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    Writing a Dialogue-Heavy Scene

    magicallynormal asked: “Hi Lizard, I was wondering, what do you do when everything you write feels disjointed? I have trouble working in dialogue and description and emotions and when I try, it feels like I’m just trying to connect things with with a few extra words in between.” Oh, I’ve been there I practically live there. But really, that is a very familiar feeling for me. I start with dialogue and can just get carried away in the conversation and lose track of the rest of the scene. It’s a natural thing I think actually.  In general, I think if you’re great with dialogue, you just have an ear for it.…

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    A Novel from Pieces

    Anonymous asked: “Hey Lizard! I have my story outlined and plotted and I have got most scenes written, but I feel that I can’t connect them. I feel like my story lacks a certain kind of ‘flow.’ Is there a tip you can give me how to connect scenes so it doesn’t feel like a hard cut after every scene?” That is a great question. So there is one thing that about writing sequentially is that you allow conflict to build naturally. Whenever I write sequentially, my scenes often blur together and aren’t necessarily quite as strong as they could be. I find myself always needing to go back, to work…

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    On Writing Fan Fiction

    Anonymous asked: “Hey Lizard, do you have tips for fan fiction writing?” I don’t really follow fandoms too well and the more I try, the more I’ve come to the realization that I’m pretty pop-culture illiterate in a lot of ways. Sometimes I think, maybe I just watch TV wrong because I just never really automatically “shipped” anyone with anyone else. Same goes for books, films, radio shows, and so on. I watch, I enjoy, but I’m terrible at wanting to direct any character to a certain fate. I read a book recently where the heroine got together with this guy I hadn’t expected her to and I was just thinking oh my…

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    Writing and Originality

    One question I get all the time is how do I make this idea more original?  The answer is you don’t. The greatest thing I’ve learned in my writing experience is that originality is practically a myth. Plots can be put down in a list. So can tropes. A story that is too unique might be ahead of its time. Nearly all however in someways will draw on the literary tradition that came before it.  Of course there are exceptions, but typically what we consider a unique story will have a long and old literary tradition, it just might have a medley of influences and inspiration that we haven’t yet…

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    First Frightening Experiences

    Anonymous asked: “How do you write a pure innocent character who is subjected to a life-changing challenge and doesn’t know how to cope? How do you write an arc from being overwhelmed to learning to adapt?” Now, if it were me trying to write this kind of a scene, I’d think of big life-changing events in my own life. Life-changing events don’t have to be all that remarkable or novel, but they felt big to me while going through them (hence life-changing).  Like going to a new school where I didn’t know a soul. Or starting college and really living on my own for the first time in my life. Other life-changing…

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    Let the Writing Begin!

    NaNoWriMo begins today. It really just sneaks up on you. But I kid you not, I’ve planned all of yesterday for this. I like to be ready and that was a last minute rush – I ended up having to start my novel over again which sucks but I’m doing it.  So I don’t really have all that much to say except good luck to those who are participating. Definitely come be my writing buddy. Reach out to me and I’ll add you as my buddy too. For my own project this year, it’s brand spanking new so I have told literally no one about it. I’ve got a deadline to…

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    On Writing a Confession of Love

    @geekynicki​ asked: “So I was wondering if you could give some tips on how to write a love confession?” I first want to apologize to @geekynicki for taking forever to get this post out because it’s such a great question. The thing that I can thing of that would make this kind of scene initially challenging is the temptation to just spew out everything you want to hear.  Or maybe you don’t want to hear it, but a confession of love can easily turn sappy and saturated and over the top without too much effort. The thing that tends to happen when you’re struggling to get it right is that your…

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    Have Plot, Need Characters

    Anonymous asked: “Hi Lizard, I came across your Have Characters, Need Plot post and it was great! My problem is the opposite though, I have a story I have a plot, but I somehow don’t have the main character!” So, this is actually something I’ve been struggling with a little myself lately. I showed someone a chapter of my novel and they said that while it wasn’t a bad start, the protagonist is boring, especially in relation to all of the other characters.  I didn’t think I had a problem with character until that moment – trust me, for about 30 seconds I was in complete existential crisis – but after that…

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    Lizard’s Ghost Story: Part Three

    This is the last installment of my ghost story series. Spoiler alert: I live. Though that’s how it tends to go in true stories. It might not be the most climactic finish, but it’s true and sometimes that’s just the way true things are.  So, I was fascinated by the high tower room. Who wouldn’t be? My classmates and I couldn’t help but stare when we crossed it down the hall. It was like it had eyes was always staring back. It gave you that feeling. That uneasiness. I don’t remember ever having a causal conversation in that hallway and I walked through it several days a week for years.…