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Articles by Zara Altair

Zara Altair writes traditional mysteries set in ancient Italy under Ostrogoths rule in [The Argolicus Mysteries.] She teaches mystery screenwriters and novelists at [Write A Killer Mystery]. She creates semantic web content for a select clientele.

Unlock the Mystery of Writing a Whodunit

Unlock the Mystery of Writing a Whodunit

Your introduction to writing a whodunit, from the cast of characters you need to a framework to construct the puzzle at the heart of your mystery.

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The Plot Hole Challenge: Find and Fix Them to Immerse Your Reader

The Plot Hole Challenge: Find and Fix Them to Immerse Your Reader

How to recognize plot holes in your novel and top tips for fixing them. Master these skills to give your reader an immersive experience.

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When Your Screenplay Meets Story Development

When Your Screenplay Meets Story Development

An introduction to story development for script writers. From your vision to the final piece, be prepared to need a tough skin. Here's what to expect.

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14 Grammar Tips to Make Your Writing Sound Smart

14 Grammar Tips to Make Your Writing Sound Smart

When you want to sound smart, using good grammar will help you reach and connect with your audience. Like common sense, grammar helps your reader understand without being baffled. From word choice to punctuation to citations, here's how to show your smarts by writing it right.

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10 Common Plot Problems and How to Fix Them in Your Fiction Novel

10 Common Plot Problems and How to Fix Them in Your Fiction Novel

Finding plot holes is half the problem, knowing how to fix them is the other half. We take a look at ten plot problems and what to do to make your story stronger.

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How to Find the Right Proofreader for Your Novel

How to Find the Right Proofreader for Your Novel

Proofreading is the reading of a galley proof or an electronic copy of a publication to find and correct production errors in the text. Copy-editing is the final stage of editing before you publish your manuscript. Learn which one you really need, and how to find the right editor for your book.

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How to Fictionalize Your Home Town for Your Story Setting

How to Fictionalize Your Home Town for Your Story Setting

It’s easy to use your real town in your novel because you know all the setting details—weather, culture, town history, local politics. But even if set in a real place, you’ll be surprised at how much you don’t know and the research you still have to do to write a convincing novel. In this article, find out how to fictionalize your town to use its details in your novel.

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Connect with Readers When You Start "In Medias Res"

Connect with Readers When You Start "In Medias Res"

When writers begin things in the middle, they plunge the reader into things that are already happening. No intro. No backstory. No weather description. Action is happening, and the reader is right there. Find out how to use _in medias res_ to capture your readers' attention.

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Outline Your Book Series to Sell More Books and Keep Readers Buying

Outline Your Book Series to Sell More Books and Keep Readers Buying

Learn how to plan your book series from overall theme to individual books. Follow these top tips for success.

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Get the Most Out of Your Editor by Preparing Your Manuscript First

Get the Most Out of Your Editor by Preparing Your Manuscript First

Are you a new author? Find out the professional steps you should take to prepare a book manuscript for an editor.

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How to Break Grammar Rules and Connect with Readers

How to Break Grammar Rules and Connect with Readers

Connect with readers using natural language that ignores old-fashioned grammar rules. Here are 10 ways to break the rules and engage your readers.

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Get Gatekeepers’ Attention with Your Script’s First Ten Pages

Get Gatekeepers’ Attention with Your Script’s First Ten Pages

How to introduce your unique and universal story in the first ten pages of your script to make readers – and film producers – care.

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How to Use Clear Writing to Express Big Concepts and Connect with Readers

How to Use Clear Writing to Express Big Concepts and Connect with Readers

How to implement clarity to express big ideas to engage your reader. Help them understand your meaning through readability, the right verbs, and sentence structure.

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How to Integrate Character Traits to Create Believable Characters

How to Integrate Character Traits to Create Believable Characters

Do your characters feel flat? Here's how to develop traits to create three-dimensional characters that come to life in your novel.

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10 Tips to Build a Writing Practice Discipline to Finish Your Novel

10 Tips to Build a Writing Practice Discipline to Finish Your Novel

Writers write. Writing a novel is not a one and done for the day game. It requires the discipline of consistency to complete the manuscript. The challenge of finding time confronts every writer who is not a full-time author. In this article, find out why building a personal writing discipline will help you complete your novel.

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