editing

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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What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

May 3, 2016 Writing Stuff
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When we first start off as writers, if someone asks us about our story, we might launch into an overview of our story’s plot. It’s easy to think the plot is what our story is about. But with few exceptions, story isn’t the same as plot.

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What Goes into Building a Movie in Our Mind?

April 28, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Sometimes as authors, we struggle to create a well-rounded world or characters that feel so real to readers that they experience a movie in their mind. Stories that feel like we can crawl in and inhabit them are often lauded as special, but why is it so hard to succeed in that goal?

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Brain Science: How Do You Imagine?

April 26, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Aphantasia is the term for when someone can’t imagine something in their mind–“mind blindness” or not having a “mind’s eye.” As writers, this perspective not only gives us all sorts of story and character ideas, but it can also raise many questions about the concept of imagination itself.

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Want to Evoke Emotions in Readers? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

April 14, 2016 Writing Stuff
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To create a great emotional story, we need to know not only the vocabulary of describing emotions, but also how we can evoke emotions in our readers. Marcy Kennedy’s here to show us how deep point of view can help us evoke those emotions we want within our readers.

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Writing Building Blocks: Paragraph Breaks & Voice

April 12, 2016 Writing Stuff
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From school, we’re probably all familiar with using topic sentences to break ideas into paragraphs in non-fiction, but the rules are different for fiction. Choosing where to put paragraph breaks is one of the most voice-dependent decisions we can make as writers.

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Copyediting: When Little Changes Matter — Guest: Misti Wolanski

March 31, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Reader complaints about editing quality usually focus on grammar and word choice and usage. That potential of being called out in reviews is just one reason why copyediting is so important. Sometimes the wrong usage of a word or punctuation mark can even change the meaning of our writing, as Misti Wolanski is here to show us today.

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Writing Truth: We’re Making It Up as We Go

March 29, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Last Friday, Angela Quarles’s book Must Love Chainmail was named a finalist in RWA’s RITA award, and my writing bestie’s success reminded me of an important lesson for all of us. The road to success can look an awful lot like chaos. *smile*

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