Nanowrimo Writing Lite Video Tip #2 — Beginnings

Welcome to WRITING LITE #2. I’m still talking about suspense, but this time I’m starting at the beginning. I talk about the power of that first line, how to approach it, and give you some of my all-time favorite examples. It is a little longer than I anticipated (at three and a half minutes) but … Read more

Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #11 — Language and Pace

Let’s explore language, with an emphasis on pacing. Sometimes you want longer sentences. Sometimes you want crisp short ones. One of my favorite passages that shows the variety of pacing is from Raymond Chandler. He’s talking about a bar opening for the evening. Listen in. And yes, you can have a glass of wine. 

Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #1

Hi, all. In honor of National Novel Writing Month, I decided to repost my Writing Lite video series. I hope you find them useful, even if you’re not participating. There are twelve videos, and none are over four minutes– most are under three. I’ll try to post a few each week so you have them all … Read more

Writing Lite Tip #33: Chapter Titles Aren’t Necessary

Writing Lite Tip #33

I am actually in awe of writers who title their chapters. I’m not sure why they do it. Or how. Writing a novel is hard enough. Why add to the hardship? Especially if your chapters are James Patterson-short, and you end up with more than 100. Numbers are just fine. And you can use numerals, … Read more

Writing Lite Tip 32: Write new material for 45 uninterrupted minutes a day

Writing Lite Tip 32 - Libby Hellmann

If you, like me, are a “reluctant” writer (one who can find a million things to do instead of writing), I have a suggestion. Set a timer for 45 minutes, and during that time, write new material. Don’t edit, don’t revise, don’t even go back over your material. And don’t answer emails, check your book … Read more

Writing Lite Tip #31: Annie Lamott and Sh*tty First Drafts

    The first book about writing I ever read was Bird by Bird, and it just might be the most valuable. I particularly love Lamott’s discussion about “Shitty First Drafts.” You see, I am one of those writers who hates to write. Who always thinks she is unequal to the task. Who always second-guesses … Read more

Writing Lite Tip 30: “Said” is about the only dialogue tag you’ll ever need

Writing Lite Tip 30: "Said" is about the only dialogue tag you'll ever need.

  OK. I’m lying. You can also use “asked.” But anything else calls attention to itself and indicates you don’t have enough confidence in the dialogue without adding a declaration of how someone spoke. If your dialogue is clear and strong, you will rarely need anything beyond “said” or “asked.”

Writing Lite Tip 24: Figure out why good people do bad things

Figure out why good people do bad things.

Never forget that a villain is a hero in his own eyes. He believes he is totally justified in what he’s doing. As the author, you need to find that justification. The dysfunctional childhood is an overworked trope, but I’m sure you can come up with a LOT more reasons why good people do bad … Read more