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Author. Word gatherer. Developmental editor. Speaker. Wayfinder. Encourager.

Archive for the 'Writing advice' Category

“There’s the story, then there’s the real story, then there’s the story of how the story came to be told. Then there’s what you leave out of the story. Which is part of the story too.”  – Margaret Atwood

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Reality Check

There will always be a gap between your ideal self and your real self. There will always be a gap between your ideal writing and the writing you can actually accomplish. Write anyway. Your aim is to decrease the distance between these gaps.  Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

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Character arc

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Quick Take:

Stories are about change. The more painful the better. These difficult changes are going to happen to your protagonist–he or she will always be the character most hurt and changed by the story events. The effect of all these changes? A character arc. Proof that your protagonist has come through the fire, has been somehow […]

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Details to heighten conflict

Our daily lives are filled with insipid details, background sounds, and habitual responses. There is both sameness and comfort in the dailiness of our routines, the furnishings and clutter in our homes, the alarm clock buzzing each weekday morning. And our storytelling needs bits of this day-to-day normality to establish an authentic and breathing world.  Within […]

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Fiction is about the most interesting events in your protagonist’s life

If your story is not the most dramatic, intense, and difficult circumstances in your protagonist’s life, why then are you writing it?

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Advice from the brilliant Margaret Atwood

 When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion, dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood.It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you’re telling it, to yourself or to someone else. ~ Margaret Atwood […]

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Quick take: Skip the “took a”

Like many editors I’ve collected my own gaggle of words and phrases that I find annoying. I can become curmudgeonly if I spot certain words in a manuscript, especially when they’re abused and appear over and over. Now, I realize that taste and preference are highly subjective and chances are I might stand alone on […]

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Join us in Portland on February 20

For Write, Rewrite, Repeat It’s a one-day conference jammed, and I mean jammed, with insights, tactics and genius ideas you can you use to catapult your writing career into a higher gear and greater visibility. Keynote speaker is Fonda Lee. Martial artist, inventive author, whip-smart and savvy marketer. She’ll be talking about The Strategic Author. […]

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Quick Take: Make your Crucible Hell-Hot

In fiction the cauldron or crucible is a setting or situation that forces characters to change or make difficult decisions; to face what they’d rather not face. I’ve written about cauldrons before and mentioned how they must be inescapable. Two powerful examples come to mind–the islands in Lord of the Rings and Jurassic Park. Let’s return […]

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