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Exploiting Our Brand: Is There a “Right” Way?

Giant can of Coke for a Coke machine

Our brand is the impression others have of us.  So we all have a brand, whether we know it or not.  Hopefully, we’re building a brand that reflects who we really are, in a way that shows us at our best (however we each define “best”). Once we have a […]

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March 29, 2012

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Who Cares about Quality Writing Anymore?

Bored girl holding her head in her hand

No, that’s not a rhetorical or trick question.  Recent events in the publishing industry have left me asking that as a serious point of confusion and discouragement. I know this is an ongoing complaint about the state of literature.  Over a century ago, people complained about penny dreadfuls and dime novels, and […]

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March 13, 2012

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Write Fiction? Why You Should Try a Short Story

Silhouette of person doing a bugle call

My regular readers know I typically write novel-length stories.  However, during one crazy four-day stretch, I wrote a long-ish short story/short-ish novella (novelette?).  For those of you following along at home, I’m referring to my story inspired by spam. I’ve blogged before about how the experience was a great way […]

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December 22, 2011

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Do You Enjoy Fantastical Stories?

Paranormal/moody image of a woman in front of a stone cross in moonlight

We’ve talked about the importance of keeping our stories believable, but the fantasy genre (and all its subgenres) require certain aspects to be unrealistic. Character types and plot points involving dragons, superheroes, vampires, etc. are all beyond the reality of our world.  What does that mean for the reader? A […]

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November 29, 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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Religion in Novels: Terrific or Taboo? — Guest: Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund picture

I’m excited to share today’s guest post with you because in addition to being a lovely person, Jody Hedlund runs a fantastic blog for writers.  As if that wasn’t enough, she’s also graciously arranged for a book giveaway of her latest release, The Doctor’s Lady (see bottom of post for details). Jody writes historical […]

September 22, 2011

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How Do You Stretch Yourself?

Woman doing yoga stretch

With any job or activity, if we want to get better, we have to stretch ourselves.  Athletes strive to move faster or stronger.  Musicians aim to complete a harder, more intricate piece of music.  And writers… How do writers stretch themselves? We can collect feedback on our writing from beta […]

September 13, 2011

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What Wrong Turns Have You Made?

Danger, wrong way, turn back warning sign

Kristen Lamb asked an interesting question on her blog last week, Are We Born to Create?  Her posts often make me think and inspire my own posts here.  (Her unofficial muse skill is one of the reasons I’ve dubbed her “awesome-dipped-in-glitter” (TM).  *smile*) More specifically, she wondered if creative people […]

August 9, 2011

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Should Books Have a Rating System?

Movie trailer PG-13 rating card

This must be the week for me stepping into controversial topics.  It’s a good thing I’m still wearing my flameproof jacket from my last post on plot vs. character.  *smile* It’s been a while since Meghan Cox Gurdon’s article at the Wall Street Journal and her contention that young adult (YA) […]

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July 28, 2011

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What Drives a Story: Plot or Characters?

Dog sled in the snow

Wish me luck.  I’m about to dive into one of the eternal debates among writers.  Which is “better”: a plot-driven story or a character-driven story? If you’re not familiar with the debate, let me explain why this question is so fraught with potential landmines.  A common snub against genre stories […]

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July 26, 2011

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