“Never use passive voice” is some of the worst advice out there. Passive voice is used in all kinds of effective writing, and has its place. Cartoon by Matt Groening
Don’t introduce female characters by describing the size of their breasts. But, if you must, leave the word ‘ample’ out if it.
Head-hopping is only good for fleas and body snatchers. Limit access to characters’ thoughts to one per chapter. Unless you are Bernard Malamud, and then you can do anything.
“Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard
In writing, specificity is universality.
On how to write the perfect mystery: Give your murderer two motives to commit the crime. Make the minor motive obvious and petty, casting them in the role of the Red Herring. Afterward, start sharing subtle hints to a more complicated motive. – from Robert Colton, author of Manuscript to Murder: How to Write a … More Pro tip # 5 (guest post)
Action in writing is not car chases, explosions, or gunfights. Action is a character acting on a decision about how to get what they want.
You often hear the adage ‘write what you know’ in writers’ workshops. This is inevitably misinterpreted as ‘write about yourself’. Rather, it should go: ‘write what you know interests you‘.
Never set your fantasy novel before or after the ‘Elven Wars’. I don’t know why fantasy writers always have their elves warring, but we’ve seen this too many times.
If you write mystery series, up your author profile by writing a how-to guide. With that in mind, here’s the cover for Robert Colton’s Manuscript to Murder: How to Write a Whodunnit. Doubly exciting, Robert has asked us to write the forward. The book is expected to be available in February of 2017. UPDATE: available … More Pro tip # 1