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Story Structure: What’s the Purpose…for Readers?

Metal cans connected with string with text: What Does Our Story Structure Say to Readers?

Ever wonder how many writing “rules” have a reason beyond “because I said so”? Story structure exists not just because it makes our story stronger, but also because the story beats help communicate with readers–and understanding how can help us write and revise our story.

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March 9, 2017

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Point of View: What Does Your Character Know?

Signpost with text: Confused about POV?

When it comes to learning about point of view and how to avoid issues like head-hopping, it doesn’t help that half the information out there is confusing and contradictory. Let’s take a closer look at how we can find and fix these issues.

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June 4, 2015

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Fix 4 Common Writing Problems with “The Emotion Thesaurus”

Cover of the Emotion Thesaurus with text: Writing Tips with The Emotion Thesaurus

A couple of weeks ago, Becca Puglisi, one of the co-authors of the fantastic Thesaurus books, shared her tips for using the new The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus books. Her advice can help us develop our characters at all stages of planning, drafting, and editing. But the […]

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December 10, 2013

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7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

Relay race baton pass with text: Point of View: Handling Hand-Offs

Today’s a holiday in the U.S., so I’m dusting off and updating a post from the archives. While you’re here, don’t forget to comment on my Blogiversary post for a chance to win “me.” Want me to beta read for you or pick my brain about a writing or story […]

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July 4, 2013

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A Rating System for Books, Part Two: How Can We Include Context?

Harry Potter Half Blood Prince movie poster vs. book cover

Thanks once again to all who responded to my last blog post about whether books should have a rating system.  And I say that not just because I didn’t need my flame-proof jacket.  *smile* Many shared thoughtful ideas here on my blog, Google+, and Twitter that helped me refine my opinion.  If […]

August 2, 2011

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How to Avoid Head-Hopping

Relay race baton pass with text: Point of View: Handling Hand-Offs

We’ve learned that head-hopping should be avoided if we want to maintain a strong connection between the reader and the characters, and we’ve learned that just calling something omniscient doesn’t solve the head-hopping problem. This brings up the obvious question: How do we avoid head-hopping? The answer might be different […]

February 3, 2011

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What Makes Omniscient POV Different from Head-Hopping?

God's Eye View

Last time, we talked about how head-hopping is something to avoid, and not just because there’s a rule against it.  Any change in point-of-view (POV), whether using an “allowed” technique or not, risks weakening the connection between the reader and the story. Head-hopping authors sometimes say they’re writing in omniscient […]

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February 1, 2011

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Why Is Head-Hopping Bad?

Mannequin heads

Depending on who you talk to, head-hopping is somewhere between a shoulder shrug and the-world-is-ending bad.  Note that neither of those extremes thinks that head-hopping is good.  I suppose it could be positive if used in some sci-fi story, along the lines of “body snatchers,” but we’re talking about it […]

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January 27, 2011

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