Quick-Tip Tuesday: Realistic Expectations (and a Little Math)

In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about writing on a daily basis. I basically said that while no one should tell you that you have to do this in order to be successful, writing every day, despite life’s intrusions, is what professionals do. It is also the best way to build skills. For reasons I’ll get into soon, I hate the phrase “practice makes perfect.” But practice certainly does make proficient.

Still, while I recommend writing each day, that’s only half the story. No matter how often we write, or for how long, we need to set realistic expectations for ourselves. Because if we write every day, but we expect too much out of those writing sessions, we can do more damage than good.

I’ve said this before and I will continue to say it until people stop listening (you are listening, right?): writing is […]

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Quick Tip Tuesday: A Challenge to All — Time to Take the Plunge!

How many of you have complete manuscripts that you have yet to send out for publication? A lot of you, I’d wager. For some of you it might be a novel that you’ve finished but want to revise one more time. Or maybe two more times . . . For others it might be a short story, or several. All of them are finished, but none of them feels quite ready. You can’t imagine showing them to an editor, at least not yet. One more pass. Just a little more revising and polishing.

And you may be right. The works in question might need a bit more work. Or they might not. For all you know, they’re ready now. For all you know, the only thing standing between you and that first sale, is your reluctance to let go of your work.

I see this a lot with aspiring writers. […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Do Not Fear the Scoop!

Welcome to another Quick-Tip Tuesday!

It’s not always easy to come up with a new topic for these posts. We’ve been over a lot of material here at MW throughout the years. I know that on my own I’ve written over 300 MW posts; all told we’re coming up on two thousand for the site. It sometimes seems that there is nothing new I could possibly publish in this space that wouldn’t repeat in some way material you can find in an archived post.

But of course, if one of those older articles was written by Faith, Misty, John, or someone else, then I might have some perspective on the subject matter that they didn’t. And even if it’s an issue that I covered myself, it may be that subsequent experience has changed my approach or given me fresh insights.

In short, just because a subject has been discussed before, […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday Announcement (On Sunday)

Hi, all.

I’m very happy to announce that I will be joined on Quick-Tip Tuesdays by award-winning, critically acclaimed author Rod Belcher.

Rod is not only a good friend, he’s also a great guy and a phenomenal writer who has made guest appearances here before. Author of The Six-Gun Tarot, The Shotgun Arcana, Nightwise, and his latest, The Brotherhood of the Wheel, Rod has a lot to offer to the MW community. He’ll be starting this Tuesday, and then he and I will be alternating week to week.

I hope you’ll give him a warm welcome.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Quick-Tip Tuesday: Finding Balance Between Plotting and Pantsing

Whether to outline or whether to just write the story — put another way, to plot or to pants.

This is an ongoing discussion among writers, one that we’ve discussed here in the past. It’s actually more relevant for me right now than you might know. I’m well into a novel — I’ve written more than 100,000 words on it already — that I did NOT outline. And now I find myself struggling with the plotting as the book approaches its climax.

So, I must be about to give you a sermon on the virtues of plotting and the evils of pantsing, right?

Well, not entirely. The truth is, while I’m scuffling a bit right now, writing the novel has been fun. Because I haven’t been working from an outline, the discovery of each new plot point has come as something of an epiphany. I’ve been experiencing the story as […]

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Introducing Quick Tip Tuesdays!

Happy New Year, Magical Words! Great to see you all again.

I’m pleased to say that I am back at MW as a regular. I’ll be here most weeks with a new feature I’m calling “Quick-Tip Tuesdays.” Each week I’ll put up a quick writing tip on some subject relating to the craft of writing. I’ll be covering character, point of view, setting, world building, prose, pacing, and a host of other topics — nothing is off the table. And, as always, I’ll look forward to your comments and questions; we’ll begin each week with a quick tip, but as with all MW posts, the subsequent discussion will expand and elucidate. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I expect I’ll enjoy writing them.

For today’s quick tip, I’m going to offer a bit of writing advice on . . . writing advice.

Writing, like any artistic […]

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