One Quick Way to Make Your Writing Better

For every writer, there’s a method. But there are only a few rules that can make you a better storyteller.

Do you want to learn one that will instantly make your writing more interesting? Keep reading.

Stories need to feel like they’re really happening. A reader, even though they don’t know it, can get tired very easily.

A key to keeping them invested in your tale is to make it feel like there’s energy bursting off the page.

Oh sure, some writers do that by writing action-packed stories. Their books race along at a breakneck pace.

But what if that’s not what you’re writing? And even if it is, even the most “exciting” stories need to take a break now and then.

No, the real way to infuse energy into your stories has nothing to do with the type of content, but how you present it.

Check this out. What sounds better?

Silas was thrown into the wall by the ghost.

Or

The ghost threw Silas into the wall.

Both sentences tell us the same thing. But the second sounds better by far.

The phrase “was thrown” makes it sound like it happened a long time ago. The second sentence puts the object first, making it feel more active—like its happening as we read it (even though it’s still written in the past tense).

This simple approach keeps a story fluid. There’s energy to what you’re writing. And that helps the reader feel more comfortable as they read.

It’s subtle. You might not think it makes an impact, but it does. Especially if you plan on writing a 50,000+ word manuscript!

Keep this in mind the next time you write. And if you’re editing your work, definitely make this change.

5 Ways to Write Real-feeling Characters

When it comes to writing, there are a lot of opinions out there. Not only does every writer have their own pet theories on the craft, but there is an entire cottage industry that produces books, workshops, even full-blown conventions. All designed, not to make you a better writer, but separate you from your money.

But the fact remains you don’t have to spend tons of money to become a better writer. You just have to write. That plain, simple truth might not sell books or tickets, but it does produce quality writers.

When it comes to storytelling, there are plenty of opinions on what makes a great book. These days, it’s all about “high concept” plots. Best-selling books are much like big-budget Hollywood movies. They go all-in with the intense action, heavy special effects, and sweeping emotions.

But, in my opinion, they leave you feeling empty. Plot-driven books are real page-turners, but they’re not the kind of thing people will be reading years to come. They’re certainly not the kind of books that stick with you. Nor are they the ones that children will be reading in school or writers look to for inspiration and guidance.

What makes a book timeless? Characters. Strong, believable characters that feel like real people. We root for heroes because we relate to them. Plot-driven books have cookie-cutter characters, people that act a certain way because the plot demands it. They never feel all that real, and they’re certainly not memorable.

But how to do you write strong, believable characters that will stick with a reader? Here are 5 ways to write real-feeling characters.

Continue reading “5 Ways to Write Real-feeling Characters”

The King of Thieves? Part 2

King of Thieves

Catch up with Part 1

Thadeus had left the palace. He was feeling pretty good about it. That poor sap, Menus, would be filling in for him while he’s out on an adventure. Heck, he might never go back. Let the kid enjoy being king for a while. He can’t do that bad a job, after all.

The moon was glittering high in the midnight sky. Thadeus gazed at it a long time. He had forgotten how beautiful the moon was. Why did it look different from the one he saw out his palace windows?

It’s because he was looking at the moon a free man.

He took a deep breath. The air was clear and cold. It chilled his lungs. Thadeus tightened the rough tunic around his chest as he marched down a narrow street.

There were people about. His kind of people. People that had no place to be, so they were just out in the middle of the night. People who wouldn’t be missed at jobs in the morning. People who wouldn’t mind sharing in a bit of mischief. Or a lot.

Continue reading “The King of Thieves? Part 2”

The Very Bad Detective, Part 3

The Very Bad Detective

Catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.

Maxwell Brogue stood in the interrogation room. Chained to the table was one Timothy Shanks, a.k.a.: Crooked Timmy. Detective Grimes ceased her pacing when she saw Maxwell. A slight smile grew on her face. The tall Detective Hatts was in a corner, leaning against the wall.

“Oh boy, are you in trouble now, Tim,” Hatts said, straightening up. He walked over to the man in handcuffs. Leaning in, he pointed to Maxwell. “See that man there? He’s the one who busted this case wide open. He found your hammer in the floorboards.”

Crooked Timmy looked up at Maxwell with bloodshot, beady eyes. His expression was hard and violent.

“You wouldn’t be in here right now if it weren’t for him,” Hatts said.

Tim’s face got harder.

“Who are you?” he asked Maxwell.

“This is the city’s finest private detective,” Grimes said. “Max Brogue.”

“Heh, you need a private dick?” Crooked Timmy said. “That’s pretty pathetic, detectives.”

“Keep laughing, Tim,” Hatts said. “A few minutes with Brogue here, you’ll be singing like a bird.”

“Show ‘em what you got, Max,” Grimes said.

Continue reading “The Very Bad Detective, Part 3”

A Small, Sad Dwarf Part 4

A small sad dwarf part 1

Catch up on the story: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

The small sad dwarf left the old house and the burnout valley. What waits for him beyond?

The small, sad dwarf climbed up the burnt old ridge. He was right, there was grass on the other side.

In fact, the land sloped down into a bright green valley. He hadn’t seen anything so green, in such a long time. The land rolled away in rolling hills of grass. The sky was clear, with only a few traces of the marching army.

The stars faded as the sky blushed and became blue. A golden ball of bright light climbed up a far away line of mountains. The dwarf could see a long way, for the first time in a while.

Excited, he hurried down the slope into the awaiting grassland. The air smelled fresh and clean. He thought he heard the chirping of… birds? Yes, they were called birds. He looked around but couldn’t see any.

Climbing up from the ground were big, gnarly things. Small pieces of gree clung to their crooked arms. For a second, the dwarf thought they were people, frozen forever. But on closer examination, he realized there was nothing to fear. These things were supposed to be stuck in the ground.

The dwarf walked under them, enjoying the shade they provided from the rising ball of light. When the wind blew between their arms, there was a soft rustle. He liked that sound, though as a dwarf, he hadn’t grown up hearing it.

He walked for a while beneath the gnarled, greeny things. They were thick beside him. The ground, he realized, was flat and even. Very easy to walk on. It was almost as if someone places stones in a long, straight line, to make it easier to walk.

Wasn’t there a name for that? He had to think about it.

He suddenly forgot about all that when he reached a break in the gnarled things. The land spread out under the blue sky. Rising up in front of him was a great many houses.

The dwarf has reached the edge of a town.

Continue reading “A Small, Sad Dwarf Part 4”