Monthly Archives: December 2009

On Writing: What the Publishing Industry Can Learn From J. K. Rowling & Harry Potter

I have a few questions for those who work in the publishing industry: Would you turn down a manuscript in which the first 4 pages featured nothing but exposition, i.e. no dialogue whatsoever? Would you turn down a manuscript geared toward … Continue reading

Posted in The World of Writing, Voice, Technique, & Style

On Writing: How to Break the “Never Shift POVs Rule” & Get Away With It!

The first writer's conference I attended was the Naples Press Club Writer's Conference in Naples, Florida,  2005 (I think). Anne Hawkins of John Hawkins Literary Agency spoke to us about what agents want. Her class and organization amazed me, and I … Continue reading

Posted in The World of Writing, Voice, Technique, & Style

On Writing: How to Break the “Eliminate Adverbs Rule” & Get Away With It!

One of my favorite quotes from Stephen King is on page 125 of his book, On Writing: “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” (King, Stephen. On Writing by … Continue reading

Posted in The World of Writing, Voice, Technique, & Style

On Writing: How to Break the “Eliminate Bland Adjectives Rule” & Get Away With It!

My Institute for Children’s Literature* curriculum encourages writers to use specific rather than general words. For instance, using blue jay instead of bird and cobalt instead of blue conveys a specific picture. They gave us an exercise in which we had … Continue reading

Posted in Description, The World of Writing, Voice, Technique, & Style

On Writing: How to Break the “No Passive Voice Rule” & Get Away With It!

Stephen King, in his book On Writing, gives almost the best definition of passive voice I’ve read. “Verbs come in two types, active and passive. With an active verb, the subject of the sentence is doing something. With a passive … Continue reading

Posted in The World of Writing, Voice, Technique, & Style | 1 Comment

On Writing: How to Break the “Kill the Narrator Rule” & Get Away With It

One of the writing rules I learned from my first publisher during a seminar was: Kill the Narrator. He wanted smooth prose that disappeared into the story instead of prose that sounded like Aesop’s Fables. I dutifully scanned through my manuscript … Continue reading

Posted in The World of Writing, Voice, Technique, & Style

On Writing, How to Break the Rules and get Away With It

One of my pre-New-Year’s Resolutions is to read more books. (I make my resolutions early to get in the habit of doing them by January 1st.) I decided to start by re-reading one of my favorite series, Harry Potter. (Yes, … Continue reading

Posted in Plot & Structure, The World of Writing, Voice, Technique, & Style