Demons of Writing: The First Draft

First pages aren’t as big of an issue, these days. More people are putting their feelings into words than ever before with social media. Content and quality aren’t so important in that venue, but the virtue is in more...

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5 Questions for Tackling Big Issues

"Write about something you feel strongly about." "Write about what disturbs you." "Don't shy away from writing something difficult." This common piece of advice appears phrased dozens of ways. The first time I heard it was from a middle school English teacher in...

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Plot Twists: Expanding Your World

Story structures require control of perception and the element of surprise. Plotting is all about retaining and releasing information to create dramatic and purposeful connections between the elements of the story. Plot twists (here simply defined as revelatory moments that...

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4 Tips for Reviewing Test Reader Feedback

Writing communities and classes frequently recommend seeking feedback and constructive criticism from test readers. Taking criticism gracefully is another favorite topic in writing circles. It’s a challenge to get over the emotional and psychological hurdles of having fellow humans...

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Story Generators: From Traits to Action

Generators are great. Stuck for a character? All you have to do is turn a card or click a button and boom! There’s one complete with useful traits, their fate, flaws, weaknesses, and maybe even a little backstory. You...

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Note Card Plotting: Unwrapped

One of the more recognizable plotting methods out there is Note card Plotting. The idea of physically carrying and rearranging ideas appeals especially well to hands-on or visual writers, though the specifics of the method vary. Note Card Plotting General Method:...

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2 Methods for Writing Powerful Themes

There’s much more to a story than what happens. Theme, for example, can simply be described as what a story means. This post isn’t to describe theme, so for that you can visit an excellent post over at Writers...

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Writer Tools: The Synopsis and Cover Blurb

Writing a book, no matter the genre or subject matter, is a huge task. Getting the manuscript just right can take years of work and dozens of drafts. After all this, some aspiring authors feel a bit cheated when...

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Project Distraction: Shiny Object Syndrome and Plot Bunnies

Writers, like all creative people, hope to never run short of ideas. Unfortunately, focus problems plus an abundance of ideas add up to distraction. There are several terms for this, including but not limited to the more popular two:...

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The Ugly Work of Writing

Writing is isolated work, performed within the mind, transferred to paper by simple mechanical means, and then finally shared only after it’s finished. Like any art, the stages of the project are most often hidden, and the artist is...

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