Archive for the ‘WRITING STYLE’ Category

It seemed as if the very whiff of masculinity, the smell of tobacco smoke, or a bachelor’s joke, would spark off this feverish femininity and entice it to a lascivious virgin birth. -Bruno Schulz, “The Street of Crocodiles” I ran barefoot to the window. The sky was swept lengthwise by the gusts of the wind. […]


Today I’m just going to present 4 quick examples of a device you can use to delight your reader. I’m sure there’s some kind of classical rhetorical term for this, but I don’t know it. I just call it a sentence with parallel structures: a sentence where a statement is made, then repeated with the […]


The rules of timekeeping are supposed to be simple in fiction. Choose a tense when you start writing, and stick to that tense throughout — whether it’s past, present, or (god help us) future. Sometimes, though, cutting to the present tense in your past tense story can create some unusual & noteworthy effects.Today at SpecTechnique […]


Flip the Story

14Mar12

Yesterday at SpecTechnique we looked at cases when a cliche is deformed or expanded. When you’re going into a deformed cliche, you think you’ve seen this line before. Then when the cliche flips around on you, you’re taken by surprise. This is a technique writers can use to breach their readers’ defenses. Today we’re leaving […]


A quick entry today…. And from the Stygian abyss of the past, dear reader, I bring an evangelical gospel of good news, nothing less than a divine commandment…. Receive this blog post as an omen!!! Because today at SpecTechnique we’re looking at deforming cliches, and how to bend ‘em back into shapes that are fresh […]


Hello SpecTechnique readers. Today I’ve got a short but hopefully interesting entry about what I like to call evacuated descriptions. One of the most frequent notes I got when I started out writing was that my verbs were weak & wimpy. I preferred “was running” to “ran”; “was defeated” to “lost.” My verbs weren’t sufficiently active […]


Happy Monday, dear SpecTechnique readers. One of the reasons I enjoy reading 19th century novels (just like I enjoy reading old-school SF like E.E. “Doc” Smith & A.E. Van Vogt) is that I like seeing devices that have now fallen out of fashion. Because after that, I can try out ways to make ‘em new […]