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What’s the Biggest Lie You Tell Yourself?

February 3, 2015 Over-Achieving Perfectionist
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One way we develop our characters is by figuring out their false belief: What lie do they tell themselves? Now the fun thing is to think about how that idea applies in the real world. Just like our characters, we tend to hold false beliefs and lie to ourselves as well.

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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 to Use Needs and Goals to Appeal to Readers

January 15, 2015 Writing Stuff
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When we first start learning about writing, we’re often faced with a whole new language. Words like “beats,” “tension,” and “conflict” take on new meaning within the writing world. Such it is with the words “needs” and “goals.” Once we enter the writing world, those words become infused with extra meanings related to plots and character arcs.

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How Do You Handle Negativity from Others?

January 13, 2015 Writing Stuff
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At some point, we’re likely to run into negativity in our writing-lives. Feedback might be filled with cruel “give up” put-downs. We might be attacked by internet trolls. Reviews might rip apart us, personally, instead of focusing on our book. So the question then becomes, what are we willing to do to avoid it?

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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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Ask Jami: How Can We Make a Story Believable?

December 11, 2014 Writing Stuff
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As soon as immersion is broken for a reader, their suspension of disbelief is at risk, so we don’t want unbelievable aspects of our story to kick readers out of the story midway. When it comes to believability, issues could crop up within the plot, characters, or worldbuilding, and we have to find the right balance within each of those areas.

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Should Authors on the Traditional Path Pay an Editor? — Guest: Sharon Hughson

November 20, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Writers pursuing traditional publishing are often told not to pay for editing before submitting to agents or publishers. But the landscape has changed and we’ve had to change our opinion and attitude about many old-school advice “rules.” Should this advice should be next on the chopping block?

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The Psychology of Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

November 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We usually want to keep the reader immersed in the story and keep readers’ interest by engaging their emotions. But when we understand the psychology driving emotions, we might be able to make those emotions more realistic or recognize when there’s a disconnect on a character’s emotional journey.

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Showing Emotions: Finding the Right Balance

September 25, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The ability to manipulate our readers’ emotions is a good thing (as screwed up as that sounds). Storytelling and keeping readers’ interest often comes down to creating emotions in our readers. So let’s take a closer look at how we create emotions in our readers and how we find the right balance.

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