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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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Expand Our Senses and Improve Our Descriptions

Sleep mask with text: Describing with Other Senses

How many hundreds of times have we all heard the advice to “show not tell”? That’s often good advice (except for the times when it’s not *smile*). Other than the exceptions, “showing” usually is better than telling because it pulls the reader deeper into the story. But that means we […]

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June 12, 2014

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Literary vs. Genre Fiction: Which Do You Prefer?

Rustic gate opening to a wildflower field with text: Our Reading Habits: Do You Believe in Fate?

Reading is subjective. The stories some of us hate, others love. Personally, I have no interest in non-genre stories. This is not a sign of my inability to think deeply, but rather a personal preference. Mary Buckham’s ideas about the differences between literary and commercial fiction made me wonder about this preference.

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April 15, 2014

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Rediscovering Our Love of Reading

Woman reading on a beach with text: The Importance of Reading for Pleasure

Too many kids who were voracious readers earlier in their life learn to hate reading during their teenage years. According to a post on Writer Unboxed, one third of high school graduates won’t read another book—for the rest of their lives. For too many, reading becomes a means to an end. Absorbing knowledge. Period. And reading for pleasure now seems like a faraway dream.

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April 10, 2014

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Building a Theme through Character Arcs

Chalkboard with text: Theme: What Lesson Have You Learned?

We normally create stories where the point—the theme—is in line with our worldview. But it’s not unusual for our characters to hold opposite beliefs, even our protagonists. At least to start. And their story journey is often where our theme lies.

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April 3, 2014

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Story Themes: What’s Your Worldview?

Graphic of human looking up at space with text: Improve Story Themes with Our Core Beliefs

We often struggle with identifying a story’s theme, and when it comes to including themes in our own stories, we might be at a loss for how to do so. This past weekend, a writing workshop for preteens included lessons on how to write with themes. The processes the kids went through to discover how to incorporate themes in their stories might help us too.

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April 1, 2014

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What Makes a Romance Believable?

Wedding picture of couple holding hands with text: What Makes a Romance Believable?

Okay, so I’m a week-and-a-half late for Valentine’s Day and the topic of this post. I’ll “blame” the time I put into WANACon. *smile* We had a fantastic and successful WANACon though, with great sessions on many writing-related topics, so I’ll call it a worthwhile trade. I recently came across […]

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February 25, 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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Tell Me When: Real-Life Stalking Isn’t Sexy

Dark tunnel with figure at the end with text: Stalking: Real Life vs. Fiction

I’m going to tell you a story in today’s post, but I first want to provide some context, as the topic is out of the norm for me. This post is part of Stina Lindenblatt’s Tell Me When blog hop. Her debut releases January 20th from Carina Press, and as Stina mentions […]

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January 14, 2014

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