Writing Tips

I'm a Moderator on Writing.Com and an editor of their Horror Newsletter.  My newsletters go out to 1000 subscribers a month. Since 2011, I've been giving monthly advice on writing and examples of how to improve prose.

The craft tips and rules I discuss can be applied across all genres and all writing, not just horror.

Writing Craft:
Holiday Horror - Juxtaposition (12/27/'11) ~ How to use juxtaposition to make a story or novel more interesting, more entertaining, and more dramatic.
A Horror of Adjectives (1/25/'12) ~ This newsletter is about the use of adjectives, how to eliminate ones that confuse readers, and choose the right ones to make your images memorable. 
Love and Horror (2/21/'12) ~ This newsletter reveals the forerunners of the Horror genre and how inserting a love-interest can affect the stakes of a story or novel.
Setting Pt 1 (3/21/'12) ~ How to pick settings for your Horror stories. It's the first of two parts, and the second part will be about creating Atmosphere within your settings.
Setting Pt 2: Atmosphere (4/18/'12) ~ How to use atmosphere and word choice to add the right mood to your settings.
Fixing Clichés (5/16/'12) ~ How to recognize clichés and how to fix them or weed them out of your writing.
Backstory Kills (9/12/'12) ~ How to keep the action going while inserting backstory, facts, and details in the narrative. 
Evil Pronouns (7/17/'13) ~ Fixing annoying pronoun problems.
The Shadow Knows (10/9/'13) ~ How to use foreshadowing.
Beware Filter Words: The Distant Lens (3/26/'14) ~ How to spot and eliminate filter words.
Fire Those Lazy Words (4/23/'14) ~ How to spot and eliminate "lazy" words.
WANTED: AUTHOR VOICE (5/21/'14) ~ What is "voice" and how do you get it?
WANTED: CHARACTER VOICE (6/18/'14) ~ What Character Voice is and how to make sure your characters have distinct ones.
Strange Details (7/16/'14) ~ How to use strange details to keep your readers riveted.
Hordes, Mobs & Crowds (9/10/'14) ~ How to write crowd scenes.
The Rule of Three (11/5/'14) ~ Defines the Rule of Three and gives examples of how to use it.
Similes--Are Yours Good or Bad? (7/15/'15) ~ How to make sure you’re writing good similes.
HOW TO GET AN AGENT (8/12/'15) ~ The secret to how three-quarters of my writing group got agents.
Verbs Drive Your Story (10/7/'15) ~ How to improve "Active" verbs by using "Action" verbs to make your story riveting to readers.

Hooks, Openings, and Cliffhangers:
The Hook (6/20/'12) ~ Hooking the reader from the first page and examples of great first lines.
Opening Pages (4/22/'15) ~ This newsletter is about the importance of opening pages.
6 Types of Cliffhangers (9/10/'15) ~ How to write scene-ending cliffhangers filled with tension.

Villains, Monsters, and Psychos (7/8/'12) ~ How to write villains that will scare your readers.
Motion and Emotion (2/27/'13) ~ Using emotion to keep readers glued to your stories.
Conflict Makes Great Characters (4/24/'13) ~ This newsletter is about using conflict to make characters jump off the page.
Killing Characters (6/18/'13) ~ How to bring characters to life -- before killing them off!
Bad to the Bone (2/26/'14) ~ How to write an anti-hero.
The Importance of Failure (1/28/'15) ~ The importance of letting your character fail before he succeeds.
Naming Characters (6/17/'15) ~ Tips on how to name your characters and helpful naming links.
Are Your Characters Boring? (11/4/'15) ~ How to describe characters to make them memorable.

Writing Suspense:
Tick, tick, tick (8/15/'12) ~ Creating urgency and suspense in your stories.
Make It Scarier (8/14/'13) ~ How to burden your characters, making it scarier for them and the readers.
Iceberg! (10/7/'14) ~ How to use twists and reveals to make your writing more exciting.
Escalate Like Gamers (12/3/'14) ~ How to escalate the tension in your writing like game designers do.
Showing Fear (12/31/'14) ~ Tips about conveying tension and fear to the reader.
Fear the Unseen (2/25/'15) ~ The reader's imagination can be a more powerful tool than description.

The "Big Picture":
Horror: Chaos vs Realism (11/28/'12) ~ Keeping coincidences out of your stories.
Devil's Advocate (9/11/'13) ~ How to approach revisions.

Your Next Great Story Idea (10/3/'12) ~ How to find your next great story idea.
Horror Sub-Genres and Tropes (10/10/'12) ~ A list of Horror styles and the typical tropes found in them. 
Happy Halloween 2012! (10/31/'12) ~ Halloween history and some fun facts.
Christmas Cheer and Fear (12/26/'12) ~ Combining Horror and Christmas, including realistic motivation. 
Writing Horror for Kids (1/23/'13) ~ How to write Horror for children.
Scary Folktales (3/27/'13) ~ Using legends and folklore to inspire your writing.
Monster Maker (5/22/'13) ~ Creating unusual and original monsters.
Secrets of Psychological Horror (11/6/'13) ~ How to write psychological horror.
Publishing Horror (12/4/'13) ~ How to get your short stories published.
Suffering Defeat (12/31/'13) ~ Don't feel bad about rejections; huge bestsellers were originally rejected.
Your Worst Enemy (1/29/'14) ~ How to defeat your own worst enemy.
Men vs Women (3/25/'15) ~ Who writes speculative fiction better - men or women?
What Readers See (4/22/'15) ~ This newsletter is about attracting readers with your cover image.

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