Exploring the Biodome Trope… since we really built one.

Alright sci-fi fans… I hate to burst bubbles here. We’re a long way from self-sustaining bases in space, and especially far from them on other planets. Thankfully we have fiction! In our little fun worlds, we can accept that...

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“Can I write about this?” – Yes, on one condition.

People love classifying other people. Our minds are happily oriented around patterns, but when it comes to making sense of others, especially those who are different than us, we get into trouble. Writers who want to tell a story...

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The Name of the Wind and strange couches

Coming back to reading fiction after nonfiction feels a bit like hitting Friday night and picking your favorite poison. Some people throw themselves into it, drown in a glorious oblivion, and suffer their hangover while counting down to Friday...

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Writing Fan Fiction

The writing community has some wide-ranging opinions about fan fiction, and many people who write it themselves have conflicted feelings. “Is this stealing?” some ask. Others grapple with how much time they spend on it wondering, “Is this a...

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No Excuses. A year long writing course for free.

This will sound like a commercial. It sort of is, but it’s a recommendation made out of respect, gratitude, and a deep love for the Writing Excuses podcast. For the last three years, this crew of well-esteemed and staggeringly talented...

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Pacing Your Book So Time Will Fly

Does time really fly when you’re having fun? Well, it sure does when you’re reading a book with perfect pacing. When we feel like time is flying by (or dragging along), the seconds aren’t any longer or shorter than...

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Keep Readers by Using Variable Rewards

The big thing in entertainment today is addiction. The products we use – especially computer programs, games, and apps – are designed to hook users into habitual use, then encourage repeated purchases to fuel our investment of time. Before we...

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Writing Exercises: Why do we use them, and do we need them?

There are some great stories of writing exercises out there that have changed writers’ lives, styles, even dreams. Some are simply interesting, and a few make you wonder why we do these at all. In my final writing course, our...

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Word-Hacking Emotion

Forget brain surgery, its poetry and psychology that hack our minds. Yes, we generally discuss narrative here, but the principles of poetry are what turn description and detail into mind control engines. Remember your lessons on imagery? Unless your English...

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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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