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showing vs. telling

3 Tips for Skipping the Boring Parts

Long road toward mountains in the distance with text: Skip to the Good Parts

I was going to rant about poor editing today, but I closed the wrong window in my computer and lost all 1000 words. *sigh* So I’ll try it again later when I’m not so sleep deprived from WANACon preparation. Instead, I’m revisiting a different topic today. We’ve heard the saying: Life […]

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February 20, 2014

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How to Make Turning Points Drive Arcs and Themes

Road curving through trees with text: Turning Points Drive a Story

Last week, we looked at turning points from the perspective of beat sheets—how to identify them and ensure they’re changing the direction of the story enough to deserve their name. But turning points affect the story in other ways too. Turning points aren’t just about plot twists. (In fact, plot […]

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February 11, 2014

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How to Strengthen Emotions in Our Writing

Dumbbell with text: Stronger Emotions Strengthen Our Writing

Last time, we discussed ways to use The Emotion Thesaurus to avoid problems like telling instead of showing, head-hopping away from the point-of-view character, and clichéd writing. The fourth issue we touched on was avoiding flat or unemotional writing. This last one is a bigger issue than can be summed up in […]

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December 12, 2013

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Fix 4 Common Writing Problems with “The Emotion Thesaurus”

Cover of the Emotion Thesaurus with text: Writing Tips with The Emotion Thesaurus

A couple of weeks ago, Becca Puglisi, one of the co-authors of the fantastic Thesaurus books, shared her tips for using the new The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus books. Her advice can help us develop our characters at all stages of planning, drafting, and editing. But the […]

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December 10, 2013

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Ask Jami: Writing Advice Podcast

Art Share.org logo and episode information

Yesterday, Brigid Ashwood interviewed me for her weekly Art Share podcast. On Art Share, Brigid speaks with authors and other creative artists about all aspects of the creative arts—from processes to business matters. She broadcasts live as a Google+ Hangouts On Air, which is then posted as a YouTube video so […]

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November 21, 2013

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How to Make Characters Vulnerable to Readers

A turtle in the middle of a road with text: Are Your Characters Vulnerable?

Most tips for creating sympathetic characters point out that our characters need flaws. And that’s very true. But it can be a real trick to show flaws for characters who bottle up their emotions in an attempt to hide their weaknesses. While very common, that defense mechanism can leave very […]

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November 7, 2013

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Showing vs. Telling: When Is Telling Okay?

Woman whispering into another woman's ear with text: When Is Telling Okay?

We’ve probably all heard the advice to “show don’t tell” more times than we can count. Like most advice, it’s worded as an absolute, making it seem as though telling is never okay.

Once we’re experienced, we know that’s not true. Some telling is absolutely okay, and in certain cases, is preferable to showing.

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October 8, 2013

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4 Tips to Solve 99% of Your Writing Problems — Guest: Janice Hardy

Underwater picture with text: Dive Deep to Solve Your Writing Problems

I’ve gushed many times about the awesomeness of Janice Hardy’s blog—for good reason. Her writing tips are clear and insightful. She discusses topics more thoroughly than most. And it’s a rare thing when I can’t find an answer to a writing question there. She’s also a super-fantastic person (I’ve met […]

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October 3, 2013

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What Do Your Characters Falsely Believe?

Text: How Are Your Characters (big red letters) WRONG!

Last year, I wrote a series of posts about a fabulous presentation by Michael Hauge on “Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories.” But the teachings I picked up from the presentation went far beyond being applicable only to romance. Blogger extraordinaire Janice Hardy was in the workshop with me, and […]

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September 26, 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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