• Point of View

    On Writing Multiple Points of View

    “Hi Lizard! I have an idea for a writing piece I want to do. I have characters, a majority of the plot, and a brief outline of the ending. The only thing is, I don’t know how to begin in a way that isn’t overwhelming to the reader. I have a bunch of different characters who all need to be in the same place at the same time. I don’t know how to write in multiple perspectives in a way that doesn’t drag on or go too quickly. Any advice?”

  • 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.

  • Uncategorized

    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.…

  • Uncategorized

    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…

  • Uncategorized

    Why this Character?

    Anonymous asked: “Hi! I’m having trouble showing my protagonist’s personality while writing. It seems like I’m doing just fine with the others, but my main character is just getting pulled along by the plot. Do you have any tips on showing the protagonist’s personality and making them more active in the story?” If your main character is more acted upon than active, I think it’s time to ask yourself, why is this the character who is telling the story? Would it be better if a more involved character told the story? Active characters do have a tendency to take over a novel.  This happens all the time, especially for new writers.…

  • Uncategorized

    Writing Text Messages

    “Hey Lizard! I’m writing something about teenagers, so what do you think is the best way to write text messages?” Oh my gosh, great question. So, to be perfectly honest, this is actually a bit of mystery to me as well at the moment. There isn’t just one way to do it.  I’m pretty sure that every novel I’ve read does it a little differently so, there is some freedom. One example I really love is from the novel Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. There are pages that are just back and forth, found text conversations, but then there are also instances where characters get texts and read them in scene.…

  • Uncategorized

    Characters Bottling Emotions

    @knightedwriter asked: “I have this character who gets into a stressful situation and has a history of emotional abuse. He bottles his emotions. I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out how he should respond to situations, especially as his stress builds and he starts to break. He’s not the POV character.”  I’ve gotten similar questions more than a few times recently and I think there’s something to be said for characters who don’t wear their heart on their sleeves are harder to write about when it comes to showing emotion.  That’s the point though, they’ve got personalities that just don’t like showing any kind of vulnerability and it makes sense.…

  • 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…

  • Uncategorized

    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…