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showing vs. telling

5 Tips for Finding Point-of-View Errors — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

See-Hear-Speak No Evil monkey sculpture with text: 5 Ways to Find POV Errors

As we learn writing craft, we often go through phases. Just when we think we know everything there is to know, we discover another area to learn. One area I struggle with, even though I know the rules, is out-of-POV phrases. Luckily, one of my editors is a genius at finding these, and she’s here to share her tips.

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November 3, 2015

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When Is a Good Editor Not Good for Your Story? — Guest: Misti Wolanski

Modern building beside old brick building with text: Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

Many writers write both fiction and non-fiction (even if the latter is just blog posts), but the two types of writing require different skills—from authors and from editors. The better we understand the differences, the better we can follow the right rules at the right time and the better we can judge whether an editor is skilled in the right areas to be a good editor for us.

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September 8, 2015

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Point of View: What Does Your Character Know?

Signpost with text: Confused about POV?

When it comes to learning about point of view and how to avoid issues like head-hopping, it doesn’t help that half the information out there is confusing and contradictory. Let’s take a closer look at how we can find and fix these issues.

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June 4, 2015

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What Are Your Favorite Writing-Related Books?

Shadow of reading glasses create a heart on a book with text: What Are Your Favorite Writing Books?

I’ve added a page to my site to list my favorite writing craft and reference books. I’ve added several books that I thought of off the top of my head, but I know I’m forgetting a bunch too. So let me share the books I thought of, and let’s see what others have to add to the suggestions.

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February 19, 2015

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The Psychology of Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

Paper torn to reveal a drawn heart with text: The Psychology Behind Emotions

We usually want to keep the reader immersed in the story and keep readers’ interest by engaging their emotions. But when we understand the psychology driving emotions, we might be able to make those emotions more realistic or recognize when there’s a disconnect on a character’s emotional journey.

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November 18, 2014

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Ask Jami: How Do We Describe Characters?

High-heeled shoes with text: How Do We Describe Characters?

How we describe characters often depends on our story’s genre and what impression we want readers to have. When we’ve talked about descriptions here before, we focused on how it’s important to describe our settings enough to anchor our readers. Do we have to describe our characters to the same extent?

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October 28, 2014

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Cause and Effect: Understanding Story Flow

Waterfall with text: Don't Mess with Story Flow

In the real world, the cause of something happens before the effect. But in writing, we can put words into any order we want, which might leave the reader confused. If they have to reverse events in their head, they’re probably no longer immersed in our story. Not good.

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October 9, 2014

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Showing Emotions: Finding the Right Balance

Stacked stones in a tower with text: Balancing Emotions in Our Story

The ability to manipulate our readers’ emotions is a good thing (as screwed up as that sounds). Storytelling and keeping readers’ interest often comes down to creating emotions in our readers. So let’s take a closer look at how we create emotions in our readers and how we find the right balance.

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September 25, 2014

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First Pages: Tips to Avoid Cliches and Weak Writing

Blank book open to first page with text: What's on Your First Page?

Many stories “strike out” with readers in the first chapter. So our opening pages are just as critical to sales as our book cover, title, back-cover blurb, etc. Let’s take a closer look at cliches to avoid and tips to make those pages work for us.

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September 18, 2014

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How to Use Layers to Show Intense Emotions

Stack of terracotta tiles with text: 3 Steps to Using Layers to Write Intense Emotions

A “numb” reaction isn’t unusual for dark or deep emotions. In fact, it’s probably fairly normal. But it makes writing the scene more difficult. How do we show numb and deep emotions at the same time? How can readers connect to an emotionless character?

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July 1, 2014

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