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The Silver Lining of Bad Reviews

Clouds with a glint of sunlight and text: Are Bad Reviews *Always* Bad News?

Whether we pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing, rejection is a given for writers. Our choice simply comes down to how we’ll handle it. Will we let rejection hold us back, or can we see it as a sign that we’re doing something right?

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July 3, 2014

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The Danger of Political Correctness for Diverse Books

Magnetic desk toy with various colors of human figures with text: We Need Diverse Ideas

Diverse books are important—not simply for the sake of diversity—but so that by sheer number of representations, any one type of character isn’t limited to a stereotype. The truth is that we are all diverse. No one stereotypical character will ever represent us, no matter our color, nationality, or background.

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June 3, 2014

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Is “Do What You Love” Good Advice?

Graduation close-up with text: Is "Do What You Love" Good Advice?

Life is filled with work that needs to be done whether someone loves to do it or not. I’ll be the first to admit that I write because I love it. But the problem with thinking that we should do what we love and love what we do—as a career—is many layered.

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May 27, 2014

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How Can We Show a Character’s Internal Journey?

Trees growing over road with text: Our Character's Internal Journey

I’m a big fan of Michael Hauge’s approach to characters. His insights helped me figure out how to match a character’s internal journey to the external plot. This is often tricky, though, so let’s go deeper into how characters change.

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May 15, 2014

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What’s Your Fatal Flaw?

Sculpture of Achilles dying with text: What's Your Achilles Heel?

When we write, we try to give our characters both strengths and flaws. Giving our characters a mixture makes them seem more real, more three-dimensional. Of course, the fact that characters seem more real when they have both strengths and flaws reflects that we are also a mixture of strengths and flaws, and sometimes our flaws hold us back.

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May 13, 2014

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How to Raise the Stakes in Our Story

Stairs going up with text: Raising the Stakes in Our Story

“Raise the stakes throughout your story.” Advice like this is often given as though we all know what the phrase means. And on some level, we do know what it means: make the situation “worse.” But there are many ways to make a situation worse. As Serena Yung asked in a […]

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May 6, 2014

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Should We Learn to Write Series?

Connected chain links with text: Should We Write Series?

Many books recently on the bestseller lists have been part of series. From the Divergent series to the new cliffhanger and serial books, series are a popular trend. But what if we don’t naturally write series? Will we be left behind? The “lessons learned” section in my post about Beverly […]

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April 22, 2014

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Finding Balance: Play Hooky

Woman lying down in a meadow with text: Is It Time to Play Hooky?

When we were school-age, many of us recognized the need to blow off classes and responsibilities once in a while to play hooky. The exhilaration of “getting away with something” can recharge our burned-out batteries just as much as the trip to the shopping mall or whatever we did with […]

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March 13, 2014

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Taking Risks: You Have to Play the Game to Win

Cover slide of presentation: "Get the Most Out of a Writing Conference"

Last night, WANA International‘s online writing conference hosted Gabriela Pereira of DIY MFA for a free workshop offered as part of the run up to next weekend’s WANACon (February 21 and 22, 2014). Gabriela presented at last fall’s WANACon, and her popular sessions earned her a return invitation with two […]

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February 13, 2014

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Know Your Goals: Artist-Author or Professional-Author?

Red pencil with text: Artist? Or Professional?

The headline of this post isn’t a trick question. There isn’t only “one right answer.” As writers, we’re allowed to have different goals. Some might dream of money, others of making a difference in readers’ lives, or some a combination of both. Too often in the discussions about “how to […]

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January 23, 2014

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