Monday, August 31, 2015

Sam York

Sam York, Try-hard
Here's another concept photo for my Dark Z Force novel. Created this in Photoshop CC. This is Sam York aka Sam Skinny. That's an Aztec club in his hand, once used by the jaguar warriors. Notice the shadow in the background?

Okay, that's done. Still have Atlas' photo to do. And I have to finish that article if I'm ever gonna get any readers for this blog. Come on, Matty. Step it up!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trap: Simultaneous Actions

This is related to dangling modifiers. The sentence construction is often similar.

Grabbing his backpack from the table, he strolled down the road enjoying the sunshine. 

Very long arms?

Taking a swig of his coffee, he carried on with his knitting.

Three hands?

To fix simultaneous actions, make sure your characters are doing one thing at a time, in logical sequence:

He grabbed his back pack from the table, then strolled down the road enjoying the sunshine.

After taking a swig of his coffee, he carried on with his knitting.


Trap: Dangling Modifiers

A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a word that is not in the sentence, or modifies a word other than the one it intends. Examples in red.

Sipping wine on the terrace, the moon looked almost full.

The moon was sipping wine on the terrace?

Walking up the drive, the castle  came into view.

The castle was walking up the drive?

Pondering what she had said, his fingers twanged her bra strap.

Thoughtful fingers?

To resolve dangling modifiers, make sure the word you intend to be modified is in the sentence:

As they sipped wine on the terrace, the moon looked almost full.

She walked up the drive. The castle came into view.

Pondering what she had said, he twanged her bra strap.

Trap: Independent Body Part Syndrome

This is when we see body parts apparently acting independently of their owners:

His hand reached out to stroke her hair.

His foot kicked her ankle.

Unless you specifically mean to indicate that the character’s hand, foot, or other body part is acting without his conscious volition, it is preferable to write:

He reached out to stroke her hair


He stroked her hair – in many cases his reaching out will go without saying.

He kicked her ankle.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jen Lee and Ieva

Here are two characters from my novel-in-progress, Dark Z Force. I created these in Photoshop CC.

Jen Lee, Sorceress Gunslinger
Ieva, inFamite Monster

The hunter and the hunted.

I'll make artwork of the guys too.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Trap: Filtering

Filtering is when you describe a character’s thought processes and experiences rather than allowing the reader to experience them.

A filtered scene might read:

Turning, she noticed a handsome vampire standing in the shadows. It seemed to her the expression on his face was disdainful and cold.

An unfiltered version of the same scene would read:

She turned. A handsome vampire was standing in the shadows, the expression on his face disdainful and cold.

In the first passage, the reader is watching the character as the character watches the vampire. In the second, the reader is watching the vampire with the character – this gives it more immediacy and impact.

Words and phrases that often indicate a scene or passage is filtered include:

She noticed...
He saw...
She felt...
He tasted...
She heard...
He remembered...
She looked...
It seemed to her…

Synonyms for those words are filters too. Glanced, watched, recalled… The list is endless. Be sure to watch out for synonym phrases too. "He thought back to" is the same as "He remembered." Strike out the filters and simply describe the action.

Remember: we should be in the POV character's head, seeing the world through their eyes. Not standing beside them, watching what they do.


I'm an editor and a writer. Every few days I'll post on how to avoid writing traps, which are common mistakes that even experienced authors are prone to make.

You can see what I'm working on by viewing the "Working Fables" tab. In my spare time I like to create photoshop artwork of my characters. You can see them there.

I also write listicles (list articles). Check them out in the tabs above. I usually write lists to organize my research for novels. When I'm finished a list I submit it for publication, usually to Listverse, or I'll post it here. Lists in progress can also be viewed under the "Working Fables" tab.

I'll also edit the first 250-1000 words of your manuscript for FREE if you allow me to post it on this blog for educational purposes. This offer applies to anyone who visits the blog — you don't have to be a paying client.

Thanks for coming!