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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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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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Story Tropes: Should We Avoid Them?

Field of tulips in Holland with text: Are Story Tropes Always Cliches--and Bad?

Several months ago, I saw a fascinating Storify by Carina Press editor Angela James. I meant to do a post about the issue she brought up, but I often have more blog post ideas than time. With my recent articles about subtext, genre stories, formulaic writing, and my guest post […]

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August 22, 2013

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Calling All Pantsers!

Close up of blue jeans with text: Calling All Pantsers

I’m afraid I don’t have much of a post here today, but I have a good excuse—with news to help writers. *smile* First, I have a guest post over at Paranormal Unbound, where Angela Quarles and I discuss the subtext in paranormal stories. What does it mean for the romance […]

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August 20, 2013

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Do You Know Your Story’s Subtext?

Book with a hole cut into the pages with text: What Message Is Hiding in Your Story?

Last week we discussed the messages and meanings hidden within genre stories. Sometimes we, as writers, might not be aware of all the impressions readers take away from our writing. The messages readers get from our writing aren’t always explicitly stated. That is, a story’s meaning and hidden messages lurk in […]

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August 13, 2013

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Are Genre Stories More Stupid?

Pacific Rim poster from ComicCon with text: Does "Genre" = Stupid?

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a genre girl. I prefer genre stories (of almost any genre) over most literary fiction. Ditto for movies. Give me an action, sci-fi, comic book, or adventure story, and I’ll be there buying tickets. Even for the cheesy ones like Green […]

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August 8, 2013

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7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

Relay race baton pass with text: Point of View: Handling Hand-Offs

Today’s a holiday in the U.S., so I’m dusting off and updating a post from the archives. While you’re here, don’t forget to comment on my Blogiversary post for a chance to win “me.” Want me to beta read for you or pick my brain about a writing or story […]

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July 4, 2013

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How to Revise for a Stronger Theme

Rope with text: Revising for a Stronger Theme

Last time, we talked about using our story’s and characters’ themes to keep us on track as we draft. But no matter how well we know our themes during drafting, we can probably make them stronger in revision. Maybe we thought a character’s arc would focus on one theme, but […]

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February 21, 2013

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How “The Amazing Spider-Man” Rocks Subtext

The Amazing Spider-Man movie poster with text added: "Subtext and" [The Amazing Spider-Man]

Subtext? In a comic book movie? Really, Jami? Yes, really. Now, I’m not calling The Amazing Spider-Man groundbreakingly genius or anything, but it’s an, er, amazingly good movie character-wise compared to… Oh, say, the Green Lantern. If you remember from my Green Lantern posts about how how not to write plot or characters, […]

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July 10, 2012

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