From the blog

How to use Active Reading to Become a Better Writer

by Jed Herne Mar 13, 2017

How to use Active Reading to Become a Better Writer

Authors often discuss how reading improves your writing. However, there’s a big difference between passive and active reading, and if you’re serious about using published novels to improve your writing you must learn how to do the later.

When you read passively, you consuming a novel as entertainment – you’re trawling through without paying attention to detail. This lets you form a broad judgement (“this is great!”).

By contrast, active reading involves specific focus on an author’s craft. It is to passive reading what fly-fishing is to trawling. Active reading encourages your judgement to be precise (“this is great because the chapter endings created lots of suspense!”).

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Why You Should Be Able to State Your Story's Theme in One Sentence

by Kathy Edens Mar 13, 2017

Why You Should Be Able to State Your Story's Theme in One Sentence

Theme is not your character arc, nor is it the plot or what happens to your character. It's actually the essence that ties those two together. If someone asks you "what is your book about?" you don't respond with scene-by-scene detail, or the changes your character goes through.

You think of your character and what essential thing she or he comes to understand through the course of the book.

If you can't do that, you don't have a firm grasp on your story's theme.

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Advice from Kurt Vonnegut that Every Writer Needs to Read

by Fred Johnson Mar 08, 2017

Advice from Kurt Vonnegut that Every Writer Needs to Read

Kurt Vonnegut, author of such classics as Slaughterhouse Five and Breakfast of Champions, stands today as one of the 20th century’s most important American writers. I can’t think of anyone better placed to give literary advice, and, thankfully, he agreed with me.

These eight tips were originally written by Vonnegut to apply exclusively to writers of short stories, but I reckon they’re just as useful for writers of longer fiction.

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Writing App Reviews… One Stop For Writers

by Kathy Edens Mar 06, 2017

Writing App Reviews… One Stop For Writers

The founders of Writers Helping Writers have created an innovative platform for writers to boost their creativity and enhance their skill set: One Stop For Writers. The creators call it the "library," and it's complete with an "Information Desk," "Thesaurus," "The Stacks," and more.

Whether this is your first rodeo and you need some entry level writing help, or you're an old hand and just want a fun way to plan your novel, One Stop For Writers has scads of resources, templates, online tools, and lessons to help you write the best novel yet.

We're going to cover just the highlights because it can take you days of roaming around the "library" to see and experience everything.

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How I Live and Work as an American Expat Writer (and You Can Too)

by Jerry Nelson Mar 03, 2017

How I Live and Work as an American Expat Writer (and You Can Too)

I'm the guy you read about that works from any of the hundreds of sidewalk cafes in Buenos Aires, travels to Uruguay to wander the avenidas, fishes for Piranha in the Amazon, camps in Patagonia, watches the monkeys play in the rainforest and spends the night in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid's cabin in Bariloche.

And then I write about it.

I live the life that thousands of people say they want to live. Someone said if you want to be doing something in life, find someone who is doing it, and then do what they do. I want to peel back the veil and show you what I do.

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Infographic: Where Did These 10 Bestselling Authors go to College?

by ProWritingAid Mar 03, 2017

Infographic: Where Did These 10 Bestselling Authors go to College?

Want to be a writer? Wondering where some of the bestselling American authors got their educations?

Check it out!

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How to Use Trello to Storyboard Your Novel

by Kathy Edens Feb 28, 2017

How to Use Trello to Storyboard Your Novel

You may have noticed that we at ProWritingAid have a fondness for technology that makes writers better, stronger, more organized, and highly productive. If you like creating a storyboard for your novels, or if you want an innovative app to capture all of your to-do’s for your client work, let us introduce Trello.

For those of us who use sticky notes, index cards, and other forms of reminders to help you organize everything you need for a writing project, Trello is the easiest, most intuitive way to organize your work.

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Putting Your Writing Through Its Paces

by ProWritingAid Feb 27, 2017

Putting Your Writing Through Its Paces

Pacing is a lot like the throttle on a vehicle. There are times when driving that you need to move slowly, like through a city or in a school zone. Then there are times when you need to move a lot faster, like on the freeway. And there are times when you need to just coast along at a moderate speed.

The pacing in your novel is a writer’s tool to help you manage the speed and rhythm of your story. Sometimes you want fast action, just as other times, you need to slow things down and let the scene unfold.

It’s up to you to know when to use pacing. A lot of your pacing decisions will be based on your genre. If you’re writing an action story, it’s pretty fast-paced with exhilarating moments of danger mixed with adventure juxtaposed with quieter moments when your characters do some heavy thinking. If you’re writing an epic that spans over generations, it might move more slowly.

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7 Ways an Editing Tool Will Make Your Funding Applications Shine

by Lisa Lepki Feb 27, 2017

7 Ways an Editing Tool Will Make Your Funding Applications Shine

We all know that you can work for the greatest organization in the world, doing the most amazing things, but if your fundraising application is poorly written, you aren’t going to get the funds.

Here are 7 ways an editing tool can improve your writing and ultimately increase your bottom line.

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Why Most Business Writing Stinks, and How You Can Fix it

by Mary Cullen Feb 24, 2017

Why Most Business Writing Stinks, and How You Can Fix it

Business writing is such an fascinating application of writing. It’s very pragmatic. Strong business writing can propel both careers and businesses. It’s the channel that transmits nearly all business work and insight and interaction. It flows up, down, laterally, internally, and externally to customers. It’s the foundation of business.

Why then, is it so bad?

Business writing is notorious for bloated, business-speak nonsense. Despite its off-putting name, I highly recommend the book Why Business People Speak Like Idiots. It was originally published in 2005, yet it sadly still captures the epidemic of business-speak so well.

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Five Reasons Why Your E-book Isn’t as Successful as Your Competitor’s

by Rob Davis Feb 24, 2017

Five Reasons Why Your E-book Isn’t as Successful as Your Competitor’s

After spending months on research and writing, you’ve finally published your first e-book. You know you’re offering the best knowledge and expertise, and your book includes unique insights that your readers won’t find anywhere else.

Yet it’s your competitor’s e-book that’s selling like hotcakes. People are buying and reviewing theirs, but only a handful are even aware that yours exists.

What could possibly have gone wrong?

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How to Use Social Media to Get Freelance Writing Jobs

by Eva Wislow Feb 22, 2017

How to Use Social Media to Get Freelance Writing Jobs

Are you using social media platforms to promote yourself as a writer? Believe it or not, proper social media activity can get you the job you’re after.

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Why All Copywriters Need Excellent EQ

by Kathy Edens Feb 22, 2017

Why All Copywriters Need Excellent EQ

EQ (emotional intelligence) is your ability to identify emotions you’re feeling, understand them, use appropriate means of expressing them, and manage your emotional responses in positive, effective ways. Those with high EQ communicate better with others, manage conflicts better, have better relationships, and can empathize with another person—exactly what copywriters do.

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Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

by ProWritingAid Feb 20, 2017

Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

Compound adjectives are made up of a combination of noun plus adjective, noun plus participle, or adjective plus participle. More often than not, these are hyphenated. Let’s look at a few.

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How to Keep the Inner Flame Burning: 7 Tips from Outstanding Writers

by Scott Ragin Feb 13, 2017

How to Keep the Inner Flame Burning: 7 Tips from Outstanding Writers

Being a writer does not mean sitting and waiting for the inspiration. It's a life of hard work and perseverance, and each writer must find a way to keep their own inner flame burning.

Check out these 7 approaches from 7 authors, each of whom found their own methods that allowed them to keep producing amazing work.

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When It’s Time to Swim Against the Flow of Popular Fiction

by Kathy Edens Feb 13, 2017

When It’s Time to Swim Against the Flow of Popular Fiction Many writing experts advise that you consider the current market as you write. If a reader buys one kind of book and likes it, they will look for more of the same. This notion is why you’ll see clone books pop up whenever there’s a breakout novel that runs up the bestseller list. Those writers follow the market.

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Writing App Reviews… Write!

by Kathy Edens Feb 13, 2017

Writing App Reviews… Write!

We’re obviously mad for technology at ProWritingAid, and there are so many apps, gadgets, and programs out there to help you finish your novel or write content for clients.

Here, in the sixth post of our Writing App Reviews… series, Kathy Eden checks out minimalist writing platform Write!.

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10 Reasons to Stay Home & Write This Valentine’s Day

by ProWritingAid Feb 13, 2017

10 Reasons to Stay Home & Write This Valentine’s Day

Expectations are high. Chocolates and flowers. Jewelry and trinkets. Will this be the year?

It’s Valentine’s Day.

Or as Bridget Jones says:

“Oh God. Valentine's Day tomorrow. Why? Why? Why is the entire world geared to make people not involved in romance feel stupid when everyone knows romance does not work anyway. Look at the royal family. Look at Mum and Dad.” ― Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

Here are a few reasons why you should stay home and write this Valentine’s Day.

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Networking for Introverted Writers

by Kathy Edens Feb 08, 2017

Networking for Introverted Writers

Let’s face it. A lot of writers are introverts who would rather stay holed up in front of a computer writing their next novel than go out there and network. (I humbly include myself in this crowd.) Networking experts, however, say you need to meet as many people as possible to find the right connections. This leaves us at quite a disadvantage when marketing and promoting our books or writing services thanks to the painful nature of getting out in public.

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4 Ways an App Can Make You a Better Writer (Yes, Really!)

by Lisa Lepki Feb 08, 2017

4 Ways an App Can Make You a Better Writer (Yes, Really!)

One of the biggest problems that creative people face is how to take their imagined ideas and communicate them clearly and effectively in writing. I dread to think how many incredible adventures, concepts, and viewpoints are locked up in the brains of people who struggle with the technical elements of writing. The part of the brain that we use for imaginative thinking is quite different from the part that actually crafts the sentences. And the quickest way to lose a reader’s confidence—even if your ideas are water-tight—is to present them with clumsy, awkward, error-filled writing.

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