advice for writers

Blogging: Tips, Tricks, and Knowing Your Goals

April 24, 2014 Over-Achieving Perfectionist
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As authors, we’re often told to blog, but we don’t hear as much about the nitty-gritty of how to do so. If we take the time to blog, we want to make sure our time is well spent. So let’s review some tips, tricks, and “best practices” for how to reach our goals with blogging.

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Should We Learn to Write Series?

April 22, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many books recently on the bestseller lists have been part of series. From the Divergent series to the new cliffhanger and serial books, series are a popular trend. But what if we don’t naturally write series? Will we be left behind? The “lessons learned” section in my post about Beverly Kendall’s self-publishing report reiterated the […]

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Can Genre Fiction Be “Art”?

April 17, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We have a hard time defining literary fiction. Society gives us assumptions on the relative value of genre vs. literary fiction, but those assumptions miss the point. Assigning value judgments to the labels “literary” and “genre” doesn’t make sense because preferences are subjective opinions and there’s no “better” or “worse.”

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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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