advice for writers

5 Insights from Bestselling Authors

April 8, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The Desert Dreams Writing Conference always exceeds my expectations. However, not all of us are so lucky to have easy access to quality writing conferences, so I wanted to share my top takeaways from the conference.

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Building a Theme through Character Arcs

April 3, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We normally create stories where the point—the theme—is in line with our worldview. But it’s not unusual for our characters to hold opposite beliefs, even our protagonists. At least to start. And their story journey is often where our theme lies.

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Story Themes: What’s Your Worldview?

April 1, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We often struggle with identifying a story’s theme, and when it comes to including themes in our own stories, we might be at a loss for how to do so. This past weekend, a writing workshop for preteens included lessons on how to write with themes. The processes the kids went through to discover how to incorporate themes in their stories might help us too.

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How to Organize Our Writing Research & Notes — Guest: Jenny Hansen

March 27, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Today’s post continues the “secret weapon” theme from Tuesday’s post, but this time we’re going to talk about issues related to our writing. And this time, the secret weapon is Microsoft’s OneNote. Researching character or location pictures? Use OneNote. Want to capture the most useful tips on a blog post? Use OneNote. Want to remember […]

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Fix Showing vs. Telling with Macros & Word Lists

March 25, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many writers will search in MS Word for red flag words that indicate telling. But there are a lot of those words, and that would be a lot of searches. That’s where macros can help, and today we’ll learn how to build our own trouble-searching macros with a few secret weapons.

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Hiring a Developmental Editor — Guest: Stacy Jerger

March 20, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Those of us who haven’t been through the editing process with professionals don’t know what to expect. In the case of developmental editing, we might not even know what editors do. That’s not good. We need to understand what’s involved with the different stages of editing to judge whether an editor is right for us and will meet our needs.

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MS Word Trick: Using Macros to Edit and Polish

March 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We want to clean up our story the best we can because copy editors often charge a “messy manuscript” premium. Yet it can be difficult to self-edit at this “polish” stage. For one thing, this step can be tedious to the extreme. Even with MS Word’s “find and replace” functionality, there are many words to check, and it’s hard to remember them all.

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Finding Balance: Play Hooky

March 13, 2014 Random Musings
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When we were school-age, many of us recognized the need to blow off classes and responsibilities once in a while to play hooky. The exhilaration of “getting away with something” can recharge our burned-out batteries just as much as the trip to the shopping mall or whatever we did with our goof-off time. But as […]

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Websites, Beat Sheets, and Lost Pants—Oh My!

March 11, 2014 News
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I’ve been there, struggling in the same way we all do. My life is a constant balancing act between family and all my (many) various work projects. Between that common understanding and my epic, mini-ebook-length workshop handouts, my workshops are popular.

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Are You Living Your Dream?

March 6, 2014 Random Musings
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If we’re living our passions, life is pretty darn good, especially compared to the alternative. And if we’re not living our passions, that might be because we don’t even know what they are.

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