how to develop characters for your story

How to Develop Characters for Your Story

I’m a big fan of character-driven stories, meaning I’m a big fan of taking the time to develop characters for your story before plot. If you come up with a plot and then try to make characters fit, it reads as less organic, and you might be shoving characters into spaces that don’t work for …

quick ways to make your writing more concise

Quick Ways to Make Your Writing More Concise

Most of my business students struggle with making their writing more concise because they’re so used to writing in an overcomplicated way. This is either because that’s what they think writing should look like or because they’re used to trying to hit a page count. Complicated and/or ornate language doesn’t automatically make the writing good. …

The Number One to Improve Your Writing (Except Actually Writing)

There are many ways to improve your writing such as practice, starting a writing group, and specific exercises. But there is one way to improve your writing that most people talk about but don’t explain how to properly do. Reading is the best method to improve your writing, but you’re shouldn’t just read passively. By …

1 Thing to Think About Before You Kill a Character

One Thing to Think About Before You Kill a Character

So, I’m sitting in the theater watching Deadpool, and it’s just started. It’s pretty good so far. You know, it’s Deadpool. Violence. Hilarity. Inappropriate jokes. Then, (spoiler alert) they suddenly kill Vanessa, Deadpool’s girlfriend, and the movie immediately loses my favor. I just talked about this idea in my Thanos post, but, apparently, we need …

How to Create a Good Villain: Thanos

How to Create a Good Villain: Thanos

Spoilers ahead! You have been warned. I was beyond excited for Avengers: Infinity War, and it is amazing. Part of what makes Infinity War so good is its villain, Thanos. This entire movie is built around Thanos. The ending even says “Thanos will return” which is chilling and unsettling to viewers. So, let’s talk about …

dialogue tags

Who Said That? – On (Not) Using Dialogue Tags

Have you ever seen a post on Tumblr or Pinterest that says something like “75 words to use instead of ‘said?'” Those posts can be helpful because the general premise is correct. Using “said” over and over is both boring and repetitive. It looks strange on paper. Also, some posts, like this one, can have some really helpful words that indicate emotion like “bellowed.” However, as writers, we should not be afraid of using standard words like “said,” “asked,” and “replied.” There is a reason why those words are the standard. They’re simple, and you can avoid clumsy verbs. You don’t want your work to read like a thesaurus. So, how do we avoid using “said” too much without using awkward words?

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What Academics Can Learn from Business Writing

When I first start working with students, they talk about how difficult it is to make the switch from academic to business writing. And that’s true. It is difficult. It feels like the opposite of what we’ve spent years learning. So, I’m here to say that business writing and academic writing don’t need to be antithetical. In fact, my writing has improved since I began applying business methods to both my academic and creative work.