Critique Technique, Part 42—The Dreaded Expository Lump

A good reminder while I’m editing…Chopping this out at the moment with a bit of a heavy hand!


Old car stuck in the mud photo credit: Toronto History via photopincc

Ah, the dreaded expository lump, that moldering mass of minutiae, that exhausting example of authorial excreta, that soggy swamp of supercilious sentences that sends the reader straight into the Slough of Despond. (Yeesh, enough with the purple prose.)

You know what the expository lump is, of course: that paragraph or page—or worse yet, pages—in which the author stops the story to tell you everything he knows about a particular character, setting, situation, etc. His intent is good—there are things the reader needs to know—but not all of them, not right now. And not all at once.

Unfortunately, this lump, also known as an info- or data-dump, isn’t the exclusive province of the novice writer. We all risk writing it. As we get better, perhaps our lumps and dumps are shorter and a little less obvious: a sentence or two, rather than a paragraph…

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The ‘how to’s’ of world-building

Great world building advice 🙂

Richie Billing

If you’d like more writing tips you can get my eBook, This Craft We Call Writing: Volume One, for free by completing the form below. Inside you’ll find over 150 pages covering everything from dialogue, characterisation, prose and plotting, to writing fight scenes, viewpoint, and much more!

“I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure. Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

We read stories to become lost in new and unexplored worlds, ones filled with possibilities, mysteries, and oddities.  The world in which a story is set is important to any tale, particularly so when it comes to science fiction and fantasy.

This post will first explore the how to’s of world-building, and then the how to’s of revealing your crafted world through the story.

How do…

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How to Sharpen the First Sentence in Every Chapter

Great writing tips 🙂

A Writer's Path


by Carolyn Dennis-Willingham


We all know that the first sentence or two in a novel needs to, not only grab a reader’s attention, but flip them out of bed, melt them into their recliners, or make them forget the lasagna in the oven.

Like you, I’ve written so many first lines for my novels, I could add them up and the page count would be the same as the novel itself.

They, editors, agents, writing experts say:

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14 Highly-Anticipated Sequels Coming Out This Fall

Another great reading list!

Capital Nerd

We know the anticipation of waiting for the latest installment in a new book series we love, and we’re happy to report that there’s a slew of much-anticipated sequels arriving this fall. I’ve rounded up the must-read new releases, complete with publishers’ descriptions. Time to find out what happens next to our favorite characters!

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

The saga that has enthralled the millions of readers of The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End now continues with Ken Follett’s magnificent, gripping A Column of Fire.

Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed.

The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred. Europe is in turmoil as high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love, and Ned soon finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he…

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How Not to Write: The Anti-Writing Writing Method — Drew Chial

So your writing is flowing too fast. The spark of inspiration has set your mind ablaze and your fingers hurt from typing. Stephen King says you should write 3,000 words a day and you’re lapping him: 6,000 words a day, 9,000 words a day. You’re so prolific your beta readers feel like you’re swamping them […]

via How Not to Write: The Anti-Writing Writing Method — Drew Chial

The importance of tension and pace

Some great reminders 🙂

Into Another World

This post is the tenth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Before we get into writing your novel, I wanted to talk about two important elements – tension and pace. Understanding both of these will help you write better scenes in your story.


Tension is the element of a novel that evokes worry, anxiety, fear or stress for both the reader and the characters.

One way to think about it is you are raising the stakes for your character, so he or she has to work to get what he or she wants. And this shouldn’t be easy. Basically, you want to keep saying no to your characters so that the conflict appears unsolvable. The more at stake for your character, the more emotions he feels about situations and events.

Tension can take…

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What do you always do? #Rituals #Editing #Writing #Editors #Authors #Bloggers

What are your writing rituals ? 🙂

Creating Perfection

Last week I attended an online author chat with Louise Jensen and her Bookouture publicity manager, Kim Nash, over on Facebook. Louise is the bestselling author of three psychological thrillers,The Sister, The Gift, andThe Surrogate (click the links to buy your copies!) and one of the questions asked was what, if any, rituals Louise has whilst writing.

She explained that she listens to classical music and lights a new, berry scented candle when she starts a new draft.

This got me thinking about the rituals I have when editing a manuscript.

Before I open a new manuscript, I clean my desk. I take everything off it, pc screen and all, then clean and polish it, the keyboard, mouse, screen; I organise the stationery in my screen riser, and the books I keep on my desk top. I then open a new page in my notebook and…

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New Releases: 9/26



Ann Leckie

Provenance is the latest novel from Ann Leckie, author of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, and British Science Fiction Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice, and its Locus Award-winning sequel Ancillary Sword. Her new sci-fi novel is set in the same world as the Ancillary novels, but follows a new character; a powerful woman on a mission to regain the priceless artifacts of her people. Her first two books were bookseller favorites (including first-floor inventory manager Raul’s and our old kids’ event coordinator Demi’s!), and we can’t wait to dive into this new one! It’s on our to-read shelf, but what we’re really excited about is Ann Leckie here at BookPeople, Sunday, October 1st at 5PM! We know you won’t want to miss this event!

Five-Carat Soul

James McBride

The latest from highly celebrated author James McBride is a collection of stories entitled Five-Carat Soul. These…

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