editing

How to Be a Better Hooker (in Writing!) — Guest: Mary Buckham

March 31, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One of the ways we create compelling writing is by creating a need within our readers to keep turning pages. So a common piece of advice is to create hooks—phrases, sentences, ideas, questions, etc.—to fuel that need within readers. Today, Mary Buckham’s here to touch on the 9 types of hooks and to answer frequent questions about hooks.

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Using Examples to Learn Beat Sheets

March 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One technique for drafting or editing our stories into shape is using beat sheets, but it can be tricky to understand how to use them. Here’s a round-up beat sheet and story structure resources that might help us understand beat sheets.

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How to Punch Up a Blurb or Query — Guest: Julie Glover

March 5, 2015 Writing Stuff
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No matter how we publish, we have to come up with a great book description. Queries and blurbs have always been my weak point, so I asked my editors at each stage of the editing process for help. Julie Glover’s here today with tips for how to go from good to great.

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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 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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How Do You Stay Organized?

January 6, 2015 Over-Achieving Perfectionist
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With a new year, we often want to start on the right foot. We don’t want to repeat last year’s mistakes. (Let’s make new ones instead, right? *smile*) So to get and stay organized, I’d love to find a time management approach that helped me track everything.

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What Creates a Story’s Theme?

December 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many stories that stick with us over time resonate with some aspect of our life, belief, or worldview. Often, the theme of the story creates that resonance. If we understand what creates a story’s theme, we might be able to improve the resonance of our stories.

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What Makes a Story’s Black Moment a Black Moment?

December 16, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The Black Moment is usually one of the most emotional sections of the story, so it can be difficult to pull together. If we read stories (or watch movies), we’ve seen this beat play out endless times, so we probably understand the plot point more than we may think. But let’s take a closer look and see if we can learn something new.

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