Favorite Writing Rules To Break – Flashbacks

Writing rules – and our favorite ones to break – has been a topic that repeatedly comes up at Ferret Business Meetings when we’re just chattering. (Yes, we have business meetings! Those are what keeps this blog on track!) One of the more common sayings in the writing community is that you have to know the writing rules before you break them, so you know how and when to break them properly.

But sometimes writing ‘rules’ are really writing pet peeves, and so much of it is dependent on genre. (Note: we are not talking about grammar rules here. Those are necessary, and while they can be bent, most of them cannot be completely broken. Learn them. Know them. Become one with them.)

In the last few years in the writing world, especially those who write/read fantasy, I’ve heard a lot of negative comments about flashbacks. It took me a bit by surprise. Continue reading

The Off-Balancing Act: The Power of Baby Steps

off-balancing act, creative balance, healthy boundaries, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, writing, writers, advice for writers

We created the lovely banner with the picture Lazy Limbs by Michael via Flickr’s Creative Commons with the CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. The image was slightly resized, and our text added. No other changes made.


When you’re a writer, it’s easy to be inundated with advice. Most of it is well-meant, and much of it works for many people. Some of it, though, can come with a somewhat… demeaning edge.

You aren’t really a writer if you don’t write every day.

That’s probably the one I’ve struggled with the most.

But… that’s ridiculous. Because that’s like saying a doctor isn’t a doctor unless he sees patients every day. Yeah, right.

Continue reading

Am I Really Supposed to Write? – (Bonus Post) – The Evolution of a Writer: The Middle Years

I was supposed to have a Ferret post up, well… last Tuesday. Last Tuesday came and went, and Friday arrived, and I looked at my blog calendar and went, “Oh. Oops.”

The Evolution of Becoming a Writer Part 6

I had originally planned to do a post on… something else. Probably worldbuilding. But I kept hitting a stumbling block. And then I decided to write about my stumbling block, and realized it fit quite well with ‘The Middle Years’ series we’d just finished up, so… bonus post!

Warning: this post is very long. But I suspect there’s a lot of people out there, besides me, who need it.

Confession time:

It’s been two and a half years since I had a consistent writing habit. Usually, I go weeks at a time without picking up a piece of fiction I’m working on. Continue reading

The Flexibility of Outlining

A color-coded, cross-referenced story outline.

A massively detailed outline. It *ahem* may or may not be color-coded and cross-referenced.

I’ve done… er… a few blog posts on outlining in my time, to put it mildly. (I’ll link them all at the end of this post.)

If you’re new to the writing scene, let me warn you now: you are going to hear a lot about why outlines are bad, or why outlines will solve all your problems, or why if you’re doing anything other than writing the actual story, you’re wasting your time.

Ignore all that.

If you’re an outliner by nature, you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. Your stories will likely wander otherwise, and there won’t be a visible plot in your story if you just ‘wing it’, even if you started with a specific plot in mind.

But outlining your story does not mean that you’ve lost all chances of improvisation, or letting your characters ‘come to life’.

Continue reading