advice for writers

Boom! Publishing Like Beyoncé

February 26, 2015 News
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A bit over a year ago, Beyoncé surprised the music world by secretly dropping a new album with zero promotion in advance. Can we apply this strategy to the publishing world? If we run a lot of promo pre-release, by the time we have buy links, will people think our book is old news?

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What Scares You about Writing or Publishing?

February 24, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Many large, life-changing events can scare us—even terrify us. We might think, “It’s a good thing I didn’t know how hard it would be, or I might not have done it.” Sometimes writing or publishing can be terrifying, yet we have to move past our fears.

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What Are Your Favorite Writing-Related Books?

February 19, 2015 Writing Stuff
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I’ve added a page to my site to list my favorite writing craft and reference books. I’ve added several books that I thought of off the top of my head, but I know I’m forgetting a bunch too. So let me share the books I thought of, and let’s see what others have to add to the suggestions.

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Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene?

February 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Most stories open with the protagonist on page one, but every once in a while, our story seems to work best if we start with another character. If we understand why the protagonist usually works best as the point-of-view character for the first page, we might be able to remake those exceptions into stronger openings.

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How to Place Turning Points on a Beat Sheet

February 5, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Is a Catalyst the same thing as an Inciting Incident? (Answer: Yes.) How do I know? It’s not because there’s a secret cheat sheet with translations for every beat sheet term. *smile* If we know the functions beats fulfill in a story, we’ll always know where a story event belongs on a beat sheet.

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What’s the Biggest Lie You Tell Yourself?

February 3, 2015 Over-Achieving Perfectionist
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One way we develop our characters is by figuring out their false belief: What lie do they tell themselves? Now the fun thing is to think about how that idea applies in the real world. Just like our characters, we tend to hold false beliefs and lie to ourselves as well.

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How to Get Our Thoughts onto the Page

January 29, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Probably no one can claim to be an expert at making sure the cool character in our head makes it onto the page. We can only guess at how readers will interpret what we tell them. Advice can help us share our brain with our readers as much as possible, but the process will never—ever—be completely clean.

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How to Create Characters Worth Reading

January 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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There’s no shortage of blog posts about what makes characters likable to readers. Yet readers still read and enjoy stories with unlikable characters. Why? Let’s take a look at what options we have for creating characters that compel readers to keep turning pages.

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Balancing Conflict in Romance Stories

January 22, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One of my commenters asked a great question last week that gets to the heart of the balancing game we have to play when writing romance. The characters have to be perfect enough for each other to make a believable couple, but there also has to be enough conflict between them to sustain a story.

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What Milestones Do You Watch for?

January 20, 2015 News
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As we go through life, we often struggle to recognize our progress. That’s especially the case when life feels like a giant treadmill that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing. Milestones are one way for us to mark our progress, and they’re also great for reminding us to stop and celebrate the little (or sometimes, not so little) things.

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