Author Archives: RoseannBiederman

Showing vs. Telling in Your Writing

Show, don’t tell. Most writers have heard this maxim at some point, whether from a teacher, an editor or an agent. But what does this writing advice mean, in practical terms? While a certain amount of exposition is unavoidable (and even useful) in your writing, it’s easy to “over-share” the minutiae of your story’s...

Advice for Writers: 7 Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book

  Self-publishing used to be a last resort for aspiring authors unable to break through the traditional publishing fortress. With the help of vanity presses, those writers took matters into their own hands and brought their books to market, for a fee. These days, self-publishing has a newfound respect. The “guilt by association” connection...

How to Find Great Writing Ideas

In the search for story-worthy ideas, most writers are sidelined by occasional bouts of creative myopia. When it sets in—when your field of inspiration narrows—it’s easy to convince yourself that your luck has run out and all the good ideas are taken. But finding exceptional writing ideas isn’t a matter of luck. Waiting passively...

Top 10 Blogging Tips: How to Turn Your Blog Into a Book

If you’d like to quickly amass content for a book—without the pressure of actually having to work on one—consider blogging a book. Blogging is a fast and simple way to generate a body of targeted content and build your platform, which are key components of landing a book deal in today’s competitive marketplace. When...

Interview With Expert Freelancer Kelly James-Enger

Today I’m talking with author and freelancing expert Kelly James-Enger, whose work has appeared in dozens of national magazines, including Redbook, Fitness and Self. James-Enger says that her success as a full-time freelancer isn’t the result of persistence or luck, but of learning the “secrets” of freelancing. You can find all 101 of these...

How to Write Effective Dialogue

Dialogue serves several key functions in your fiction: It reveals your characters’ personalities and beliefs, heightens tension, provides an alternative to lengthy descriptive passages and, most importantly, advances your plot. The key to writing effective dialogue is compression. Dialogue in fiction shouldn’t mimic the “everydayness” of actual speech, with all of its unnecessary details...

How to Edit Your Novel

Completing your novel is a momentous achievement. After months (or years) of hard work and sacrifice, your first impulse might be to start submitting it willy-nilly—time is of the essence, right? In reality, you shouldn’t even think about sending your novel to an agent or publisher (or publishing it yourself) before you’ve put it...

Writing Advice From Famous Irish Authors

In anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it might be fun to tap into the wit and wisdom of a few famous Irish and Anglo-Irish writers. While March 17 seems like a logical time to celebrate all things Irish, Ireland’s contributions to literature are worth noting anytime. From the Middle Ages to the...

How to Start a Book Project

  March seems like a good checkpoint for New Year’s writing goals: Two months into the New Year, you probably have a sense of whether a resolution made in January will become a reality by December. If “start a book” was on your January to-do list, how’s it coming? If you hit the ground...

The Writing Process: Step One

Prewriting. Freewriting. Mind Mapping. Clustering. If you’ve taken a creative writing or English composition class, you’ve likely encountered these terms. They represent an important step in the writing process and, in my view, the easiest and most fun. The gist of prewriting is to let ideas flow directly from your brain to the page,...

How to Find Your Narrative Voice

A strong narrative voice gives your fiction a distinctive flavor and makes it stand out in a slush pile. But many beginning novelists struggle with finding their narrative voice, and some opt out altogether by emulating another writer’s voice. That’s unfortunate, since an original voice always makes other storytelling elements —including characterization, dialogue and...

Expert Tips for Writing Action Scenes

Think “action scene,” and you probably think of the Hollywood version: A character is thrust into high-stakes, physical drama (a gunfight, a daring rescue, a desperate escape) that changes her in some important way, and moves the action forward. Action scenes serve the same function in your fiction, but they need not be over-the-top...

5 Tips for Fearless Writing

Putting ideas out in the world takes courage, so playing it safe with your writing can be an appealing strategy. Faced with limited writing time and abundant competition, you figure out what works, then follow that tried-and-true trajectory—for years, maybe. But if your go-to methods are starting to feel stagnant, and your writing lacks...

The Secret to Writing a Standout Picture Book

As any children’s picture book author will attest, writing for children is not easier than writing for adults. In fact, it’s probably more difficult, and here’s why: The story must appeal to a child and the adult reading it to her (not to mention editors, agents, and publishers). Picture books are short, and a...