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Balancing Elements: How Can We Know the Right Amount?

September 15, 2016 Writing Stuff
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I’ve offered several posts here about balancing various elements of our story, but there’s still room for debate because we have to find the right balance for our voice, genre, tone, and style—for our story. That means there is no perfect amount of backstory or description or emotion.

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Backstory: When Is It Necessary?

September 13, 2016 Writing Stuff
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We often think about the purpose of backstory in terms of “what do readers need to know?” But with that perspective, it’s too easy to include too much backstory. Instead, we might be better off if we think about backstory from the perspective of what the story needs.

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Backstory: Finding the Right Balance — Guest: Janice Hardy

September 8, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Today, Janice Hardy shares her revision advice on how to include the right amount of backstory. Too much slows the pace, and too little can leave readers confused. Her tips help us avoid the issue of slow pacing, learn how to hide backstory, and identify when we need more.

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Pros & Cons: Referencing the Real World in Our Story

September 6, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Should we refer to the real world in our fictional story? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons and why we might want to include those references, as well as why we might not.

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Do You Share Your Work in Progress?

August 23, 2016 Writing Stuff
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The stereotype of a writer pounding away in isolation ignores how the online writing community gives us more options. We can work in secrecy or involve others by sharing our work in progress. There’s no right or wrong answer, but we should figure out which approach works better for us.

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Story Beginnings: Do You Have Context?

August 11, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Story beginnings are difficult to get right. We have to introduce the characters, the story, the setting, the protagonist’s longing, and show an immediate obstacle that creates a near-term goal. At the same time, we have to avoid confusing readers, and for that, we need context.

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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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Do You Belong? Or Are You a Fraud?

July 28, 2016 Writing Stuff
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The RWA session I enjoyed the most was with Dr. Valerie Young, an expert on the “impostor syndrome.” Her presentation was so eye-opening that I want to share some of her insights…

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6th Annual Blogiversary Contest — Prize: Me! Wait…er, What?

June 28, 2016 News
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It’s that time of year again. My six-year blogiversary is coming up on July 12th. And I’m once again amazed by the fact that I’ve been writing this blog for six years. How can something feel like yesterday and forever at the same time?

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4 Steps to Break Grammar Rules with Style — Guest: Julie Glover

June 23, 2016 Writing Stuff
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While we need to learn grammar rules for our writing, if we follow the rules too strictly, we can strangle our voice,. Today, Julie Glover shares her tips on four steps to break grammar rules in a good way.

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