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Your Opening Is Weak

Friday, November 13, 2015
By Phil Elmore
Your Opening Is Weak

“Always grab the reader by the throat in the first paragraph,” said Paul O’Neill, “send your thumbs into his windpipe in the second, and hold him against the wall until the tagline.” It’s some of the best advice you’ll get when it comes to opening a novel. If your opening lines don’t grab the... »

You’re Not A Big Enough Thief: Writing Characters and Dialogue

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
By Phil Elmore

Characters are something I’ve always done well or, if not well, then easily. What I mean is that some authors spend a lot of time agonizing over both characters and character names. ┬áIf you have trouble with either, there’s a simple answer to the... »

Word Count and Writers’ Conceit

Thursday, October 29, 2015
By Phil Elmore

If you know a writer who proudly tells you all about the massive word count of his latest creation, you are talking to an amateur. Words, in and of themselves, are not valuable. They only matter when A) you are being paid by the... »


Your Special Little Friend, Profanity

Monday, October 26, 2015
By Phil Elmore
Your Special Little Friend, Profanity

How often should you swear? How often should your characters swear? Even among earnest authors telling serious stories, this can be perplexing. If you never use profanity, you may... »

Stop Giving Bad Writing Advice

Thursday, October 22, 2015
By Phil Elmore

One of the regrettable side effects of a world in which anyone can publish any garbage straight to Amazon is the proliferation of “indie” authors. Now, mind you, I... »

No, You Won’t Be Suing Anybody

Monday, October 19, 2015
By Phil Elmore

Writers all hate each other. We’re all jealous of one another’s success and we’re all quietly convinced that another man’s paycheck comes at our expense. For most writers, there’s... »