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Tip Tuesday #101

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Okay, you know I can't resist telling you to get thee to WriteOnCon today! Yes, our second annual online kidlit conference started this morning and runs through Thursday. You can see the full schedule here. It's completely free, easy to register for, and things are already hopping! Opportunity and knowledge abounds.

But I also have some great tips from Ryann Kerekes who blogs at Novel Addiction. So make sure you open a tab for Ryann's blog and skip over when you're done here. Here are her tips!

1. Put a lampshade on it. This is the tactic of blatantly spelling out an unbelievable or implausible piece of your story so that you call it out and then move on, so your reader doesn’t get unnecessarily hung up on it. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LampshadeHanging

2. If you introduce a gun –it must go off. The concept known as "Chekhov's gun" is where an element is introduced, but its significance does not become apparent until later on in the story. It’s also important to remember that if you are going to take the time to introduce something to your readers, ensure it has a purpose later on and will be followed up on.

3. Kill Your Darlings. The concept of "Kill your darlings" is credited to William Faulkner. “Darlings” can refer to pieces of your writing that you absolutely love. Be careful of these. If you love a certain scene, it may impair your objectivity, and as a writer, you must remember that nothing is safe from revision when needed. “Darlings” can also refer to characters. Again, be objective, don’t be afraid to challenge them, kill off someone, make things tougher on them, etc.



  1. Great tips. I had to learn to kill those darlings the hard way.

  2. I've heard the second one applied to theater, as well, as in, "if there's a gun on the wall in act I, it better go off by act III"

    Now I'm off to apply the third one to the current WIP. Ouch.

  3. Killing your darlings always works...especially if it is the characters! ha!

  4. Good tips! I'm going to read up on the lampshade thing - I want to know how to use that effectively.

    And don't you love how no-one is blogging/reading/commenting? BECAUSE WE'RE ALL AT WRITEONCON!! Woo-hoo!!!

  5. Nice tips. I'm at the kiling my darlings stage right now. :)

    Go WriteOn Con! Having a blast!

  6. Um...okay anonymous' up there (get a life?!?) :D Number two is a GREAT one!!!

  7. Deleted the anonymous spam! They're getting smarter than the Blogger spam bot again. Hum.

    Ryann, thank you again for these tips! I really enjoyed reading up on the first one. I'm not sure I'd heard of it before!