information dump

4 Tips for Preventing Flat Descriptions — Guest: Janice Hardy

October 4, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Story description has a bad reputation for being “skippable,” but a story without description happens in a vacuum. Today, Janice Hardy is here to share advice and examples on how to make our descriptions less flat, less “told,” and therefore, less skippable.

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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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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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Want to Evoke Emotions in Readers? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

April 14, 2016 Writing Stuff
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To create a great emotional story, we need to know not only the vocabulary of describing emotions, but also how we can evoke emotions in our readers. Marcy Kennedy’s here to show us how deep point of view can help us evoke those emotions we want within our readers.

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How to Weave Story Elements and Avoid Info Dumps

March 10, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Our stories consist of many elements—from backstory to dialogue—that each contribute to our story. Yet we can overdo those elements with an information dump. How can we include the different elements while making sure we don’t cross over into Info Dump Land? Let’s talk options…

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Story Description: Finding the Right Balance

February 23, 2016 Writing Stuff
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For every aspect of our story, we have to find the right balance. One element many writers struggle with is description: too little leaves our readers floating without an anchor, and too much drags our story’s pacing. So how do we find the right amount and know whether we need more or need to cut?

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Internal Dialogue: The Secret Sauce to Fixing Problems? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

August 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Internal dialogue is rarely discussed but can be the key to a great story. The skillful use of internal dialogue reveals a story’s emotions, characterizations, motivations, and overall arc. Internal dialogue provides context for everything our characters experience, which helps our readers know what the story means to our characters.

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Tangents and Subplots: When Do They Work?

August 25, 2015 Writing Stuff
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My Elements of a Scene Checklist helps us identify whether a scene is truly necessary and contributing to our story by making sure it fulfills a story purpose. The same judgment criteria can apply to subplots as well. Let’s take a look at how can we make sure our tangents and subplots are adding to the story and not acting as a distraction.

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Ask Jami: How Do We Describe Characters?

October 28, 2014 Writing Stuff
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How we describe characters often depends on our story’s genre and what impression we want readers to have. When we’ve talked about descriptions here before, we focused on how it’s important to describe our settings enough to anchor our readers. Do we have to describe our characters to the same extent?

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First Pages: Tips to Avoid Cliches and Weak Writing

September 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many stories “strike out” with readers in the first chapter. So our opening pages are just as critical to sales as our book cover, title, back-cover blurb, etc. Let’s take a closer look at cliches to avoid and tips to make those pages work for us.

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