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Creating a Strong Moral Premise for Our Story — Guest: Jeff Lyons

April 4, 2017 Writing Stuff
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A character’s arc involves change, but what exactly is changing? Today, Jeff Lyons shares how to ensure we’re not saddling our protagonist with generic character flaws to overcome, but rather we’re creating well-rounded characters with personal motivations for their struggles.

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What’s “High Concept” & How Can I Create It? — Guest: Jeff Lyons

March 28, 2017 Writing Stuff
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Last week, Jeff Lyons shared how to make every story idea the best it could be. Today he’s delving into the tricky description of high concept. Many agents and editors say they prefer high-concept stories, but what does that mean?

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How to Make Our Story Feel Meaningful

January 12, 2017 Writing Stuff
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Story is different from plot, but sometimes we can have lots of plot ideas, and we might not be sure if—or how—we can pull those together into something that feels like a story. Let’s get some tips…

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How Does Our Writing Affect Readers?

December 22, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Given world events, many people want an escape right now. Our writing—our stories—can give readers a breather, a chance to recover, an opportunity to regroup and build up strength or defenses. The crazier the world, the more the world needs our stories.

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3 Acting Tips to Strengthen Our Voice — Guest: Libby Heily

November 10, 2016 Writing Stuff
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When writing, do you ever make the facial expressions of your characters? In that way, most writers are like actors, but other acting skills can help our writing too. Today, Libby Heily shares how we can deepen our characters, strengthen our voice, and sharpen our dialogue with acting skills.

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4 Ways to Add Depth to Our Stories — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

August 30, 2016 Writing Stuff
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What makes a story *not* frivolous? If it’s gritty and dark? Has emotional depth? Or does it need to be “serious literature”? Can a story be light and yet weighty at the same time? Today, Kassandra Lamb shares her insights on how we can add meaning to our stories.

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When Is a Shocking Scene Necessary…or Gratuitous?

August 2, 2016 Writing Stuff
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As authors, we need to be careful when dealing with shocking, horrifying, or potentially problematic story elements. Let’s explore the steps we can go through to figure out the right approach for our genre, story, and characters.

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Decisions, Decisions: What Should We Write Next?

July 21, 2016 Writing Stuff
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If we have multiple story ideas, how do we decide which one we should write next? We want to pick one that we feel strongly enough about that when the going gets hard—and it will—we won’t be tempted by a different shiny idea. So how can we avoid second guessing ourselves?

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Character Development Is a Two-Edged Sword

May 26, 2016 Writing Stuff
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As writers, we do everything we can to make readers invested in our characters in some way. An invested reader is a happy reader, right?
Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at the other side of character development.

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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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