information dump

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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Writing Active Settings, Part 1 — Guest: Mary Buckham

July 22, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The trick to sharing setting information (which our readers do need) without dragging down the pace is to write active descriptions. Active descriptions let the reader imagine the setting in their mind, keep them anchored in the story, and slip in information so seamlessly that they never realize they’re reading descriptions.

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Expand Our Senses and Improve Our Descriptions

June 12, 2014 Writing Stuff
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How many hundreds of times have we all heard the advice to “show not tell”? That’s often good advice (except for the times when it’s not *smile*). Other than the exceptions, “showing” usually is better than telling because it pulls the reader deeper into the story. But that means we need to figure out how to […]

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3 Tips for Skipping the Boring Parts

February 20, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I was going to rant about poor editing today, but I closed the wrong window in my computer and lost all 1000 words. *sigh* So I’ll try it again later when I’m not so sleep deprived from WANACon preparation. Instead, I’m revisiting a different topic today. We’ve heard the saying: Life is a journey. Often this […]

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Showing vs. Telling: When Is Telling Okay?

October 8, 2013 Writing Stuff
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We’ve probably all heard the advice to “show don’t tell” more times than we can count. Like most advice, it’s worded as an absolute, making it seem as though telling is never okay.

Once we’re experienced, we know that’s not true. Some telling is absolutely okay, and in certain cases, is preferable to showing.

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4 Tips to Solve 99% of Your Writing Problems — Guest: Janice Hardy

October 3, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I’ve gushed many times about the awesomeness of Janice Hardy’s blog—for good reason. Her writing tips are clear and insightful. She discusses topics more thoroughly than most. And it’s a rare thing when I can’t find an answer to a writing question there. She’s also a super-fantastic person (I’ve met her in real-life, so I […]

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7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

July 4, 2013 Writing Stuff
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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 problem? Now’s your chance! *grin* The […]

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What Soap Operas Can Teach Us about Writing

April 23, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I don’t watch soap operas, but a bizarre conversation tangent (in other words, a perfectly normal conversation for me) triggered my thoughts comparing soap operas to novels. On the surface, they seem very similar. They both have characters, tension, and conflict. However, the more I thought about it, the more I saw differences. And those […]

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Four Tips for Fixing the Infamous “Info Dump”

December 27, 2012 Writing Stuff
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While I’m on holiday vacation this week, I’ll share a post from my early days of blogging. We’ve all heard of those eye-rolling, telling “information dumps,” yet at some point, we all have to get chunks of information across to the reader. My usual technique with world-building is to show, show, show, but sometimes that’s […]

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