Writing Excuses 16.30: First Page Fundamentals: The Haunting of Hill House From https://writingexcuses.com/2021/07/25/first-page-fundamentals-the-haunting-of-hill-house/ Key points: Voice! Sanity and dreams. The main character is the house. Two main ways to start a novel, action-driven and voice-driven. For voice-driven, the narrator ruminates on an important idea, something that gives urgency and stakes. Pay attention to punctuation, to … Continue reading 16.30


Writing Excuses 15.40: Researching for Writing the Other From https://writingexcuses.com/2020/10/04/15-40-researching-for-writing-the-other/ Key Points: Start with your community library. Triangulate between texts and sensory experiences like ethnic festivals. Look for seminal textbooks, and at the bibliographies. Watch for biases! Sit down and talk to people, talk to scholars, too! Universities, art galleries, etc. have events. Go, listen, … Continue reading 15.40


Writing Excuses 14.11: Magic without Rules From https://writingexcuses.com/2019/03/17/14-11-magic-without-rules/ Key Points: Magic without rules, soft magic, numinous magic — what does it mean for the reader and the story? At least the characters don’t know the rules. Mysterious, scary, we don’t know what will happen! Sometimes it isn’t important to understand the rules. The story is … Continue reading 14.11


Writing Excuses 12.31: What Makes a Good Monster, with Courtney Alameda From https://writingexcuses.com/2017/07/30/12-31-what-makes-a-good-monster-with-courtney-alameda/ Key Points: The best monsters subvert the status quo and remind us that we are not the top of the food chain. Frightening means posing a threat to the protagonist or that culture. Some monsters are people, too. Subverting expectations. Monsters also … Continue reading 12.31


Writing Excuses 12.1: Variations on First Person From https://writingexcuses.com/2017/01/01/12-1-variations-on-first-person/ Key points:  First Person variations! (1) Epistolary, letters and journals, in-universe artifacts. (2) Reflective narrator, there I was, surrounded by… the storyteller over the fire. (3) First person immediate, I’m talking to you! Often present tense, lots of YA. Will I survive? Keep reading and find … Continue reading 12.1


Writing Excuses 11.35: Elemental Humor Q&A with Victoria Schwab From https://writingexcuses.com/2016/08/28/11-35-elemental-humor-qa-with-victoria-schwab/ Q&A Summary: Q: How do you add humor to a serious story without breaking the mood or how do you inject humor into a dramatic scene without breaking the building tension? A: Humor can be a good pressure valve, to deflate just a bit. … Continue reading 11.35


Writing Excuses 11.21: Q&A on Elemental Horror, With Steve Diamond From https://writingexcuses.com/2016/05/22/11-21-qa-on-elemental-horror-with-steve-diamond/ Q&A Summary: Q: If I want to make something ordinary, like peanut butter, terrifying without coming off as silly, how do I do that? A: Start with the character’s reaction. Then look at specific words you are using. When familiar things start acting … Continue reading 11.21