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Category Archives: Rewriting

Wednesdays cover Rewriting posts, or conceptual editing. Currently they are being written by Thomas Beard.

Re: Write – Backstory Exercise

Tweet We’ve been discussing backstory these last few weeks, and we’ll be wrapping it up today. I hope that I’ve shown you how important backstory is and how carefully you need to handle it. We’ll finish today with an exercise that I did with two other writers. You may remember Francesca from the writing sample […]

Backstory: A Case Study (Cline vs. King)

Tweet I’m a picky reader. I’m not shy about it. If I start a book and it doesn’t grab me quickly, I’ll put it down. I don’t know where I get it from ; my dad feels duty bound to finish any book he picks up. Not me. Books need to prove they deserve my […]

Backstory: A Case Study (Koontz)

Tweet Last week I introduced the Biographical Priority Index. It’s the handy-dandy system we can use to rate elements of a character’s backstory based on whether and when to introduce them. Priority 1 information is stuff we need to introduce as soon as practical (note that says practical, not possible; it’s awkward if you force information into […]

Backstory: The Untold Story

Tweet One of my favorite things about being a writing coach is that I get to come up with my own terminology, and I can make it as serious or as frivolous as I like. My unofficial list of rules of writing, which I’ll have to make official one of these days, is called “Thomas’s […]

The Characters in Flux

Tweet There’s a certain amount of method acting to the madness of creating our characters. We have to understand them inside and out, then embrace the actions and dialogue that fit their personalities even if they aren’t what we authors would necessarily want for them. This leads us to the most important aspect of character […]

Re: Write – My Own Excerpt

Tweet There’s a certain amount of power in editing someone else’s work. In that moment, you are the expert. It can, and should, be a much more humbling experience to edit your own. It took me a long time to learn to edit my own work effectively. And I realized a few weeks ago that, […]

The Characters in Orbit

Tweet Last week we talked about what it takes to make a realistic main character. We discussed how to start by making some decisions for him, but then letting him make other decisions for himself. We even went through the character creation process. The end result was Nathan, a 17-year-old boy with OCD who lives […]

The Character in the Middle

Tweet Fatherhood [fah-ther-hood] (n): The delicate balance between making a child into the person he is going to be and letting the child decide who he is going to be. You won’t find that at But as my first child continues to grow and my second child has just announced his/her plans for imminent […]

Internal Monologue

Tweet Last week we discussed point of view. Today we’re going to cover a corollary question: Depending on which point of view you’ve chosen, what is the best way to explore the inner thoughts of your main character(s)? Many of you are probably familiar with internal monologue. It goes kind of like this. Rebekah ducked […]

Re: Write – Francesca’s Excerpt

Tweet What follows is a short excerpt from a story. The author, “Francesca,” generously donated her work to be edited before a live audience (you). At my request, she made no edits to it. She simply typed the words that came into her head and let them be once they were down. I then edited […]