Specificity as a necessity in queries

Posted in for writers, Writing
Being specific in queries will raise the stakes

I’ve had a chance to critique a lot of queries of late. One problem I consistently see is vague-ery–writers being unclear and mystical about events in the story. No doubt it’s an attempt to either cut the word count or not reveal too much about the story.

But it don’t work.

Let’s look at an example.

“After Micki learns a dark secret, she must forget her grief about her father’s death before the next major crisis.”


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Onward and upward! Forward momentum in writing.

Posted in for writers, Writing
Forward momentum in writing keeps stories from becoming boring

Let’s imagine you’re kinda crazy. You enter an airport, blindfolded, grope toward a ticket counter, and tell the cashier to give you the next flight, but ask them not to tell you where you’re going!

After all, you want to be surprised 🙂

Where you gonna end up? Jamaica? Wyoming? Delaware? France? The moon?

Aren’t you excited already? That anticipation is killing me! Read more »

Dialogue rules (just cuz sometimes you need a review)

Posted in for writers, Writing

I’ve seen a lotta dialogue errors as I’ve been critiquing in scribophile. I think most people know them implicitly, but it doesn’t hurt to lay them out there. Sooooooo…..

here it goes!

Dialogue that precedes or follows a beat (a character action) is attributed to that writer. Example

“I hate you!” Donald threw a chair.

Mary folded her arms. “So why did you marry me?”

[so far it’s clear]

Donald rushed toward Mary. She lifted her hands. “Okay!”

[not clear because there’s two beats from two different people.]


Dialogue in its own paragraph should have a tag, unless a pattern has been established. Example

“It appears it shall rain today,” Gruff said.

“Aye, it shall,” said Tom.

“You suppose we’ll see lightning?”


“How’s that wife of yours?”

[it’s okay to drop the tags because the pattern has been established. Now for a bad example.]

Timothy gazed at the horizon. Malory approached, taking a seat next to him.

“Nice night.”

The sun drooped over the mountains….

[confusing because it could have been Timothy or Malory].


Hope this helps!