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Tip-heavy posts about writing skills and concepts that improve our stories. Sample topics: how to create a strong character, storytelling skills, information dumps, using point of view, subtext, using themes, building scenes, etc.

Why Is Storytelling Ability So Important?

Footbridge heading into woods with text: Tell Me a Story...

What makes some poorly written books fall flat on their face while others succeed despite their flaws? One common answer is “storytelling ability.” But what is storytelling? The concept can seem vague and immeasurable—rather like “voice.” A recent experience with two poorly written books gave me insight into how a […]

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April 30, 2013

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What Soap Operas Can Teach Us about Writing

Floating soap bubbles with text: Writing Tips from Soap Operas

I don’t watch soap operas, but a bizarre conversation tangent (in other words, a perfectly normal conversation for me) triggered my thoughts comparing soap operas to novels. On the surface, they seem very similar. They both have characters, tension, and conflict. However, the more I thought about it, the more […]

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April 23, 2013

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How to Revise for a Stronger Theme

Rope with text: Revising for a Stronger Theme

Last time, we talked about using our story’s and characters’ themes to keep us on track as we draft. But no matter how well we know our themes during drafting, we can probably make them stronger in revision. Maybe we thought a character’s arc would focus on one theme, but […]

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February 21, 2013

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Will Omniscient POV Ever Be Popular Again?

Close up of a face with text: Writing in Close-Up: Will Omniscient POV Ever Be Popular Again?

My recent post about avoiding “information dumps” prompted a conversation in the comments about omniscient point-of-view (POV) and its use of “telling” rather than “showing.” Serena Yung wanted to know why omniscient POV—and thus, telling rather than showing—are less common now than in the classics. She’s certainly right about omniscient being […]

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January 22, 2013

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Four Tips for Fixing the Infamous “Info Dump”

Old VW Bug in a dump with text: 4 Tips to Avoid Dumping Information

While I’m on holiday vacation this week, I’ll share a post from my early days of blogging. We’ve all heard of those eye-rolling, telling “information dumps,” yet at some point, we all have to get chunks of information across to the reader. My usual technique with world-building is to show, […]

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December 27, 2012

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Actions and Reactions: The End-All-Be-All of Storytelling

Rippled panel with text: Building a Story One Action & Reaction at a Time

This might be a deep philosophical post. Or it might be random thoughts triggered by my remaining sugar coma (7 Thanksgiving desserts!). You’ll have to let me know. I’d been thinking about doing another post about actions and reactions in writing, but the more I thought about it, the bigger […]

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November 29, 2012

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Michael Hauge’s Workshop: Are These Characters the Perfect Match?

Two matched puzzle pieces with text: Find the Perfect Match...for your Character

Last time I shared tips from Michael Hauge’s presentation at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference about how to make romance (or love interest) relationships feel deep and not superficial. Most of us have probably read books where, at the end of the story, we didn’t trust the couple to […]

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August 14, 2012

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Michael Hauge’s Workshop: An Antidote to “Love at First Sight”

Close up of eye and text "Love at First Sight? Or Lazy Writing?"

By far, the best workshop I attended at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Annual Conference was Michael Hauge‘s presentation, “Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories.” Unlike every other workshop, Michael gave his presentation twice. I attended on the second day and the room was standing-room-only packed. The first day was likely […]

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August 9, 2012

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