• 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?”

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    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…

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    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.…

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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 Characters, Need Plot

    Anonymous asked: “Hi Lizard! I thought of these amazing characters the other day but I can’t figure out how I can mess up their lives so I can write about them! Help!” First off, I’m going to share this prompt generator by Future is Fiction called, “Let’s Put Your Character in a Sticky Situation.”  It’s a fun way sometimes to get started. Now, onto my thoughts! So, when it comes to finding a plot for your characters to play out, I think that it’s important that it seems to come from the characters. Now, I don’t mean that the plot can only be determined by the characters, but it is one way of…

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    Writing about Memory

    @jaselinde asked, “I am currently writing a scene where a character begins to remember something from his past, but it comes in fragments during scenes. And it’s been really difficult for me to write these scenes with out making them seem really sudden and out of the blue… any advice?” Have you ever read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner? Faulkner does an excellent job of showing the mind and memory of all of his character really, but for this question I thought of Benjy Compson.  I’ll start off by saying, Faulkner’s a genius and still this book is considered pretty hard to follow, especially the first two sections told…

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    Mysterious, Absent Characters

    Anonymous asked: “How can I keep readers interested in a missing character with them being gone & only remembered?”  A character doesn’t need to be present in a scene to be interesting. Sometimes they can be missing for most of the book (in some cases all of the book) and still hold the reader’s interest, just by being “relevant.”  By relevant, I mean relevant to the story. The character should be related to the plot in some essential way and then they will be more than interesting. While there’s tons of examples in fiction, the ones that come to mind at the moment are in television.  Let’s look at Pretty Little Liars –…

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    On Hate to Love Relationships

    @midas-queen asked: “How would you make a subtle transition from a character hating someone to loving ‘em so much they can’t live without them? Not necessarily in a romantic way.”  Hate is such a strong emotion. If your characters are going to hate each other, they most likely will try to avoid each other for the most part which is not particularly helpful for building a relationship. But there are things that can help force a change. Like forcing them to spend time together. Like sticking two high school enemies together to bond over a school project. You’ve got to find a way to make them work together to move…

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    Overcoming the Writing Slump

    Lately, I’ve gotten a number of similar questions all kind of centered around “The Writing Slump.” The Writing Slump is not exactly the same of writer’s block. Writer’s block means you can’t write and aren’t writing.  Writer’s block in my experience is more of an excuse to avoid writing than anything else. The writing slump is not an excuse. The writing slump suggests you are trying, you are writing, but it either is not coming easily or you just don’t enjoy as much as you should. It means you’re writing as much as you can, struggling to put down the next sentence. You still do. But it’s hard. How do…

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    If it Can be Cut, Should it?

    Anonymous asked: “So I’m trying to write a book and I’ve recently come to realize that a sort of world building/cultural detail that is included COULD BE removed. But it’s sort of silly and if it CAN be removed, does that mean it should be? It would alter the story slightly, but only slightly.” Not everything that can be cut should be cut. It’s always going to be a bit of a balancing act. Let’s chat a little about how that might look.  First off, there’s a huge difference between dumping loads of information about a world on your reader and giving them only the bare-minimum to get by. Ideally, you…