• Novel Writing,  Writer's Block,  Writing Inspiration

    Turning a Scene into a Novel

    “Hey Lizard! So I have an idea for a story, but it’s only one scene. I have no idea where to go with it or how to flesh it out into a longer idea. Can you help please?” Frankenstein by Mary Shelley started out as one very spooky scene that Shelley first imagined on a surprisingly chilly summer’s evening to scare her literary friends. Though getting from just one cool scene to an entire book is not without its challenges. First: Save that cool scene in a folder and don’t touch it. Make a copy of it that you can work with. Even if you change it, it’s not gone.…

  • Writing Inspiration

    “How Do I Improve My Writing?”

    I’ve gotten so many questions that essentially come down to this: “how do I improve my writing?” Trust me, I’m asking this myself all the time. And from talking to authors I know, this is a question that never really goes away. It’s not a bad thing. Let it be this question that helps better your craft. So, what is better? I want to start this conversation by saying there is no objective “better” writing. There is “invisible prose,” or prose that while reading is so immersive that the text seems to fall away. Or there’s stories that successfully do just the opposite – stories that make you aware that…

  • Plot Holes,  Writing Inspiration

    Writing with Research

    So I love a well-researched story. If I’m well versed in the topic, I get excited because the author is clearly as big of a nerd as I am, and if I’m not, I’m learning something new. (This is not to say fiction is the best way to learn about a topic, because, as much as I love it, I acknowledge liberties have been taken and things have been embellished.) So, how do you write a well-researched story? Honestly, it’s a lot harder than it looks. The Research Rabbit Hole Research can be a great way to avoid your writing. If you’re like me at all, you could decide you’re…

  • Writing Inspiration

    Crafting Your Own Canon

    So last week, I wrote a post on what writers should be reading, which in short, says writers should be reading a little bit of everything. This week, I want to talk a bit about the Western canon, or the canon of English literature or whatever you want to call it. What is the canon? It’s the classics. It’s the “essential texts” that are noted for their influence and significance. They’re often the books studied in school. In recent years, it’s been pretty well noticed that the canonical authors are predominantly white men and there have been efforts to expand it to be more inclusive. I’m not going to tell…

  • Writer's Block,  Writing Inspiration,  Writing Life

    Hasn’t this Been Written Before?

    "Hey Lizard! I’ve read through all of your blog posts in the past days, but I still don’t have an idea what to do. Right now, I have lots of time to spend on writing. The problem being, that it doesn’t matter how polished my characters seem to be and how often I change my outline, the plot is still similar to a story I’ve read once, because the major issues are the same. It even reaches the point where I have the feeling that if I just change the character’s names, it’s that story. Any advice?"