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Column: Ramblings on the Writing Life

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Column: Crafting Fabulous Fiction

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General Fiction

See also:
Mystery Writing · Romance · Science Fiction/Fantasy · Writing for Children

Crafting Fabulous Fiction, by Victoria Grossack

2015 Columns
Setting the Mood
Writing in Pairs
Levels of Structure in Fiction
The End

2014 Columns
Why Don't You Reach the End?
Flesh out Your Writing with Body Language
Map Your Settings
The Greater Logic of Fiction
Some Absurdities in Fiction
The Author-Reader Contract
Pondering Personal Pronouns
Having Fun with Fan Fiction
Writing under the Influence: Inspiration, Plagiarism and Homage
Connect with Conjunctions
Hanging on Cliffs
Developing Deftness in Description
Sensible, Sensitive Sentences
A Story, B Story, Part Two: Challenges of Working with Multiple Plots
A Story, B Story, Part One: Why Use Subplots?
Everybody Lies
Chatting About Chapters
Do You Hear Voices?
Fine-Tuning Your Author's Note
The Reader's Emotional Journey
The Satisfied Reader Experience

Previous Columns

Getting Started: The Fundamentals of Fiction, by Marg Gilks
I: "I've Got an Idea!"
II: Read, Read, Read!
III: Critique Groups and Writers' Groups
IV: Writers Write!
V: Learning How: Courses, Workshops and Tutors
VI: Learning the Lingo
VII: Being Realistic About Your Work
VIII: Finding Markets for Your Fiction
IX: Writing Etiquette
X: Avoid Those Beginners' Blunders

Characters and Viewpoint
Character Tags and Tics - Victoria Grossack
Creating Memorable Characters - Lee Masterson
Creating Villains People Love to Hate - Lee Masterson
Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid "Stepping Out of Character" - Marg Gilks
The Ethics of Tragedy: Plot Victims are People Too! - Paula Fleming
Everybody Lies - Victoria Grossack
Extending Your Character Range: Sex, Age and Other - Victoria Grossack
Finding Your Characters - Mary Cook
Handling a Cast of Thousands I: Getting to Know Your Characters - Will Greenway
Handling a Cast of Thousands II: Your Story as Your Characters (and Readers) See It - Will Greenway
Handling a Cast of Thousands III: Developing the Five-Act Scene - Will Greenway
Headhopping, Authorial Intrusion, and Shocked Expressions - Anne Marble
Mentors in Your Masterpiece - Victoria Grossack
Motivation - Hank Quense
The Mystery of Character - Robert Wilson
My Point of View on Point of View (Part One) - Victoria Grossack
My Point of View on Point of View (Part Two) - Victoria Grossack
Plotting by Personality - Marg McAlister
The Secrets of Characterization - Sigrid Macdonald
A Study in Sidekicks - Victoria Grossack
Viewpoint, Perspective and Time - Will Greenway
We All Need Someone To Love: Creating Characters Readers Will Care About - Victoria Grossack
What Do Your Characters Want? (Part One) - Victoria Grossack
What Do Your Characters Want? (Part Two): How to Use Characters' Goals to Move the Plot - Victoria Grossack
What Type Is Your Character? - Paula Fleming

Character Naming
In the Name of Love... Finding the Right Names for Your Characters - Desmond Lindo
The Name Game - John Robert Marlow
Name That Character! - Anne M. Marble
A Rose by Any Other Name... - Devyani Borade
What's in a Name? - Moira Allen
What's In a Name? - Victoria Grossack

Description and Setting
Arcs of Artifacts
The Art of Description: Eight Tips to Help You Bring Your Settings to Life - Anne M. Marble
Blueprints: Building a Home for Your Characters - Elizabeth Chayne
Developing Deftness in Description - Victoria Grossack
Flesh out Your Writing with Body Language - Victoria Grossack
Four Ways to Bring Settings to Life - Moira Allen
Houses are People Too: The Structure of a Literary Device - Geoff Hart
Location, Location, Location! - Jim C. Hines
Map Your Settings - Victoria Grossack
Setting the Mood - Victoria Grossack
Visualization Exercises for Writers - Holly Lisle

Creating Dynamic Dialogue - Will Greenway
Dialogue in Speculative Fiction - Paula Fleming
I Love You, My Little Cabbage: Using Foreign Words in Your Fiction - Cora Bresciano
Interjections and Profanity - Victoria Grossack
It's Not What They Say... - Mary Cook
Off with the Talking Heads! - Marg Gilks
Punctuating Dialogue - Marg Gilks
Slang and How to Sling It - Randall Platt
The Use and Abuse of Dialogue Tags - Anne Marble
What Are They Thinking? Portraying Your Characters' Thoughts - Victoria Grossack
What Should They Talk About? - Victoria Grossack
Who Speaks? Pointers about Attribution in Dialogue - Victoria Grossack
Writing Romantic Dialogue - Anne Marble

Story Structure
A Story, B Story, Part One: Why Use Subplots? - Victoria Grossack
A Story, B Story, Part Two: Challenges of Working with Multiple Plots - Victoria Grossack
Chatting About Chapters - Victoria Grossack
Components of a Good Opening Scene - Joseph Bates
Dynamic Beginnings: Getting Your Story Off to a Great Start - Will Greenway
The End - Victoria Grossack
Evaluating a Novel's Plot and Scenes - Frances Beckham
Five Fiction Mistakes that Can Spell Rejection - Moira Allen
From Beginning to End, A Fiction Format to Your Next Sale, by Shaunna Privratsky
How Long Should Your Story Be? - Lee Masterson
Keeping Your Story On Track with Style Sheets - Marg Gilks
Plotting Your Novel - Lee Masterson
Plunge Right In... Into Your Story, That Is! - Rekha Ambardar
Stories Within Stories - Victoria Grossack
Where to Begin? When, Where and How to Write a Prologue - Lital Talmor

Outlines and Synopses
To Outline or Not to Outline - Tim Hallinan
Why Do I Need an Outline? - Cheryl Sloan Wray
Your Story Outline: What It's All About - Rekha Ambardar

Choosing a Title
Choosing the Right Name for Your Story - John Floyd
Seduce Your Reader with the Perfect Title! - Anne M. Marble
Titles for Your Texts
Titles Sell Books! - Judy Cullins

Writing a Series
Lynn Flewelling: Writing the World of the Series - Moira Allen
Planning the Series Novel - Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson
The Stuff Series Are Made Of - Karen Wiesner
The Writer's Marathon: Seven Challenges to a Successful Series - Victoria Grossack

Flash Fiction
The Flash Fiction Market - C.M. Saunders
Flash What? A Quick Look at Flash Fiction - Jason Gurley
Flashes of Brilliance: Writing Flash Fiction - Joan Popek
Flashes on the Meridian: Dazzled by Flash Fiction - Pamelyn Casto

Across the Genres...
Absurdities in Fiction - Victoria Grossack
Mixing It Up: Writing Across Genres - Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz
What Is Literary Fiction? Literary Editors Share Their Views - Moira Allen
Writing Experimental Fiction: Leaving the Problem Out of the Plot - Tantra Bensko

Research Tips/Facts in Fiction
Accuracy in Fiction, Part I: Does Accuracy Matter? - Moira Allen
Accuracy in Fiction, Part II: Accuracy... It's Not Just for Nonfiction Anymore! - Moira Allen
Facts in Fiction - Victoria Grossack
Historical Research for Fiction Writers - Catherine Lundoff
Look before You Write: Applying the Lessons of the Visual Arts - Paula Fleming
Partly Cloudy, Scattered Showers: Setting the Scene with Weather - Larissa Ione
"Prove" Your Story with Evidence - Sue Fagalde Lick
A Research Primer for Historical Fiction Writers - Erika Dreifus
Write What You Don't Know Know - Sean McLachlan
Write What You Know -- Because You Know More than You Think! - Marg Gilks

More Fiction Tips
25 Unique Places to Find Story Ideas - Michelle Giles
The Author-Reader Contract - Victoria Grossack
Becoming a Fiction Aficionado, by Shaunna Privratsky
The Case for Intriguing Eccentricity in Fiction - Philip Martin
Conflict - Victoria Grossack
Do You Hear Voices? - Victoria Grossack
The Greater Logic of Fiction - Victoria Grossack
Hanging on Cliffs - Victoria Grossack
Having Fun with Fan Fiction - Victoria Grossack
Lateral Thinking - Ahmed A. Khan
Mindplay - Peggy Bechko
The One Rule... - Moira Allen
The Order of Things - Victoria Grossack
Prayers, Promises and Prophecies - Victoria Grossack
Raising the Stakes - Victoria Grossack
Satisfaction Through Frustration - Victoria Grossack
Scenes Grown in the Valley of Despair - Victoria Grossack
Stuck in the Middle of Your Story? Try Prompts! - Alina Sandor
Tell, Don't Show - Victoria Grossack
The Top Ten Mistakes New Fiction Authors Make - Sally Zigmond
What, Where, When and Why - Marg Gilks
Why Doesn't the Dog Bark? - Victoria Grossack

Nuts, Bolts and Skill-Building
How to Get - and Take - Criticism - Victoria Grossack
Is an MFA Program Right for You? - Amy White
Nine Anti-Muses and How to Placate Them - Victoria Grossack
Processing Feedback - Joni B. Cole
TV Watching Does Not Waste Writers' Time - Noelle Sterne

Publishing and Business Issues
Can I Make a Living as a Novelist? - Marilyn Henderson
Double Vision: The Secret to Forming a Successful Co-authorship - Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson
Fine-Tuning Your Author's Note
Getting Past the Gatekeepers: Submitting to Literary Journals - Jocelyn Kerr
How to Write a Novel Synopsis - Marg Gilks
The Midlisters: Backbone of the Publishing Industry - Sean McLachlan
Research, Track and Conquer: How to Research Short Fiction Markets, Track Submissions, and Ultimately Get Published - Joseph Thomas
Small Press Magazines: Should You Bother? - Bruce Boston
Yes, You Can Make Money Writing Fiction - Patricia Fry

Victorian Advice for Modern Writers
Here are some great tips "From an Editor's Wife" that are just as true today as when they were written in 1881! Excerpted from The Girl's Own Paper.
Literary Work for Girls
How to Write a Story
For more Victoriana, visit Moira Allen's new website, Mostly-Victorian.com.

For more information, check our links to:
Children's Writing Resources · Character Naming Resources · Horror Writing · Mystery Writing · Romance · SF/Fantasy ·

Recommended Reading

Writer's Market

Novel & Short Story Writers' Market

Guide to Literary Agents

Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests

Beginnings, Middles and Ends

Characters and Viewpoint

Creating Short Fiction

Get that Novel Written!

How to Write a Damn Good Novel

How To Write Your Best Story - Advice for Writers on Spinning an Enchanting Tale

On Writing (Stephen King)

Plot and Structure

Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing

Creating the Story : Guides for Writers

From First Draft To Finished Novel: A Writer's Guide To Cohesive Story Building


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