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Editing Your Story

Editing tips and advice. Sample topics: saving broken stories, revising tricks, using beat sheets for revisions, making our writing stronger, MS Word tricks, fixing unlikable characters, etc.

MS Word Trick: Combining Changes and Comments

Sunflower with honeybees

We all have weaknesses.  Some people want to deny their imperfections, but most of us do what we can to overcome them. Like many writers, one of my weaknesses is my inability to interpret my words the way a reader does.  That’s not unusual.  We know what we meant to […]

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April 3, 2012

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Ask Jami: Editing Tips–Tightening Scenes

Tight hand squeezing a red foam heart

In my post last week asking if we can have too much voice, some great questions came up in the comments.  I decided to turn them into “Ask Jami” blog posts rather than bury the answers in the comment string. Earlier, I shared ideas on how to use color-coding to check if […]

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March 1, 2012

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Ask Jami: Editing Tips–How to Use Color-Coding

Blue highlighter pen

In my last blog post, where I shared the “two-paragraph guideline,” some great questions came up in the comments.  Rather than bury the answers in the comment string, I decided to turn them into “Ask Jami” posts. Today, we’re talking about how to make sure we’re using all the various writing […]

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February 23, 2012

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How to Revise for Structure, Part Two

Cover image of Larry Brooks's Story Engineering

Last time, we discussed Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat craft book and how we can use his writing tools to revise our work.  His beat sheet points out when story events (beats) should occur in a screenplay, and most of his advice applies to all forms of fiction writing. Whether we dig into […]

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February 14, 2012

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How to Use the “Save the Cat” Beat Sheet for Revisions

Cover image of Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat"

Before I start, thank you to everyone who commented, tweeted, and emailed me with support after my last post about losing my cat.  You all have filled me with virtual hugs and put a smile on my face.  Thank you.  *hugs back* In fact, after writing that post and reading […]

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February 9, 2012

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Pitch Prep: What Makes a Great First Page?

Series of outdoor entrances, pulling the eye deeper into a garden

It was a dark and stormy blog post.  *snicker* We’re continuing to prepare for the January 10-16th Pitch Your Shorts pitch session by tackling the issue of story openings.  (Check out Tuesday’s post for everything there is to know about pitching.) While the purpose of a pitch is to get a request, […]

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January 5, 2012

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How to Force a Story to Evolve: 6 Revision Tips

Collection of butterflies and chrysalises

*Quick Reminder: Don’t forget the Pitch Your Shorts pitch session coming January 10th.  Get your 10-60K stories ready.  More details to come.* I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season, no matter what holidays you celebrate.  While I’m enjoying some time with my family, I’ll share this post originally written […]

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December 27, 2011

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Story Climax: The Whole Point — Guest: Victoria Mixon

Picture of Victoria Mixon

I’m excited to share today’s guest post by editor A. Victoria Mixon with everyone.  Her new book The Art & Craft of Story: 2nd Practitioner’s Manual recently came out and is a great addition to our writing craft library. In fact, her blog tour posts have been excerpts from this […]

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November 15, 2011

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What Makes a Story Feel Unrealistic?

Sepia-toned drawing of nighttime on fantasy planet with large moon and hot air balloons

With fiction, a fine line exists between stories we can relate to (no matter how fantastical the setting, characters, or plot) and those we can’t. We’ve all heard the phrase “suspension of disbelief” in relation to movies and books to explain how we accept the impossible. Every genre has different […]

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November 10, 2011

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What Makes a Character Unlikable?

Frowning

Believe it or not, I sometimes actually follow my own advice.  *smile*  Recently, I helped score a few contest entries, just like I recommend in my post about why all writers should volunteer to judge contests. One of the entries was—I’m afraid there’s no nice way to say this—dreadful.  The […]

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June 21, 2011

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