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Are There Story Elements You Avoid Writing?

February 23, 2017 Writing Stuff
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The stories we write are affected by our worldview, but that’s not the only thing that might make us avoid writing about certain elements. By looking at the other reasons we might have, we can decide whether our avoidance makes sense or points out an opportunity to improve.

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Story Beginnings: Creating the Right First Impression — Guest: Shaila Patel

February 16, 2017 Writing Stuff
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No matter how much we try different approaches, we often struggle with our story’s first pages. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for new ways of thinking about that critical opening page. Today Shaila Patel shares her insights on the right mix of elements for creating a great first impression.

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5 Steps to Avoid Overwriting — Guest: Christina Delay

February 9, 2017 Writing Stuff
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Many newbie writers try to perfectly replicate their ideas in their readers’ brains, even though overwriting slows down our pacing, repeats ideas, and prevents subtext. Luckily, Christina Delay is here with five steps to break the overwriting habit.

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The Most Important Question in Storytelling: “Why?”

January 26, 2017 Writing Stuff
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A common problem—even in traditionally published books—is Missing Motivations. A character’s goal can feel irrelevant if readers don’t understand why they have that goal. Or a character might seem stupid or unlikable if readers don’t know why they’re acting a certain way.

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Help! What If I Can’t Find Beta Readers?

January 17, 2017 Writing Stuff
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Every writer struggles to get their thoughts on the page and make their ideas make sense to others. The typical advice for how to resolve that issue is to use beta readers, but what if we can’t find beta readers? What can we do?

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Picking Editors: Tips for Finding a Developmental Editor

December 29, 2016 Writing Stuff
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When trying to find the best editor for us, we might struggle more with developmental editors because the usual technique of asking for sample edits doesn’t work. So how should we find a developmental editor who’s a good match for us?

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Writing Coaches: What Are They and Do We Need One?

December 27, 2016 Writing Stuff
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A question over at my guest post at Writers Helping Writers asked what a writing coach was, but there’s no definitive answer. On some level, a coach is anyone who gives advice, so before asking ourselves if we need or want a writing coach, we’d first have to dig into what we mean by the term.

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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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Book Marketing: How to Get Feedback — Guest: Jefferson Smith

December 20, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Marketing a book—including its cover, title, tagline, and blurb—to appeal to readers is a different skill set from writing a book, and getting feedback on those elements can be tricky. Today Jefferson Smith shares a resource for improving those critical aspects of our writing.

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Overwhelmed by a Huge Revision?

December 13, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Many big-picture elements are related: A problem in one area of our story often weakens other areas. Luckily, if we understand those relationships, we’ll better see how fixing one aspect will strengthen the others, making our revisions easier and more efficient.

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