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Does Our Story Have Everything It Needs?

December 22, 2015 Writing Stuff
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After completing a story, we might face the question of whether to put in the effort to revise it. If we decide our story has enough promise, what should we do next? Does our story contain all the essential elements? Does it have the bones of a good story?

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Tangents and Subplots: When Do They Work?

August 25, 2015 Writing Stuff
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My Elements of a Scene Checklist helps us identify whether a scene is truly necessary and contributing to our story by making sure it fulfills a story purpose. The same judgment criteria can apply to subplots as well. Let’s take a look at how can we make sure our tangents and subplots are adding to the story and not acting as a distraction.

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7 Tips for Adding Humor — Guest: Rhoda Baxter

July 7, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Most genres benefit from including touches of humor here or there—even the dark and angsty stories. But I’m not naturally a funny person, so I jumped at the chance to host an expert on comedy writing. Rhoda Baxter is here to share her tips that will help us add humor to any genre.

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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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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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How to Be a Better Hooker (in Writing!) — Guest: Mary Buckham

March 31, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One of the ways we create compelling writing is by creating a need within our readers to keep turning pages. So a common piece of advice is to create hooks—phrases, sentences, ideas, questions, etc.—to fuel that need within readers. Today, Mary Buckham’s here to touch on the 9 types of hooks and to answer frequent questions about hooks.

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Balancing Conflict in Romance Stories

January 22, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One of my commenters asked a great question last week that gets to the heart of the balancing game we have to play when writing romance. The characters have to be perfect enough for each other to make a believable couple, but there also has to be enough conflict between them to sustain a story.

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What Makes a Story’s Black Moment a Black Moment?

December 16, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The Black Moment is usually one of the most emotional sections of the story, so it can be difficult to pull together. If we read stories (or watch movies), we’ve seen this beat play out endless times, so we probably understand the plot point more than we may think. But let’s take a closer look and see if we can learn something new.

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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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Plotting Tip: One Simple Step to Ensure Our Story Works

December 9, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Either plot events affect the character and the story, or they don’t. One style is common in storytelling, and one might sink our writing. If we understand the difference, we can learn what to look out for and know how to fix any problems.

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