editing

Writing Active Settings, Part 2 — Guest: Mary Buckham

July 24, 2014 Writing Stuff
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USA Today bestselling author Mary Buckham is back with Part Two of her guest post on writing active settings that keep our story flowing and connect readers to our characters. Today, she’s sharing the second biggest hurdle to writing great descriptions.

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Writing Active Settings, Part 1 — Guest: Mary Buckham

July 22, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The trick to sharing setting information (which our readers do need) without dragging down the pace is to write active descriptions. Active descriptions let the reader imagine the setting in their mind, keep them anchored in the story, and slip in information so seamlessly that they never realize they’re reading descriptions.

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Building a Character Arc: Start at the End

July 17, 2014 Writing Stuff
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As I mentioned with the worksheet I shared last week, it’s often easier to work backward when we’re framing our story. At the very least, knowing the ending often makes it easier to see our character’s arc.

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Blogiversary Winners & a New Worksheet!

July 10, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I can’t make everyone a winner in my Blogiversary contest, but I can give everyone a gift by releasing a new worksheet. Yay! A couple of my readers asked me to take a look a John Truby’s work and see if I could come up with a worksheet based on his teachings.

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How to Use Layers to Show Intense Emotions

July 1, 2014 Writing Stuff
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A “numb” reaction isn’t unusual for dark or deep emotions. In fact, it’s probably fairly normal. But it makes writing the scene more difficult. How do we show numb and deep emotions at the same time? How can readers connect to an emotionless character?

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7 Storytelling Lessons from Sports

June 24, 2014 Writing Stuff
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At their essence, most sports have a lot in common with storytelling. There are “good guys” (the home team) and “bad guys” (the visiting team), and they battle for who comes out on top. The audience becomes emotionally involved and roots for those they identify with to succeed, and we all wish for a happy […]

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6 Steps to Balance Your Editing: Plot vs. Characters

June 17, 2014 Writing Stuff
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After we’ve finished drafting our story and the warm fuzzies of that accomplishment have faded, it’s time to buckle down for the next step: revising. Many of us aren’t sure where to start with revisions, even when we know something is wrong with a story. When I help authors edit their books, they sometimes mention […]

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Expand Our Senses and Improve Our Descriptions

June 12, 2014 Writing Stuff
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How many hundreds of times have we all heard the advice to “show not tell”? That’s often good advice (except for the times when it’s not *smile*). Other than the exceptions, “showing” usually is better than telling because it pulls the reader deeper into the story. But that means we need to figure out how to […]

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When Should We Skip a Scene in Our Story?

May 8, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Every story beat or turning point scene—when events affect the main story question, conflict, or goal—needs to be included in a story. But what about non-turning-point scenes? How can we tell when to include them and when we can skip ahead?

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Building a Theme through Character Arcs

April 3, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We normally create stories where the point—the theme—is in line with our worldview. But it’s not unusual for our characters to hold opposite beliefs, even our protagonists. At least to start. And their story journey is often where our theme lies.

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