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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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Can We Have Too Much Voice?

Pile of doughnuts

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?  Sure.  We’ve all overindulged in our favorite foods before.  No matter how much we might like sweets or any other type of food, something can be too sweet, too rich, too whatever. In my last post about how to add […]

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February 21, 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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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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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Dragon fruit

Artists of every type find inspiration all around them, and writers are no exception.  Ideas might come in the form of a dream, a “what if” question, an overheard conversation, etc. Those are all fairly normal sources of inspiration.  Personally, I’ve been inspired by dreams, “what if”s, an 80’s music […]

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September 15, 2011

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Do You Write for Yourself or Your Readers?

Empty seats in a stadium

Many writers, especially new ones, talk about how they write for themselves.  When we first start out, we might not know if we’ll even be able to finish the project, so it makes sense that we’re writing for ourselves. We want to get this story out of our head.  We want to […]

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August 25, 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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The Green Lantern Movie: How *Not* to Plot a Story

Green Lantern Movie image

I recently saw the Green Lantern movie.  I know, I know.  The reviews were terrible, but I often enjoy turn-brain-off movies.  This fun-but-dumb superhero action flick definitely fit the bill. But the real entertainment came after the movie, as my family and I analyzed why this superhero movie failed compared to other […]

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July 5, 2011

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A Perfectionist’s Guide to Editing: 4 Stages

Red funnel

Yes, I’m still under deadline, but an interesting issue came up in the comments on my last post about perfectionism.  Perfectionists tend to be nitpicky, no surprise there.  But there’s a time when that trait is very helpful, and a time when we need to ignore the compulsion to tweak. […]

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March 3, 2011

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