• Plot

    Let’s Talk About Plot

    So this has been a highly requested post as of late, so I thought I’d spend a little extra time talking about plot. What is it? How does it work? What constitutes plot? I get these questions a lot and the more I think about it the more insanely philosophic the conversation starts to get, but I’m too pragmatic to get into that here. Let’s get to the root of it. A plot is a conflict. I think most of us already knew that, but sometimes a reminder can be helpful. Plots are problems. There aren’t a ton of incredibly happy stories –or at least they tend not to be…

  • Writer's Block,  Writing Life

    Refocus on Writing Now: Overcoming Creative Burnouts

    As artists, sometimes we just burn out. Think writer’s block, but it’s more than just writer’s block. Like not a block, but an enormous brick wall. An exhausting creative rut. I’ve heard someone refer to it as an “Art School Hangover.” It’s a sudden crash that often comes after an intensely heightened period of creativity.  But now, I want to talk about getting past it.

  • Novel Writing,  Revision

    The Art of the Draft

    Because writing is writing is writing is writing! When you first make that enormously huge decision that you are going to write a novel, you’re not really just writing a novel. You’re committing to drafts, edits, multiple revisions and eventually, a finished novel.

  • Character,  Writer's Block

    On Characters & Stereotypes

    Because writing is writing is writing is writing! When you first make that enormously huge decision that you are going to write a novel, you’re not really just writing a novel. You’re committing to drafts, edits, multiple revisions and eventually, a finished novel.

  • Uncategorized

    Finding Ideas that Stick

    Anonymous asked: “Hi Lizard! I’ve always wanted to write a book, but whenever I try to write, all my stories feel the same, and all my characters feel flat. I quickly quit stories, also, losing my interest on them in a matter of hours. Could you give me some advice so that I won’t have to sell my soul to the dark overlords in order to write a single paragraph?” Writing is a process. No book is ever going to be just a matter of sitting down and writing it out in one shot. It’s drafting, redrafting, intense editing, often huge various changes along the way and ultimately then you get…

  • Uncategorized

    Writers, Know Your Stuff

    Anonymous asked: “Hey Lizard, now I know there is a lot of frustration and anger towards incorrect hospital and emergency procedures and I was wondering if you had any tips about it or any do’s and don’t’s?” I love to read. That’s not really a secret, but one of the reasons I love reading is because I love to learn new things. Even in fiction, you can constantly be learning new things about the world around you. You can learn about different industries and occupations, about different time periods, historical events, and so on. I always assume that whatever I’m reading is true, or that the things that seem plausible…

  • Uncategorized

    When You Hate Your Novel

    Anonymous asked: “Hi Lizard! I have a huge problem: in the middle of my first draft I’ve realized that there are parts of my story I don’t feel passionate about, or just don’t work, and I would need to go back and change it all and start over again. The point is that I feel like a failure leaving the first draft unfinished and starting from scratch. What should I do?” So it’s kind of a funny thing. This morning a friend of mine asked me if she should put aside her novel to work on another one. It’s never an easy decision to put a novel aside for later, but…

  • Uncategorized

    Writing a Well-Rounded Scene

    mockingjaybrandybuck asked: “Hi Lizard, I also most enjoy dialogue and feel pretty comfortable writing it, however, I struggle with the text to fill out a dialogue heavy scene. What are some other ideas I can be thinking about when writing a dialogue heavy scene that is more well rounded?” Good question. Sometimes while I’m writing and just so into the dialogue I forget I’m just writing the conversation and not actually writing the scene itself.  I tend to be a little wary of my writing when it ends up like that. If I’m just describing character body language and can’t visualize the scene beyond that, there might be something wrong with…

  • Uncategorized

    Embracing the Changes

    During National Novel Writing Month, there isn’t a lot of time for second guessing yourself. You’ve got to write 1,667 words a day on average to make it to 50,000 by the end of the month, but sometimes you have a realization, like – wait, a second, this book would actually be so much better if I made the HUGE ENORMOUS CHANGE. I’m talking today about why you should go with your gut, especially in the first week.  So we are officially six days into this word count race and last night I had an epiphany, ghost stories can’t be told in third person. Well, they can, I can think…