Ask Jami

Ask Jami: Whose Point of View Should We Use?

October 23, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Today’s Question: “How does one figure out which POVs to use and when? … How can I balance it out so that each character has their share of the novel without revealing too much or ruining the suspense?”

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Ask Jami: How Many Characters Is “Too Many”?

October 21, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Kim wants to know if there’s an optimal number of characters to include in a novel. That’s a great question because we want to hit the balance between the claustrophobia of too few characters and the confusion of too many characters.

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How Can We Show a Character’s Internal Journey?

May 15, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I’m a big fan of Michael Hauge’s approach to characters. His insights helped me figure out how to match a character’s internal journey to the external plot. This is often tricky, though, so let’s go deeper into how characters change.

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How to Raise the Stakes in Our Story

May 6, 2014 Writing Stuff
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“Raise the stakes throughout your story.” Advice like this is often given as though we all know what the phrase means. And on some level, we do know what it means: make the situation “worse.” But there are many ways to make a situation worse. As Serena Yung asked in a comment: “Would you define a […]

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How to Make a Forbidden Romance Work

May 1, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Today’s “Ask Jami” came from a comment on my Romance Beat Sheet post. Nick wanted to know how a story’s structure would change if the romance is forbidden. Ooo…

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What’s the Perfect Job for Our Characters?

April 29, 2014 Writing Stuff
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If we write our story well, every aspect of the story will contribute to the overall picture and create an impression for the reader. There aren’t any unimportant details in a well-written story. And that means the careers for our characters shouldn’t be an afterthought either.

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What Makes a Story Event a “Turning Point”?

February 4, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Between questions on Facebook and some of my editing clients, I’ve had several conversations lately about story turning points: what they are, what they mean, and how to recognize them. As writers, we all need to understand turning points. If we plot or plan our story in advance, we need ideas for the turning points […]

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Ask Jami: Where to Find Beta Readers

January 16, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Almost two years ago, I posted advice for how to find beta readers. In the time since then, many people have asked me where they can find beta readers. I’d love to be able to offer a mega-list of resources for finding beta readers, and maybe this post can be the first step. As I mentioned […]

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What Are You Looking for in Your Reading Choices?

January 9, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Last time, we talked about our reading habits and whether the price of an ebook affects its ranking in our to-be-read pile. (If you haven’t answered the polls with your answers to that question yet, please check out that post.) Today we’ll continue the reading-habits theme with two other issues that relate to reader expectations. […]

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Why Story Structure Matters

January 2, 2014 Writing Stuff
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It’s no secret that I’m a proud pantser (writing by the seat of my pants), and yet I’m a firm believer in story structure. My writing worksheets for story and scene construction make that latter point abundantly clear. But I haven’t discussed before why story structure is so important. Recently, a couple of situations reminded me […]

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