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Category: Writing

Skywalker Stands Alone

Skywalker Stands Alone

[Warning: This post contains significant spoilers for two of the three Star Wars movies. If you have not seen A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, you should do so before reading this post. Also, what’s wrong with you? They’re cultural touchstones that have been out forever.] Standalone, with Series Potential If you are submitting your book to publishers, it’s common to see the advice that, even if you intend it to be a thirty-one-volume series with four spin-offs,…

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Feedback Tips: Part Two – What Feedback to Ask For

Feedback Tips: Part Two – What Feedback to Ask For

In part one, I talked about when to ask for feedback. If you missed that post, you can find it here. However, the next major issue that people have with feedback is knowing what kind of feedback to ask for. If you scroll through /r/writing’s stickied critique thread, you’ll notice that quite a few of the posts just say, “any feedback at all” or “whatever advice you feel like.” Almost all of the posts that just get dropped in (and…

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Choosing Your Characters

Choosing Your Characters

When you decide to write a story, you’ll almost always already have the main characters in mind. After all, you can’t have even the idea of a story without characters to fill it out. So it may seem strange to talk about choosing your characters. But, just like when you’re evaluating a scene, you have to be sure that each character is serving a purpose and driving the story forward. It’s one of the hardest evaluations to do when you’re…

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The Opening Line

The Opening Line

Tuesday, we talked about your opening scene and what purpose it serves. It needs to introduce the main character, explain why that character is interesting, and lead into the plot. Today, we’ll focus in a little more and look at the first paragraph of the book. Some of these things may seem like they overlap with Tuesday’s post. They’re supposed to. For obvious reasons, what you’ve chosen for your first scene affects what you do in the first line. This…

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The Opening Scene

The Opening Scene

Your opening scene is important, because that’s where you have to hook the reader. If they don’t care about your main character by the end of the first scene, they’re unlikely to finish your story, much less enjoy it. One book I recently started to read opened with a ten-page prologue set a hundred years after the actual story. I made it to page twelve. Another opened with the POV character talking to her sister over breakfast, with a paragraph…

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Read in Your Genre

Read in Your Genre

For most of us, our enjoyment of writing grew out of our love of reading. Some wanted to continue a story that someone else had written, so they write fan fiction. Some people write because they enjoy the process of storytelling that they’ve seen in other books. Personally, I write because of the world building I enjoyed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and all the authors that have followed in his footsteps.

Said is Dead

Said is Dead

Last week, we talked about the dangers of having a thesaurus around when you are writing. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most common things a thesaurus will do: kill “said.”

An Editor Grumbles About Punctuation: Exclamation Points, Commas, and Semicolons.

An Editor Grumbles About Punctuation: Exclamation Points, Commas, and Semicolons.

As you may have guessed from the title, today we’re going to talk about different errors in punctuation. I know, it’s everyone’s favorite thing to read about on a Thursday morning. But punctuation is one of those little things that can screw up a good book, especially when it changes the meaning of the sentence. Knowing the rules for how these work will help you do better in your first draft, which means editing and proofreading will go much easier.