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What Makes Your Story Unique?

August 18, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Ever heard “write the same but different”? Usually agents want something similar enough to other stories that they know they can sell the book but different enough to not feel like a retread. Whether we’re writing queries for traditional publishing or back-cover blurbs for self-publishing, if we can identify how our story is unique, we can better sell our story.

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Subjectivity and Reader Shaming

August 11, 2015 Random Musings
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If we write genre fiction, we might bemoan the lack of respect, but the same lack of respect occurs at the reader level too. Readers of science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, young adult, and romance have also been looked down on. Many outsiders have attempted to make readers ashamed of their reading choices by judging by subjective measures.

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When Does It Make Sense to Make Big Revisions?

July 30, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Revisions are never easy. Unlike just plain edits, which might have us questioning a word, revisions might have us questioning everything. Sometimes the feedback we receive might cause us to wonder if the suggestions are a good idea for our story. How can we tell? Which battles should we pick when debating our publisher’s editor?

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Blogiversary Winners & Writing Flexibility

July 14, 2015 News
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Some writers can find themselves paralyzed by the thought of needing to get their first draft “right.” That’s crazy-making, however. A draft—a first draft especially—is a tool to help us discover the story we want to tell, the characters we want to meet, and the themes we want to explore. That’s it.

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Character Psychology: 9 Common Errors — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

June 16, 2015 Writing Stuff
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If we don’t want to write characters who are too perfect, we have to layer in a few flaws. That means we might be writing characters who are “broken” in some way, and we don’t want to get the details wrong. Luckily, I know just who can help us get this right.

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Story Climax: Forcing Characters to Move Forward

April 30, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Whatever happens in the Climax is often the reason we decided to write the story back when it was just a twinkle in our muse’s eye. But just before the beat of the Climax, our character experienced the Black Moment/Crisis, where they gave up. How do we get them to recommit to the story goals?

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Should We Only “Write What We Know”? — Guest: S.P. Sipal

March 24, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One truism in writing that’s often repeated is “write what you know.” But that advice can be harmful—at least for fiction writing. I much prefer the advice: Write what you want to learn about. Being open to learning new things for our writing can enrich our lives—and be fun!

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What Creates a Story’s Theme?

December 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Many stories that stick with us over time resonate with some aspect of our life, belief, or worldview. Often, the theme of the story creates that resonance. If we understand what creates a story’s theme, we might be able to improve the resonance of our stories.

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Ask Jami: How Can We Make a Story Believable?

December 11, 2014 Writing Stuff
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As soon as immersion is broken for a reader, their suspension of disbelief is at risk, so we don’t want unbelievable aspects of our story to kick readers out of the story midway. When it comes to believability, issues could crop up within the plot, characters, or worldbuilding, and we have to find the right balance within each of those areas.

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Diversity in Writing: Researching Characters — Guest: Melinda Primrose

November 13, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We often write about settings or jobs or situations we haven’t experienced, and diversity among our characters should be no different. Today’s guest post is about how we can research and learn more about experiences for which we don’t have first-hand knowledge and avoid the fear of “getting it wrong.”

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