listening to characters

Nourishing Our Creativity to Help Our Writing

February 2, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Writing is an art form, and yet I don’t usually think of myself as an artist. But all types of artistic endeavors have the concept of a muse or a gut feel for when something is working—or not—so we might be able to use that general “artistic muse” concept to help us with our writing, especially when we suffer from writer’s block.

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Does Our Personality Affect Our Writing Process?

December 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Whether we put any stock into tests like Myers-Briggs, they’re interesting for providing insights into our strengths and weaknesses. Once we understand our traits, we can decide whether we wish to fight to improve, find a way around them, or embrace them as part of our process.

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Discovering Our Writing Processes

December 10, 2015 Writing Stuff
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We’ve probably all seen us vs. them attitudes for many aspects of writing, implying that there’s only one right process. However, just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, and in the end, there’s only one thing that matters.

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Using Grammar to Strengthen Our Voice — Guest: Julie Glover

November 24, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Many of us start down the writing path without knowing the grammar rules. However, it’s best to know the rules before deciding to break them, especially as the proper use (and abuse) of grammar rules can strengthen our voice. Today’s guest post from Julie Glover shows how grammar can make a difference.

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Strengthening Our Observation Skills — Guest: Laurel Garver

November 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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It’s usually best to avoid “naming” emotions in our writing and to show those emotions instead. But to put the Emotion Thesaurus’s emotional cues into our voice, we might need to add our own spin, like from our observations of the real world. Today’s guest post has tips for how to develop our observing skills.

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5 Common Myths about Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

November 10, 2015 Writing Stuff
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We all have emotions, so we all think we know how to write them. However, sometimes the best writing comes from exposing an emotional truth that we’re hiding from ourselves. So the better we understand emotions, the better our stories will resonate with our readers.

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5 Tips for Finding Point-of-View Errors — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

November 3, 2015 Writing Stuff
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As we learn writing craft, we often go through phases. Just when we think we know everything there is to know, we discover another area to learn. One area I struggle with, even though I know the rules, is out-of-POV phrases. Luckily, one of my editors is a genius at finding these, and she’s here to share her tips.

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Digging into Research: Consider the Source

October 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Last week, we talked about how we can add diversity to our stories in a respectful way, and no matter what kind of story we write, we’re probably going to need to research something. Whether we’re referring to an aspect of diversity, a setting, or a character’s job, we can’t know everything about everything.

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Writing Diversity: How Can We Avoid Issues?

October 22, 2015 Writing Stuff
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The real world is filled with diversity, and our stories should be the same way. There’s no “one right way” to portray diverse characters, but there are wrong ways to portray diversity. However, there are steps we can take to minimize—as much as possible—the potential of “getting it wrong.”

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Character Likability and Subtext

September 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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How are villains, character likability, subtext, and point-of-view all related? In many stories, our antagonist is a non-POV character, and for non-POV characters, my previous tips about likability will be limited to subtext. So even though we might not be trying to make our villain likable, we might struggle to make them layered.

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