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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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Increasing Our Productivity: Why It’s Not Simple

September 22, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Most (probably all) writers want to increase their productivity because we want to make the most of the writing time we have. However, we’re all different, so we might need to figure out the right style of productivity advice for us.

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Writer Goals: Quitting the “Evil” Day Job

September 20, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Many new writers define “being a writer” as writing full-time, as though having day job equals an admission of failure or demonstrates a lack of professionalism. However, most writers do have day jobs, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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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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Self Publishing? What’s Your Newsletter Plan? — Part Two

September 1, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Newsletters are an important tool for holding onto our readers from book to book, but how do we want to grow our list? Do we want to go for quantity or quality? Let’s explore the pros and cons of those two philosophies.

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Character Arc Development: Is There a Best Approach?

August 18, 2016 Writing Stuff
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There are almost an infinite number of ways we can develop our story. As long as we end up with a finished book, our process works. And just like the variety found in the overall writing processes we might use, we have many options for how to come up with our protagonist’s arc as well.

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Self or Traditional: Choosing Our Publishing Path

August 16, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Over the years, a sharp division has split the writing community into two camps: traditional publishing and self-publishing. However, the current us-vs.-them attitude doesn’t seem nearly as bad as it used to be. When writers research their options for which path they should take, what advice do they encounter now?

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Stuck on Plot? Start at the End — Guest: Janice Hardy

August 9, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Today, Janice Hardy shares her tip for getting unstuck with our plot. Whether we’re plotters or pantsers, working backward from the end can help us figure out our story’s plot. Sometimes we need to shake up how we do things to get the creative juices flowing again, and working backward can be the key we need.

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