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literary

Showing vs. Telling: Don’t Assume Showing Is Better

Stacks of Lego blocks with text: Worldbuilding: When Telling Is Required

In the writing world, we often hear the advice to “show, don’t tell.” I’ve mentioned before that telling isn’t bad or something to be avoided at all costs, and a fantastic post by Cecilia Tan points out how the advice can actually be harmful.

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August 9, 2018

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What Do You Want in a Bookstore?

Aisle between bookshelves leading to large window with text: Imagine Your Ideal Bookstore...

Many authors dream of working with books beyond just writing them and become editors, agents, librarians, or booksellers. In fact, Angela Quarles, my writing bestie, is opening a bookstore! And she’s looking for suggestions to make her genre- and writer-friendly shop among the best.

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August 2, 2018

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Genre -Is- Worldbuilding

Blueprint of a house with text: Building Our Story World with Genre

An article comparing the Arrival movie to its short story inspiration triggered me to see Genre differently. In short, our story’s genre is simply the worldbuilding “lens” we use to explore our story’s meaning.

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October 10, 2017

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Genre Reading: Is “Escapism” a Bad Thing?

Barrel-of-monkey toys linked inside jar to the top edge with text: Can Readers Escape with a Story?

Certain types of reading are sometimes valued more than others. One descriptive term that’s often used as a put-down for genre stories is escapism, but is romance or any other genre story really “escapism”? What does that mean? Is escapism a “bad” thing, and if so, why?

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April 18, 2017

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Strengthen Your Writing with Rhetorical Devices

Crop stems in winter snow with text: Rhetorical Devices: Turning Language into Emotions

If you’re anything like me, and your English or grammar instruction was less than ideal, you might not be familiar with the term rhetorical devices. But once I did learn about them, I quickly became aware of how using rhetorical devices can strengthen our writing—even if we’re writing genre stories.

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June 30, 2016

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Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

Stick figure in a maze with text: What Do Your Characters Choose?

Ashley asked a question in the comments last week that gets at the heart of strong, proactive characters. Even in literary fiction, characters are usually faced with making choices, and whatever triggers those choices is where we’ll find plot and character agency.

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May 17, 2016

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Can Genre Fiction Be “Art”?

Piet Mondrian's "Composition with Red Blue Yellow" with text: Can Genre Fiction Be "Art"?

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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April 17, 2014

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