Author Archives: Jessie

Thinking in Scenes: Crafting Memoir or Fiction

Possibly my least favorite blog posts to read are the ones that go like text messages. When a writer tells me a story through narration, rather than showing me with action and dialogue, I bore quickly. I see some good writers fall back on these techniques, especially when crafting a memoir. (Though plenty of fiction…

Plausibility in fiction and nonfiction: The Relationship Between the Truth and the Facts in Creative Writing

There’s a trick to twisting a story away from reality.  A world must be acceptable to draw people in. Rather than asking a reader to suspend disbelief, the writer must ask for trust. Plausibility in fiction involves three interacting factors: recognizable grounding, a lack of contrivance, and most important, internal consistency. Recognizable Grounding As readers,…

Ain’t It The Truth? Writing Effective Dialect

Mark Twain’s introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn says, in part: “dialects … have not been done in a haphazard fashion… but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.” Here’s a quick excerpt from that book: “Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog…

You Can’t Fit a Penny Whistle in a 3×5 Box: Don’t Fear the Word Count

The first time I came upon a meme with a firm length requirement, I was furious. I had been blowing off word counts for months (years if you count college), but I really wanted to join this particular group’s party.  Finally, I caved in. (To satisfy my oppositional soul, I went UNDER the word count….