setting and description

5 Insights from Bestselling Authors

April 8, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The Desert Dreams Writing Conference always exceeds my expectations. However, not all of us are so lucky to have easy access to quality writing conferences, so I wanted to share my top takeaways from the conference.

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3 Tips for Skipping the Boring Parts

February 20, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I was going to rant about poor editing today, but I closed the wrong window in my computer and lost all 1000 words. *sigh* So I’ll try it again later when I’m not so sleep deprived from WANACon preparation. Instead, I’m revisiting a different topic today. We’ve heard the saying: Life is a journey. Often this […]

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4 Tips to Solve 99% of Your Writing Problems — Guest: Janice Hardy

October 3, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I’ve gushed many times about the awesomeness of Janice Hardy’s blog—for good reason. Her writing tips are clear and insightful. She discusses topics more thoroughly than most. And it’s a rare thing when I can’t find an answer to a writing question there. She’s also a super-fantastic person (I’ve met her in real-life, so I […]

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What Soap Operas Can Teach Us about Writing

April 23, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I don’t watch soap operas, but a bizarre conversation tangent (in other words, a perfectly normal conversation for me) triggered my thoughts comparing soap operas to novels. On the surface, they seem very similar. They both have characters, tension, and conflict. However, the more I thought about it, the more I saw differences. And those […]

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Writing Research: A Pain or a Gain?

November 27, 2012 Writing Stuff
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Readers often think that fiction writers just make stuff up. And that’s quite true—when it comes to most stories and characters. However, the supporting details of settings, props, jobs, and plot events are another matter. Whatever genre we write, we usually have to do some research in the course of drafting and revising our story. […]

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Worldbuilding, Genres, and Reader Expectations

August 16, 2012 Writing Stuff
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After I agreed to do a guest post for my friend Melinda Collins, she suggested I write something about worldbuilding. Despite being a paranormal author who continually invents worlds slightly different from our own, I haven’t written many posts about that topic yet, so I sat down to brainstorm ideas. Okay, my beta readers have […]

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How to Use Holidays in Our Writing

December 29, 2011 Writing Stuff
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*Quick Reminder: I hope you’re all getting a 10-60K story ready for the Pitch Your Shorts pitch session coming January 10th.* Most of us have a favorite holiday (or two).  Sometimes we love a holiday because of the meaning behind the day.  Sometimes we love a holiday because of the celebrations (fireworks, being with family, wearing […]

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Writer Resource: Thesaurus Collections at The Bookshelf Muse

July 14, 2011 Writing Stuff
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Last year, I discovered the fantastic resources available for writers at The Bookshelf Muse blog.  Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have created valuable references for writers with their thesaurus collections. The Emotion Thesaurus gives lists of all the different ways to show an emotion (including non-cliché ones!).  The Setting Thesaurus includes unique details to bring various […]

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What Disneyland Can Teach Us about World-building

May 17, 2011 Writing Stuff
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First, I want to thank J.A. Paul and Rachel Firasek for their guest posts.  I had fun with their interviews and I hope you all did too. Yes, I’m back from a fun, exhausting trip to Disneyland.  And yes, my vacation inspired a blog post.  You’re not surprised, are you? Anyone who has visited a […]

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The “Matrix” Approach to Scene Setting – Part Two

September 8, 2010 Writing Stuff
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In Part One, I proposed my Matrix theory for describing action and scenes in stories and talked about why it works.  In this post, I’ll explain how to successfully use the technique to add details, both with narrative and dialogue—and how not to use it. So as I mentioned last time, readers’ minds are malleable.  […]

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