Tag Archives: writing tools

Worldbuilding for Realistic Fiction

I am proud to admit I write in many genres. I’ve been known to write light-hearted fantasy, speculative/science fiction, lite horror, a little supernatural, period realistic fiction, and contemporary fiction. People seem surprised when I say I use worldbuilding techniques on ALL of these genres. The last two are the ones that get raised eyebrows. Yes, I worldbuild for realistic fiction. No, it is not “doing research” exclusively. Every fictional world operates on core structures, and these are psychological constructs

Creative Writing Tools: Maps

Maps support a story. This doesn’t necessarily mean providing readers with a map of your world will make it better, but maps are a powerful tool for consistency and inspiration during the writing and revision process. Fantasy writers often aspire to see their works in hard cover with a fold-out color map detailing the locations on the written page. That’s something wonderful to have, though that’s not what we’re addressing here. Maps are tools for orientation. They exist to allow

5 Questions for Tackling Big Issues

“Write about something you feel strongly about.” “Write about what disturbs you.” “Don’t shy away from writing something difficult.” This common piece of advice appears phrased dozens of ways. The first time I heard it was from a middle school English teacher in his instructions for a poetry writing assignment. I heard it a lot in college writing classes, especially for persuasive essays. When I heard it from my creative writing professor, it came from a writer who was also a

Writing Wide Description: The Art of Zooming In

The golden ratio (see our introductory post: Writing with the Golden Ratio) is a geometric ratio that creates a positive reaction from people, especially in art and music. While this mathematic guide can be created artificially in a computer program, and occurs naturally in plants and animals, its application in storytelling operates with more subtlety. Numbers play less of a role as the impression of the ratio. This sounds awfully vague, so we’ll work on description to demonstrate. You’ll notice we

Setting and “Show Don’t Tell”

Setting, the most description-heavy part of a story, benefits from the classic advice, “Show Don’t Tell”. We’ll be addressing this advice from a few different angles in other posts, but in this one it feels right to start with the well-worn opener, “It was a dark and stormy night…” We love Snoopy and the Peanuts writing comics. They ring true in many ways. Let’s just jump in with his constant opener and how much he tells and doesn’t show. Descriptors vs.

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