What does your story assume?

In writing, there is always an intellectual frame in place. What that frame is, and how the writer selects it, is usually both taken for granted and similar to frames that are clearly accepted by the target audience. One...

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Direct Readers’ Focus: The Golden Ratio

Minute details are a double-edged sword to the flow of a story. Outright descriptors – adjectives and adverbs, even forceful verbs – have the power to choke out ideas and action. Artful concepts, however, can accomplish incredible feats of...

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Writing Wide Description: The Art of Zooming In

The golden ratio (see our introductory post: Writing with the Golden Ratio) is a geometric ratio that creates a positive reaction from people, especially in art and music. While this mathematic guide can be created artificially in a computer program,...

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3D Dialogue with Action Tags and Beats

Creating rich dialogue requires a variety of tools. Action tags and beats turn dialogue from a flat exchange into a multi-sensory experience. They incorporate the wide range of human communication by allowing for nonverbal cues, sensory detail, and indirect...

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Setting and “Show Don’t Tell”

Setting, the most description-heavy part of a story, benefits from the classic advice, “Show Don’t Tell”. We’ll be addressing this advice from a few different angles in other posts, but in this one it feels right to start with...

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2 Tricks for Powerful Description

Communication demands description. Incorporating it into narrative, however, can be tricky, especially when writing for entertainment. Linear storytelling demands that action occur and characters interact. Much of the art of writing requires description not only convey information, but also...

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Show, Don’t Tell (In Moderation)

Far from being a hard and fast rule of writing (or professional writing advice), the common adage “show, don’t tell” is better described on a spectrum of style. Firmly on the “tell” side, many early writers struggle to include the details...

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Description: When Less is More

A certain story circulated among first year students in the creative writing program: The university had had a visit from an up-and-coming author, a young woman who promised to make waves in the literary community. She brought nothing with her...

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Writing Exercises for Super Fans

Fanfiction is writing original content based on the work of another artist. Many people invest incredible time and energy into their fanfiction projects, and the potential variations are endless. This post is not to explain what it is, who...

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Story Mechanics: World-Building with Purpose

There are few things fantasy/sci-fi fans love more than a new, rich world ready to swallow them up for a great story! I know I love it. Creating a world, or world-building as the writers call it, can be...

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