Hello, may I present…

Introducing a character to the reader is a bit like introducing that special someone to your parents. The temptation is to tell everything you know about them so the reader will love them as much as you do.  The problem is that page and some of extolling the character’s looks,

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Styles and Formatting

Book Template The link above will download an updated .docx file with paragraph styles I use most often defined. I’ve set them now so the proper style follows automatically so you don’t need to remember to change them. The advantage is you don’t have to wade through the dozens on

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Preparing your manuscript for editing

Preparing your Manuscript for Editing Workshop This the outline I used for a workshop to help prepare writers to make the most effective use out of an editorl What is editing? Content/Structural Editing Foundational issues: Plot, character, tone, structure, world building Copy/Line Editing Prose, sentences, paragraphs, pacing. Word use and

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The Joy of Nuance: The dreaded Thesaurus Rex

A thesaurus can be a writer’s best friend, but like all good friends it can lead us into trouble. When we gleefully substitute synonyms for the word we’re overusing it is essential we pay attention to the nuances of meaning. Let’s look at smile as an example. Here are some

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Shades of Nuance: Shades of Feeling

Everyone knows feelings are essential to evocative writing. Without emotions there is little reason for the reader to care about what is going on in the story or what happens to the characters. So we write how our characters are angry, or sad, or furious, or happy or any of

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Break Dancing, or Where to End your Chapter

Some people like long chapters that pull them deep into the world that the author is weaving around the the story. Others like short chapters. To say that all chapters must be long, or that all must be short would be similar to saying that you have write all long

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How to add words without bloating.

So you have a killer story and want to send it to a publisher who you know will love it. Only they insist submissions be a few thousand words more than what you have in your book. Here are some ways of adding in words without making your story feel

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The Joy of Nuance

The slow death of boring beats One of the things I see over and over again as an editor and critiquer is the two word beat. It looks like this: “Hello,” John said, “how’s it hanging?” “Mmmhp.” Bill shrugged. “Not so good these days. John nodded. “I know what you

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Writing Emotionally Gripping Text

At the beginning of Romancing the Stone, Kathleen Turner’s character is banging away on her typewriter as she bawls her eyes out over the conclusion of her story. A nice scene and one I heard other writers talk about playing out in their own writing life. Here they are finally

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Ready for your close-up?

Jim Bondo rolled under the table with his gun. He always had his gun handy for situations just like this one. He squeezed the trigger and a carefully controlled stream of glue was forced into the space between the loose leg and the rest of the old wooden table. He knew Sara loved this table and fixing it was

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