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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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6 Steps to Researching a Story — Guest: Tracy L. Ward

November 11, 2014 Writing Stuff
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No matter what genre we write, we’re likely to have to research something. If our stories take place within the real world, we might have to research events, settings, or diseases. If our stories take place outside the real world, we might have to research theories, ideas, or concepts. In other words, today’s post about how to research for writing projects will be relevant to most of us.

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Building a Character Arc: Start at the End

July 17, 2014 Writing Stuff
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As I mentioned with the worksheet I shared last week, it’s often easier to work backward when we’re framing our story. At the very least, knowing the ending often makes it easier to see our character’s arc.

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Blogiversary Winners & a New Worksheet!

July 10, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I can’t make everyone a winner in my Blogiversary contest, but I can give everyone a gift by releasing a new worksheet. Yay! A couple of my readers asked me to take a look a John Truby’s work and see if I could come up with a worksheet based on his teachings.

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Writer’s Block? Use a Random Generator

June 10, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I’ll probably jinx myself by saying this, but I have more than enough story ideas to keep me busy writing for the rest of my natural life and I haven’t yet suffered from writer’s block. But I know others do struggle and come up blank. My “seat of my pants” writing style means that I rely on […]

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Can Genre Fiction Be “Art”?

April 17, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We have a hard time defining literary fiction. Society gives us assumptions on the relative value of genre vs. literary fiction, but those assumptions miss the point. Assigning value judgments to the labels “literary” and “genre” doesn’t make sense because preferences are subjective opinions and there’s no “better” or “worse.”

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Literary vs. Genre Fiction: Which Do You Prefer?

April 15, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Reading is subjective. The stories some of us hate, others love. Personally, I have no interest in non-genre stories. This is not a sign of my inability to think deeply, but rather a personal preference. Mary Buckham’s ideas about the differences between literary and commercial fiction made me wonder about this preference.

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Rediscovering Our Love of Reading

April 10, 2014 Random Musings
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Too many kids who were voracious readers earlier in their life learn to hate reading during their teenage years. According to a post on Writer Unboxed, one third of high school graduates won’t read another book—for the rest of their lives. For too many, reading becomes a means to an end. Absorbing knowledge. Period. And reading for pleasure now seems like a faraway dream.

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Building a Theme through Character Arcs

April 3, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We normally create stories where the point—the theme—is in line with our worldview. But it’s not unusual for our characters to hold opposite beliefs, even our protagonists. At least to start. And their story journey is often where our theme lies.

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Story Themes: What’s Your Worldview?

April 1, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We often struggle with identifying a story’s theme, and when it comes to including themes in our own stories, we might be at a loss for how to do so. This past weekend, a writing workshop for preteens included lessons on how to write with themes. The processes the kids went through to discover how to incorporate themes in their stories might help us too.

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