Susan J. Morris
Omnivoracious Editor
A very logical child, Susan grew up reading stories about monsters by night and looking for them on the playground by day--scientifically rigorously--because she couldn't believe the world would be so boring as to be born without monsters. Dark, poetic, gritty sci-fi/fantasy and YA are her favorite inspirations, but she maintains that "It was there" is also a perfectly valid excuse to read a book.

Recent posts by Susan

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The Whys, Whats, and Wherefores of Story Arcs

Say you have an awesome book—but it’s long. Too long. So you cut it in half: now you have two books. Easy enough, right? For fixing page count, sure! But when it comes to the enjoyment factor of the book itself, it can have a remarkably harsh effect. See, in...

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41 Flavors of Body Language for Writers

Body language can transform a fight scene from mere hack-and-slash into a riveting clash of bodies and souls. It can make an otherwise yawn-inducing argument so intense you forget to breathe. And it can take the wooden performance of a cardboard character and bring it to vibrant, messy, glorious life....

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10 Ways to Get Your Chapter On

First paragraphs should always be gripping. Not just of the first page of the first chapter of the first book in a series—the first paragraph of every chapter. They should tempt you to read on, even though it’s past your bedtime. Even though you have to get up early for...

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Playing with Focus: When Description Attacks

As readers, we want our description to be riveting. We want it to be absorptive. We want to feel like we are there—like we can see everything exactly as the author imagines it. But, of course, as writers, we know that we by necessity end up focusing on some things...

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Resolutions for Writers: 10 Ways to Hone Your Craft in 2013

Last year I came up with 52 writing exercises for writers. As I haven’t heard from anyone whose finished them all, I figured this year, instead of coming up with 52 more, I’d do something a bit more practical: a list of resolutions for writers, aimed at making writing as...

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Why Side Characters Steal the Spotlight (and How to Steal Some Back)

Main characters, as we all know, are golden gods of absolute awesomeness, with sharp intellects, shiny biceps, and sparkling personalities that make fair folk of all genders faint out of sheer want—both in and outside of the novel. Okay, that’s not really true (we all know biceps can’t really shine:...

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Turning Passive Plots into Active Plots

The sentence, in which the performer of the action is of negligible importance. The character, who waits for things to happen to them. The plot, that is built around reaction rather than action. They all have one very important thing in common: they are passive. Agentless. And capital B-O-R-I-N-G. I...

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Five Dos and Don’ts for Picking an Editor

It used be that editors picked authors. But these days, with self-publishing flourishing, and with an ever-increasing number of authors looking to tweak their manuscripts before sending them off to prospective homes, sometimes it’s the author who is picking the editor. And that can be a tricky thing! I mean,...

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Erin M. Evans on Writing Dialogue to Die For

Dialogue is one of the most powerful tools in a writer’s arsenal. It’s totally immersive, it’s evocative of character and place, and it can add layers of tension and nuance like nobody’s business. Not to mention, it’s eminently quotable. All this, and it seems so approachable! I mean, we almost...

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Elevator Pitches: How to Talk About Your Book

One of these days, you’re going to have to talk about your book. It’s true! No matter if you’re submitting it to an editor or agent, trapped in an elevator with another writer, or just chatting with someone’s book-junkie grandma over cocktails--unless you never talk to anyone about it ever,...

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