The Active Word Checklist

Hot on the heels of “The Weak Word Checklist”, another great post by K.M. Allan with an “Active Word” checklist. Another one to bookmark for reference when you’re re-writing those drafts.

K.M. Allan

“Keep your prose active.” It’s one of the most well-known pieces of writing advice and one of the most frustrating.

Sometimes when writing, especially when you’re first starting out, you have no idea what words are making your prose non-active. You’re just writing, using the words that sound right.

It’s not until you see the difference creating an active voice makes to your story that you understand why it’s a tried-and-true recommendation. Take the following sentences, for example…

Non-Active: Sarah’s fingers fumbled in her skirt pocket, trying to reach for her cell phone.
Active: Sarah’s fingers fumbled in her skirt pocket for her cell phone.

Non-Active: The fire at the entrance had reached one of the glass doors and was turning it black.
Active: The fire at the entrance reached one of the glass doors, turning it black.

Non-Active: When her gaze crossed the entrance, she couldsee someone standing in the middle…

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Author Interview with Ben Thomas

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Happy Friday!

Thriller and literary author Benjamin Thomas sat down and interviewed me as part of his “Getting to know Authors” series.

We discuss horror & weird fiction, a bit about my writing process and books, and the Toxic Avenger.

You can read the full interview here on Ben’s site. Hope you enjoy it!

So, welcome, thanks for stopping by the virtual hang space. Can you give us a bit of background on you, your work, and the genres you write in?
I’ve been described as a horror, bizarre, and weird fiction author. I like to think my work straddles the line between scary and ridiculous, because while I enjoy traditional horror, I love throwing elements of dark humor and absurdist nonsense into my stories. I’ve been published in a number of anthologies and literary magazines, and my first book DETROIT 2020 that I co-authored, was described in a review as “if Robocop and The Toxic Avenger had a weird baby.”

Thanks to Benjamin Thomas for reaching out to me to do this interview.

Writing Tip: Character Arguments

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Today’s post comes from author and blogger Joanna Wallace. She gives us a great tip on using arguments to explore character depth. You can find more advice and wonderful posts about the writing process on her blog,  Joanna’s Story.

You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter @JoannasStory

First, I’d like to thank Ben for allowing me to guest post on his blog. I hope you find this topic useful, to help create conflict with your characters. This exercise also helps pen dialogue and can add more depth to your story.  How do you achieve this? Make your characters argue.

People fight about anything and everything. It could be love, a disagreement, different viewpoints, what to make for dinner, chores, a life or death scenario, the list goes on.

Whenever I hit a snag, I’ll image my characters arguing. What do they fight for? How do they speak and act? Are they a pushover or do they stand up for what they believe in? This has helped me add plot twists as well.

Even if you’re a writer who likes to outline, create a new page and make them bicker with someone. It may tell you more about the character than you know. You could even speak the dialogue aloud. If you do this in a coffee shop, you may get some strange looks, but that’s what writing is about. Creating emotion and making the reader feel it. They also need to believe it.

Does anyone else use this writing exercise? Let me know what you think.

Thanks again to Ben for letting me post!