listening to characters

5 Ways to Discover & Develop Our Voice

December 8, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Many people have tried to identify what goes into creating our voice, but it’s a hard thing to define. We often just know it when we see it. Voice is personal—not just for writers, but also for readers. Yet we can identify—and strengthen—the 5 elements that go into our voice.

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When & How Should Series End? — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

November 22, 2016 Writing Stuff
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We’ve probably all heard the advice to create book series for better sales. We don’t hear nearly as much about the other end of equation: ending a series. Kassandra Lamb is here today to share tips on when and how we should end a series.

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3 Acting Tips to Strengthen Our Voice — Guest: Libby Heily

November 10, 2016 Writing Stuff
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When writing, do you ever make the facial expressions of your characters? In that way, most writers are like actors, but other acting skills can help our writing too. Today, Libby Heily shares how we can deepen our characters, strengthen our voice, and sharpen our dialogue with acting skills.

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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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Strengthening Stakes: It’s Not about Going Big

September 27, 2016 Writing Stuff
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A story’s stakes are one element that keeps readers turning pages because they want to see if our characters succeed. At first glance, we might think bigger stakes are better for sucking in readers, but not every story lends themselves to huge stakes. Are “quieter” stories doomed to fail the “page-turner” test?

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Balancing Elements: How Can We Know the Right Amount?

September 15, 2016 Writing Stuff
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I’ve offered several posts here about balancing various elements of our story, but there’s still room for debate because we have to find the right balance for our voice, genre, tone, and style—for our story. That means there is no perfect amount of backstory or description or emotion.

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Backstory: When Is It Necessary?

September 13, 2016 Writing Stuff
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We often think about the purpose of backstory in terms of “what do readers need to know?” But with that perspective, it’s too easy to include too much backstory. Instead, we might be better off if we think about backstory from the perspective of what the story needs.

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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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Pros & Cons: Referencing the Real World in Our Story

September 6, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Should we refer to the real world in our fictional story? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons and why we might want to include those references, as well as why we might not.

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Do You Share Your Work in Progress?

August 23, 2016 Writing Stuff
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The stereotype of a writer pounding away in isolation ignores how the online writing community gives us more options. We can work in secrecy or involve others by sharing our work in progress. There’s no right or wrong answer, but we should figure out which approach works better for us.

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