Writing Your Story

Tips and advice about writing processes and improving how we write. Sample topics: fast drafting, brainstorming techniques, getting in touch with our muse, writing difficult scenes, writing resources and tools, making writing a priority, etc.

Writing as Sculpture: Do You Build or Carve?

Michelangelo's David sculpture at night with text "Writing as Sculpture"

Writing is an art form, and yet I don’t usually think of myself as an artist. Maybe that’s because when I think of art, I think of visual arts (I draw stick figures) or musical arts (I don’t play an instrument or compose music). Logically, I know there are plenty of […]

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October 4, 2012

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What Should Newbie Writers Focus On?

Young woman holding a book, text: Advice for New Writers

A couple of months ago, a teenage writer left a comment on Roz Morris’s blog, asking how she could afford an editor. She* didn’t want to get a job, because that would take away from her writing time, and she didn’t want to go to college, because she didn’t want […]

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September 27, 2012

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Are Your Characters Based on Real People?

"Careful, or you'll end up in my novel" mug

One of the stereotypical author interview questions is “Are any of your characters based on real people?” And I’m always struck when an author answers “Yes.” Usually, they’ll even share that so-and-so was based on such-and-such person. Sometimes they’ve based a character on a friend or family member. Sometimes they’ve […]

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September 6, 2012

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From Newbie to Published: 12 Tips — Guest: Tiffany Allee

Picture of Tiffany Allee

While I’m at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Annual Conference this week, I’ve invited two authors who have recently debuted to share their insights. Today, I’m excited to introduce Tiffany Allee. Tiffany and I actually know each other in real life, as we belong to the same RWA chapter and I mooch […]

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July 24, 2012

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How to Make the Most of a Scene

Colorful puzzle pieces half assembed

This post originally ran several months ago at the Girls With Pens blog.  It’s one of my favorites because I’m always looking for checklists to make sure I’m not missing anything while editing and revising.  I hope you find it useful. Whether we plot our stories ahead of time or write […]

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June 7, 2012

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How to Use Holidays in Our Writing

Decorated star-shaped cookies

*Quick Reminder: I hope you’re all getting a 10-60K story ready for the Pitch Your Shorts pitch session coming January 10th.* Most of us have a favorite holiday (or two).  Sometimes we love a holiday because of the meaning behind the day.  Sometimes we love a holiday because of the celebrations […]

December 29, 2011

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Write Fiction? Why You Should Try a Short Story

Silhouette of person doing a bugle call

My regular readers know I typically write novel-length stories.  However, during one crazy four-day stretch, I wrote a long-ish short story/short-ish novella (novelette?).  For those of you following along at home, I’m referring to my story inspired by spam. I’ve blogged before about how the experience was a great way […]

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December 22, 2011

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Can You “Fast Draft”?

Draft stamp

Several writers I know have recently tried the “Fast Draft” method.  What is the Fast Draft method?  Fast drafting entails getting the framework of our stories down as fast as possible—without worrying what that draft looks like. Author Candace Havens says it’s possible to complete a first draft in two weeks. […]

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November 8, 2011

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How Do You Stretch Yourself?

Woman doing yoga stretch

With any job or activity, if we want to get better, we have to stretch ourselves.  Athletes strive to move faster or stronger.  Musicians aim to complete a harder, more intricate piece of music.  And writers… How do writers stretch themselves? We can collect feedback on our writing from beta […]

September 13, 2011

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What’s the Hardest Scene You’ve Ever Written?

Long, tall stairs leading up into distance

(Note: I am not Tawna Fenske, so that title is not a euphemism for anything.  Sorry.  However, this post might include a reference to a shower scene of one woman with two guys.  Or not.) I mentioned last time that one day of the weekend was taken up by writing-related […]

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September 1, 2011

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