subtext

Strengthening Our Observation Skills — Guest: Laurel Garver

November 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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It’s usually best to avoid “naming” emotions in our writing and to show those emotions instead. But to put the Emotion Thesaurus’s emotional cues into our voice, we might need to add our own spin, like from our observations of the real world. Today’s guest post has tips for how to develop our observing skills.

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Digging into Research: Consider the Source

October 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Last week, we talked about how we can add diversity to our stories in a respectful way, and no matter what kind of story we write, we’re probably going to need to research something. Whether we’re referring to an aspect of diversity, a setting, or a character’s job, we can’t know everything about everything.

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Character Likability and Subtext

September 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
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How are villains, character likability, subtext, and point-of-view all related? In many stories, our antagonist is a non-POV character, and for non-POV characters, my previous tips about likability will be limited to subtext. So even though we might not be trying to make our villain likable, we might struggle to make them layered.

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3 1/2 Tips for Fixing an Unlikable Character

September 15, 2015 Writing Stuff
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In writing, it’s difficult to balance “not enough” and “too much.” Not enough flaws can make our characters flat, and too many flaws can make our characters unlikable. Some genres can get away with unlikable characters, but for those stories that can’t, here are 3 1/2 tips to fix the problem.

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Internal Dialogue: The Secret Sauce to Fixing Problems? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

August 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Internal dialogue is rarely discussed but can be the key to a great story. The skillful use of internal dialogue reveals a story’s emotions, characterizations, motivations, and overall arc. Internal dialogue provides context for everything our characters experience, which helps our readers know what the story means to our characters.

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Revising without Tears — Guest: Rachel Funk Heller

June 30, 2015 Writing Stuff
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If you’re anything like me, you might have a love/hate relationship with revisions. I love seeing my story strengthen and improve, but I hate the struggle. Today my guest poster is sharing a worksheet to help us find the important aspects of each scene so we can revise without tears.

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Point of View: What Does Your Character Know?

June 4, 2015 Writing Stuff
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When it comes to learning about point of view and how to avoid issues like head-hopping, it doesn’t help that half the information out there is confusing and contradictory. Let’s take a closer look at how we can find and fix these issues.

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How to Get Our Thoughts onto the Page

January 29, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Probably no one can claim to be an expert at making sure the cool character in our head makes it onto the page. We can only guess at how readers will interpret what we tell them. Advice can help us share our brain with our readers as much as possible, but the process will never—ever—be completely clean.

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How to Create Characters Worth Reading

January 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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There’s no shortage of blog posts about what makes characters likable to readers. Yet readers still read and enjoy stories with unlikable characters. Why? Let’s take a look at what options we have for creating characters that compel readers to keep turning pages.

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How to Use Needs and Goals to Appeal to Readers

January 15, 2015 Writing Stuff
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When we first start learning about writing, we’re often faced with a whole new language. Words like “beats,” “tension,” and “conflict” take on new meaning within the writing world. Such it is with the words “needs” and “goals.” Once we enter the writing world, those words become infused with extra meanings related to plots and character arcs.

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