Janice Hardy

NaNo Prep: Are You Ready to Start Drafting?

October 16, 2014 Writing Stuff
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It’s almost time for NaNoWriMo, when thousands of writers will try to cram 50,000 words into a 30-day deadline. If you’re doing NaNo and anything like me, you might be freaking out a little as November nears. Although this is my third year with NaNo, this will be my first time doing it “for really-real.”

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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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How to Make Sure Readers Don’t Close the Book

September 4, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many articles and infographics have tried to answer the question of what makes readers stop reading. They usually include a list of offenses like typos, too boring, confusing, etc. And those are all true. But a recent post took a more analytical approach to measuring problem areas. Jefferson Smith started a reading program called “Immerse […]

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How Can We Show a Character’s Internal Journey?

May 15, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I’m a big fan of Michael Hauge’s approach to characters. His insights helped me figure out how to match a character’s internal journey to the external plot. This is often tricky, though, so let’s go deeper into how characters change.

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How to Raise the Stakes in Our Story

May 6, 2014 Writing Stuff
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“Raise the stakes throughout your story.” Advice like this is often given as though we all know what the phrase means. And on some level, we do know what it means: make the situation “worse.” But there are many ways to make a situation worse. As Serena Yung asked in a comment: “Would you define a […]

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Fix Showing vs. Telling with Macros & Word Lists

March 25, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many writers will search in MS Word for red flag words that indicate telling. But there are a lot of those words, and that would be a lot of searches. That’s where macros can help, and today we’ll learn how to build our own trouble-searching macros with a few secret weapons.

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MS Word Trick: Using Macros to Edit and Polish

March 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We want to clean up our story the best we can because copy editors often charge a “messy manuscript” premium. Yet it can be difficult to self-edit at this “polish” stage. For one thing, this step can be tedious to the extreme. Even with MS Word’s “find and replace” functionality, there are many words to check, and it’s hard to remember them all.

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The Pros and Cons of Writing Contests

November 14, 2013 Writing Stuff
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The other week, my friend Janice Hardy emailed me for insight into a question one of her blog readers had about writing contests. She wanted to turn the question into a blog post on the pros and cons of writing contests and thought I might have something to say about the topic. She was right. I […]

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How to Make Characters Vulnerable to Readers

November 7, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Most tips for creating sympathetic characters point out that our characters need flaws. And that’s very true. But it can be a real trick to show flaws for characters who bottle up their emotions in an attempt to hide their weaknesses. While very common, that defense mechanism can leave very little for us, as authors, […]

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NaNo Prep: 4 Tips for Starting Our Story

October 31, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Tomorrow, thousands of writers will start their novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m not in a good spot in my writing project schedule to participate this year (*pout*), but I’m cheering from the sidelines. (I’m Jami Gold if anyone wants to buddy me.) On this occasion, I wanted to bring together several tips […]

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