Leave Room for the Holy Ghost: Tension in Writing

My PitchWars mentee said something really smart the other day, in passing. Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be teaching her things, but if you do it right, it always goes both ways. The thing she said was about always leaving little moments open in her writing like fanfiction prompts. Because “the key to inspiring fanfic writers is leave them wanting more.” This reminded me of that old saying about “Leave room for the Holy Ghost” at church dances, so the boys and girls don’t get too close to one another. Presumably because boy/girl friction calls up the devil, though in practice we all know that space for the Holy Ghost might as well be magnetized because all it does is make the people on both sides wish really hard that it weren’t there. Which brings me to fanfiction. Fanfiction...
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Let Them Eat Cake: it’s the new Show-Don’t-Tell

Everybody’s heard of show don’t tell, right? That’s so 90s. I say, stop abusing your readers. Let them eat cake! Before you click out of this blog, grumbling, “There goes Michelle, off topic as usual,” think of it this way: what are your readers here for? If you write fiction, as most of my followers do, your readers are here for a good time. A vicarious experience. So why would you short-change them by giving them the literary equivalent of Cliff’s Notes? That’s what you’re doing every time you SUMMARIZE (They sat down and chatted for a while, laughing easily as they got to know each other) or TELL (He was in love with her. More in love than he’d ever been.) When your editor says, “Show don’t tell,” they’re really saying: Give the reader the experience your character is...
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Scholarship for Editing Services

Something really cool happened today. Most of you know I work as a freelance editor as well as an author, a book coach, a biologist, and several other things my mother shouldn’t know about. (Just kidding, Mom, I swear. I have no idea why my bathtub is full of pythons. Maybe it’s a coincidence?) One of my incredible editing clients was happy with an edit I did for her, and she chose to fund a scholarship so another writer who needed help with their manuscript could get it, whether or not it was something they could afford. I think that’s the kindest thing I’ve ever heard. The writing world is hard, and we need to stick together and help each other out. The scholarship covers a first 50 pages assessment of your manuscript. You can read more about it, and...
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