editing

Story Beginnings: Do You Have Context?

August 11, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Story beginnings are difficult to get right. We have to introduce the characters, the story, the setting, the protagonist’s longing, and show an immediate obstacle that creates a near-term goal. At the same time, we have to avoid confusing readers, and for that, we need context.

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Strengthen Your Writing with Rhetorical Devices

June 30, 2016 Writing Stuff
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If you’re anything like me, and your English or grammar instruction was less than ideal, you might not be familiar with the term rhetorical devices. But once I did learn about them, I quickly became aware of how using rhetorical devices can strengthen our writing—even if we’re writing genre stories.

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4 Steps to Break Grammar Rules with Style — Guest: Julie Glover

June 23, 2016 Writing Stuff
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While we need to learn grammar rules for our writing, if we follow the rules too strictly, we can strangle our voice,. Today, Julie Glover shares her tips on four steps to break grammar rules in a good way.

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Why Is “Unlikable” Often a Deal-Breaker for Readers?

June 21, 2016 Random Musings
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A recent article about unlikable heroines pointed out that likability is often more of a problem for female characters than for male characters. While I’ve learned how to minimize those issues with my characters, the problem still rankles me.

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5 Tips for Empowering Description with Contrast — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

June 16, 2016 Writing Stuff
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We’ve probably all heard (or thought!) that description is boring or the part readers skip. Yet our stories need description or else be confusing. Marcy Kennedy joins us today to share 5 tips to empower and add interest to our description by using contrast.

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4 Tips for “Setting” a Mood — Guest: Becca Puglisi

June 14, 2016 Writing Stuff
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The Thesaurus books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are a must-have for every fiction author, and they now have two new Thesauri books: Urban Setting and Rural Setting. Becca’s here today to talk about how setting is important for more than just describing the time and place of our scene.

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Can We Track Our Improvements in Writing Quality?

May 31, 2016 Writing Stuff
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The learning curve we face when deciding to become a writer is always longer than we think because we don’t know what all we don’t know. So how can we track our progress? How can we tell whether we’re improving? How can we feel good about our writing?

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Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

May 17, 2016 Writing Stuff
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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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Plot Obstacles: Too Easy, Too Difficult, or Just Right?

May 12, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Our characters have to overcome many problems throughout our plot, but changing the obstacles doesn’t always fix story problems. Sure, sometimes an obstacle doesn’t fit the story, but too often, the obstacle itself isn’t broken—but the storytelling around the obstacle.

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Writing Feedback: Reaching Our Potential

May 10, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Whenever we send our work out into the world for feedback, we’re taking a risk. Depending on our levels of self-doubt, the feedback might roll off our back, inspire us to work harder and fix issues, or convince us that we should quit writing. How can we avoid destructive feedback and the temptation to quit?

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