Emily Carr, Director of Oregon State University-Cascade's Low Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
• Keep it simple
• End on a cliffhanger
• Make the most of the title
• Use details that show
• Whenever possible, present tense
• Speed it up with short sentences
Mary Heather Noble, Programs Director, The Nature of Words
• Use unexpected details when describing scene and character. And remember that setting and gesture can say a lot about characters and the dynamic between them.
• Tension is what drives the story. A story without tension is like a car without gas. One of my mentors has said, "Asking a reader to invest their time in your story is like asking them to get in a boat with you and paddle to the other side of the lake. You need to convince the reader that it's going to be exciting & interesting enough to be worth their time, and that you'll be a good guide."
• Scenes are almost always more effective than summary. Then the reader can see for themself, and come to his/her own conclusion about how the characters feel.
• Eliminate all unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Adverbs are bad.
• Avoid sentimentality.
• Never use dialogue to convey information, or it won't sound natural. And don't use dialect unless you are really skilled at it.