Dear Padawan

Ariell likes being called my Fairy Goddaughter far more than she likes being called my Padawan…but “protege” is so passe, isn’t it? I mean, once there’s a car named after it, the word doesn’t quite hold the same oomph.

You might remember Ariell from her fabulous contribution to Kill Brian Keene Day. Since then, I’ve taken her under my wing and given her what I wish I’d had at her age — a fairy godmother who knows a thing or two about writing.

So far, she’s far more prolific than I am (which makes her a GREAT writing partner because I feel shameful if I am not producing SOMETHING). We’ve just finished our first collaboration and I’m very excited about it. (News about that coming shortly.)

While going through her work, I find myself pointing out little bits of wisdom I’ve learned along the way. I thought…why not pass these bits along to other aspiring writers? Some of it is common sense, but all of it is good to keep yourself aware of. I’ll be tagging these posts “Dear Padawan”, so they’re easily searchable.

  • Don’t have two main characters with names that a.) start with the same letter or b.) rhyme. This can confuse the reader.
  • It is not imperative that you describe the skin, eye, and hair color of every character as we meet them.
  • Watch out for crybabies. Nine times out of ten, it makes a stronger scene if the character does not cry.
  • Watch for a proliferation of –ing words (and everything else in passive voice). It separates the reader from the characters.
  • THEN is implied. Use it very sparingly, if at all. The reader knows the order of what is happening, because they’re reading it in the order you wrote it.