Making Word(s) Count #5: Reactions and Scale or “I’m Hit!” she said lightly.

Among the many manuscripts I’ve critiqued or edited, I occasionally encounter writers who have a problem with scale. I do not mean that their prose contains too many minerals and leaves a residue on the page (well, okay, maybe that’s … Continue reading

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Forging Stories 3: Passive Aggressive Behavior

Perhaps the first thing we’re taught as fiction writers is that passive voice is the literary equivalent of a clogged artery.  “Use active voice,” we’re told. What exactly does that mean? Here’s an example: “Chelsea dove for cover. The sound … Continue reading

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Forging Stories 2: The Tools of the Trade

Ursula LeGuin has said that an artist’s job was to “put into words what cannot be put into words.”  Writers, she says, must do this with words. Using words, we must capture action, character, place, and emotion. The words that … Continue reading

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