said’

Writing effective, compelling dialogue has multiple elements. It’s not only <i>what</i> characters say but <i>how</i> they say it that matters. Or how you show who’s …

Creative Writing

22 lessons from Stephen King on how to be a great writer

Renowned author Stephen King writes stories that captivate millions of people around the world and earn him an estimated $17 million a year.<p>In his …

Creative Writing

A Writers Prayer #ThrowbackThursday

Browsing through my reader, as I do every morning, I came across this post by Lucy Mitchell, aka. Blonde Write More. (Have you been to her blog? If …

10 Critical Mistakes Writers Make in Writing Contests

You work hard to write your best story—and if you’re honest, you’re pretty sure it’s amazing. You share it with other writers to get their feedback, …

Creative Writing

Getting Jiggy with the Nitty Gritty, or, Improving Your Sentences

As writers we spend most of our time torn between needing to write and needing to market what we’ve written. Then, when we’re writing, our focus is …

Writing

7 Top Tips to Create a Cinematic Novel

Writing a story that has all the enticing elements of a screenplay in novel form can be a challenge, but if done right it can lead to a cinematic …

Creative Writing

Show Don't Tell: How to “Tell” When You Can’t “Show”

The standard rule is this: “show, don’t tell.” Instead of <i>telling</i> your reader that Jane is “sad,” <i>show</i> the reader by describing Jane’s demeanor, her …

Creative Writing

The Challenges of First-Person POV

Today’s guest post is by James Scott Bell (@jamesscottbell) and is excerpted with permission from <i>Writing Voice: The Complete Guide to Creating a</i> …

Creative Writing

How to Write Multiple Points of View

What is POV?<p>Rather than recreate the wheel, we have an excellent article that gives you examples of each different POV and how to use it. You can …

Stupid Writing Rules: 12 Dumb Things New Writers Tell Each Other

<b>I love Anne R. Allen’s blog. I learn something new every time I visit. This is an excellent piece about bad writing advice. Check it out. Just click</b> …

The Nitty Gritty Practical Guide to Giving your Characters Unique Voice

10 Key Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Characters<p>Character Voice is as difficult to pin down as it is critical.<p>Plenty of writing advice …

20 inspirational pieces of advice for writers on National Writing Day

June 21st is National Writing Day, a celebration of writing creatively that aims to encourage people of all ages to 'put pen to paper, unleash their imagination and make their voices heard'.<p>A number of events marking the occasion are being held across the UK, details of which can be found on the …

Creative Writing

We Mean Business: Twelve Agents Who Want to Read Your Work

To say there are a lot of literary agents out there is an understatement—almost like saying there are a lot of writers looking for an agent (but not …

Writing

Character profiles: 5 questions for a detailed cast

Character profile writing is a useful way to build a rounded idea of your characters. Knowing your characters’ appearance and persona inside out …

Creative Writing

How to Begin a Story: 3 Quick Ways to Improve Beginnings and Endings

My family moves a lot. Beginnings are often stressful, disorienting things, while endings might be joyous, grief-filled, and everything in between. …

Straightforward techniques to improve your writing

Whatever you write, you want to get your thoughts across as clearly and effectively as possible.<p>If you’re a novelist, you don’t want awkward word …

Writing
Writing

John Grisham’s Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Popular Fiction

<i>Since advice is usually ignored and rules are routinely broken, I refer to these little pearls as merely “suggestions.”</i><p><i>There is nothing original about this list. It has all been said before by writers much smarter than me. I’ve just arranged things differently, and I keep changing them as the years</i> …

Creative Writing

Writing Fiction: A Good Story Must Be Disturbing

As David Mamet once said to me, “If Hamlet comes home from school, and his dad asks him how school was, and Hamlet says, ‘It was fine, Dad,’ it’s …

Creative Writing

How to write cliffhangers: Suspense examples from books

Learning how to write cliffhangers and suspenseful scenes is a crucial skill, whether you write mystery thrillers, fantasy fiction or another genre. …

Creative Writing

How Much Character Description Does Your Story Need?

When we read books, books with characters we love, we can learn how to write our own characters by studying what details the writers included. There …

Creative Writing