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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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How to Make Turning Points Drive Arcs and Themes

February 11, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Last week, we looked at turning points from the perspective of beat sheets—how to identify them and ensure they’re changing the direction of the story enough to deserve their name. But turning points affect the story in other ways too. Turning points aren’t just about plot twists. (In fact, plot twists come with a warning.) […]

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Branding 101: Do You Have a Tagline?

December 31, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Even though I’m not a big fan of Facebook, I’ve been spending more time there lately. A major reason for that is I’ve discovered some fantastically helpful FB groups. One of the best is Facebook the WANA Way, started by Facebook guru Lisa Hall-Wilson. Lisa’s been a guest here before, comparing Facebook’s Profiles and Pages, […]

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Do You Know Your Story’s Subtext?

August 13, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last week we discussed the messages and meanings hidden within genre stories. Sometimes we, as writers, might not be aware of all the impressions readers take away from our writing. The messages readers get from our writing aren’t always explicitly stated. That is, a story’s meaning and hidden messages lurk in elements like subtext, theme, and […]

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Are Genre Stories More Stupid?

August 8, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I make no secret of the fact that I’m a genre girl. I prefer genre stories (of almost any genre) over most literary fiction. Ditto for movies. Give me an action, sci-fi, comic book, or adventure story, and I’ll be there buying tickets. Even for the cheesy ones like Green Lantern. (Though I’ll promptly make […]

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Three Tips for Better Storytelling

May 2, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last time, we talked about how good storytelling can salvage even a poorly written book. As I mentioned in that post, storytelling skill is different from writing skill. Many people have a hard time defining what makes good storytelling—and that makes it difficult for us to improve. Yet I’d argue that storytelling ability isn’t as […]

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