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Creating a Strong Moral Premise for Our Story — Guest: Jeff Lyons

April 4, 2017 Writing Stuff
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A character’s arc involves change, but what exactly is changing? Today, Jeff Lyons shares how to ensure we’re not saddling our protagonist with generic character flaws to overcome, but rather we’re creating well-rounded characters with personal motivations for their struggles.

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3 Steps to Raise Our Story’s Stakes

March 14, 2017 Writing Stuff
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It’s time for another post as a Resident Writing Coach over at Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s Writers Helping Writers site, and this time we’re exploring 3 steps we can take to raise our story’s stakes, the consequences for the characters if they fail to reach their goals.

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Editing Tips: Top 3 Scene Issues — Guest: Naomi Hughes

January 31, 2017 Writing Stuff
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Editor Naomi Hughes is here with the second post in a series to share her writing craft and editing advice. Today, she’s highlighting the most common issues she sees at the scene level of editing—and giving tips on how to fix those issues!

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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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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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Story Beginnings: Do You Have Context?

August 11, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Story beginnings are difficult to get right. We have to introduce the characters, the story, the setting, the protagonist’s longing, and show an immediate obstacle that creates a near-term goal. At the same time, we have to avoid confusing readers, and for that, we need context.

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When Is a Shocking Scene Necessary…or Gratuitous?

August 2, 2016 Writing Stuff
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As authors, we need to be careful when dealing with shocking, horrifying, or potentially problematic story elements. Let’s explore the steps we can go through to figure out the right approach for our genre, story, and characters.

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Strengthen Your Writing with Rhetorical Devices

June 30, 2016 Writing Stuff
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If you’re anything like me, and your English or grammar instruction was less than ideal, you might not be familiar with the term rhetorical devices. But once I did learn about them, I quickly became aware of how using rhetorical devices can strengthen our writing—even if we’re writing genre stories.

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5 Tips for Empowering Description with Contrast — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

June 16, 2016 Writing Stuff
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We’ve probably all heard (or thought!) that description is boring or the part readers skip. Yet our stories need description or else be confusing. Marcy Kennedy joins us today to share 5 tips to empower and add interest to our description by using contrast.

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4 Tips for “Setting” a Mood — Guest: Becca Puglisi

June 14, 2016 Writing Stuff
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The Thesaurus books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are a must-have for every fiction author, and they now have two new Thesauri books: Urban Setting and Rural Setting. Becca’s here today to talk about how setting is important for more than just describing the time and place of our scene.

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