critique partners/groups

Picking Editors: What Kind Do We Need?

April 14, 2015 Writing Stuff
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No matter how good we are self-editing, we can’t catch every unclear meaning or typo in our own work. But there are different kinds of editors, and if we have a limited budget, we might not know what type of editors are most important for our success. Let’s take a closer look at the types of editing and when we might (or might not) need that type of editing.

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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 Use Needs and Goals to Appeal to Readers

January 15, 2015 Writing Stuff
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When we first start learning about writing, we’re often faced with a whole new language. Words like “beats,” “tension,” and “conflict” take on new meaning within the writing world. Such it is with the words “needs” and “goals.” Once we enter the writing world, those words become infused with extra meanings related to plots and character arcs.

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How Do You Handle Negativity from Others?

January 13, 2015 Writing Stuff
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At some point, we’re likely to run into negativity in our writing-lives. Feedback might be filled with cruel “give up” put-downs. We might be attacked by internet trolls. Reviews might rip apart us, personally, instead of focusing on our book. So the question then becomes, what are we willing to do to avoid it?

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Should Authors on the Traditional Path Pay an Editor? — Guest: Sharon Hughson

November 20, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Writers pursuing traditional publishing are often told not to pay for editing before submitting to agents or publishers. But the landscape has changed and we’ve had to change our opinion and attitude about many old-school advice “rules.” Should this advice should be next on the chopping block?

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Too Close? 5 Techniques to See Our Story Objectively

September 16, 2014 Writing Stuff
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After we complete a first draft, we might want to dig into revising right away because we’re still excited and passionate about the premise. But many writers say it’s better to do something to gain “distance” from our story first. Distance helps us see our story objectively so we can revise ruthlessly, not clinging to our intentions but seeing our story’s potential.

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Feedback: Finding Problems vs. Fixing Problems

September 11, 2014 Writing Stuff
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If we’ve ever let beta readers or critique groups give feedback on our stories, we’ve probably run into the issue of receiving conflicting advice. In fact, if we’ve ever let more than one person read our work, we’ve probably received conflicting advice. *smile* One reader may love a character someone else hates. One person may think a subplot […]

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How to Make Sure Readers Don’t Close the Book

September 4, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many articles and infographics have tried to answer the question of what makes readers stop reading. They usually include a list of offenses like typos, too boring, confusing, etc. And those are all true. But a recent post took a more analytical approach to measuring problem areas. Jefferson Smith started a reading program called “Immerse […]

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Introducing the Beta Reading Worksheet!

August 12, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many of us find beta readers by offering to exchange our work with other writers in a “I’ll give you feedback if you give me feedback” arrangement. That structure means we have to do a good job with our feedback if we want to continue the beta buddy exchange program.

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4th Annual Blogiversary Contest — Prize: Me! Wait…er, What?

June 26, 2014 News
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It’s that time of year again. My four-year blogiversary is coming up on July 12th.  And I’m once again amazed by the fact that I’ve been writing this blog for four years. How can something feel like yesterday and forever at the same time? Mostly, I’m amazed I found that much to blog about, not […]

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