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Diversity Issues: The Importance of “Own Voices”

Person passionately expressing themselves with text: Finding the Truth in Every Voice

While all diverse stories are important, the stories that should be most encouraged are those from authors who can provide an authentic perspective. Today, Wendy Sparrow shares her insights on what “own voices” means and how others can improve their non-own-voices stories.

May 18, 2017

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When Readers Don’t Believe Our Writing

Monopoly money with text: When Readers Don't Believe in Our Story...

One of the many reasons we need feedback is to help us fill in the blanks for things we can’t see or for understanding how others might interpret our words. But what happens when readers see our words and understand our intention, but they don’t believe what we’re telling them?

May 16, 2017

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Story Immersion: What Pulls You In?

Woman's legs sticking above water surface mid-dive with text: Becoming Immersed in a Story

When I first joined Goodreads, their account form asked me: “What Kind of Books Do You Like to Read?” My answer to that question helped me realize that I love becoming immersed in a story, the sense that we’re not just reading words on a page. But what creates story immersion?

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March 2, 2017

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Are There Story Elements You Avoid Writing?

Red handprint covered with "NOPE!" and text: What Do You Avoid Writing About?

The stories we write are affected by our worldview, but that’s not the only thing that might make us avoid writing about certain elements. By looking at the other reasons we might have, we can decide whether our avoidance makes sense or points out an opportunity to improve.

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February 23, 2017

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RWA16: Industry Insights from Data Guy and More

Strings of 0s and 1s with a heart overlay and text: Data Insights from RWA

This year at RWA, I was eligible to attend special published-authors-only workshops geared toward those with more experience, and I want to share some of the highlights from those workshops, as I think we can all benefit from many of the insights.

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July 26, 2016

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Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

Stick figure in a maze with text: What Do Your Characters Choose?

Ashley asked a question in the comments last week that gets at the heart of strong, proactive characters. Even in literary fiction, characters are usually faced with making choices, and whatever triggers those choices is where we’ll find plot and character agency.

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May 17, 2016

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What Does Your Genre’s Theme Promise to Readers?

Field of green grass with text: What's Your Genre's Promise?

Theme is one of those concepts that can be hard to understand, but by understanding themes, we’ll better satisfy our readers. In the recent debate about the romance genre’s requirement for a happy ending, the controversy comes down to themes, believe it or not. *smile*

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March 24, 2016

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Digging into Research: Consider the Source

Collection of historical documents with text: Getting It Right with Research

Last week, we talked about how we can add diversity to our stories in a respectful way, and no matter what kind of story we write, we’re probably going to need to research something. Whether we’re referring to an aspect of diversity, a setting, or a character’s job, we can’t know everything about everything.

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October 27, 2015

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