plotter vs. pantser

Ask Jami: Whose Point of View Should We Use?

October 23, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Today’s Question: “How does one figure out which POVs to use and when? … How can I balance it out so that each character has their share of the novel without revealing too much or ruining the suspense?”

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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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Are You an Expert? How Writing Changes Our Brain

August 19, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Recently, an interesting article discussed research on the brains of writers. One important finding seemed to match research in other areas, namely that experienced people think differently from those just learning the ropes. Being an expert isn’t just about knowing more.

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Building a Character Arc: Start at the End

July 17, 2014 Writing Stuff
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As I mentioned with the worksheet I shared last week, it’s often easier to work backward when we’re framing our story. At the very least, knowing the ending often makes it easier to see our character’s arc.

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Blogiversary Winners & a New Worksheet!

July 10, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I can’t make everyone a winner in my Blogiversary contest, but I can give everyone a gift by releasing a new worksheet. Yay! A couple of my readers asked me to take a look a John Truby’s work and see if I could come up with a worksheet based on his teachings.

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Writer’s Block? Use a Random Generator

June 10, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I’ll probably jinx myself by saying this, but I have more than enough story ideas to keep me busy writing for the rest of my natural life and I haven’t yet suffered from writer’s block. But I know others do struggle and come up blank. My “seat of my pants” writing style means that I rely on […]

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What Drives You to Write?

May 22, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Writing can be a difficult career. Writers can be lonely, plagued by self-doubt, faced with rejections that feel personal and judgmental, and expected to be good at everything (creative and a sales/marketing person!). Yet we do it anyway. We must have our reasons…beyond sheer insanity, I mean.

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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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How to Make a Forbidden Romance Work

May 1, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Today’s “Ask Jami” came from a comment on my Romance Beat Sheet post. Nick wanted to know how a story’s structure would change if the romance is forbidden. Ooo…

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