The Writing Process

The Nitty Gritty Practical Guide to Giving your Characters Unique Voice

by Katja L Kaine Jul 17, 2017

The Nitty Gritty Practical Guide to Giving your Characters Unique Voice

Character Voice is as difficult to pin down as it is critical.

Plenty of writing advice resources talk about the importance of your main characters each having a unique voice, but how do you achieve that?

The main problem is that all of those characters are essentially coming from the same mind – yours – so you need to find ways to ensure your personal characteristics, speech patterns and nuances don’t all bleed into your characters.

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How to Create Mood Like Edgar Allan Poe

by Kathy Edens Jul 14, 2017

How to Create Mood Like Edgar Allan Poe

The master of Gothic horror stories, Edgar Allan Poe could set the tone of anything with a few chosen words. Here's how he did it.

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A Writer's Biggest Fear: And it's Not Spiders

by Kathy Edens Jul 13, 2017

A Writer's Biggest Fear: And it's Not Spiders

What is it you fear most as you sit in front of a blank screen? Perhaps the fear of rejection holds you back from putting words on paper. You know your work is likely to get rejected by publishers and agents because the experience of others told you to expect it.

Maybe you fear humiliation. Putting yourself out there on paper opens you up to all kinds of criticism and ridicule. It's really hard to be vulnerable in your writing because the critics' sting hurts that much more.

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Why You Should Throw Your Main Character Under a Bus

by Kathy Edens Jul 05, 2017

Why You Should Throw Your Main Character Under a Bus

What is it about a great story that keeps you turning the pages? Think of the last book you devoured in one sitting. What kept you so engrossed you had to stay up until 4am to finish it?

For those of us who sit bleary-eyed in front of a computer because we couldn't put a good book down last night, we stumbled across an author who knows how to raise the stakes.

And the higher the stakes, the better—am I right?

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When Symbolism Goes Too Far

by Kathy Edens Jun 19, 2017

When Symbolism Goes Too Far

Are we hard-wired to seek symbolism in everything from our literature to our everyday life? Spirituality is rife with symbolism, advertisers use symbols to sell their products, and we interpret a smile from someone as a symbol of friendship.

Symbolism in literature uses an object or a word to represent something abstract in your work. A person, an action, a place, a single word, or an object can have symbolic meaning. Symbolism, done well, allows you to hint at a certain mood or emotion instead of showing it.

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Why Every Writer Needs A Writing Mentor (And Where To Find One)

by Jesse Barnett Jun 14, 2017

Why Every Writer Needs A Writing Mentor (And Where To Find One)

When I began working for Charlie, I knew he was talented. He's the writing partner of a well-known leadership expert and together they've authored over 100 books. Several have become New York Times best sellers.

I embraced the job with a learner's mindset. I determined every day to improve my writing skills. My first professionally edited draft looked like a murder scene. Red letters covered the page with countless words crossed out, rearranged, and rewritten.

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Are You Ignoring Your Best Ideas?

by Hannah Collins May 17, 2017

Are You Ignoring Your Best Ideas?

Bored by your own writing? You could be suffering from the toll of ignoring your best ideas. ‘But why on earth would I ignore an idea if it’s good?’, you’re wondering. The answer is that you probably don’t even know you’re doing it.

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Why a Fully Realized Villain is as Important as Your Protagonist

by Kathy Edens May 12, 2017

Why a Fully Realized Villain is as Important as Your Protagonist

Your antagonist can make the difference between a ho-hum novel and a break-out one.

A fully realized villain is someone who shows us parts of ourselves in his or her makeup. If you can connect in some human way with the antagonist, it's going to bring up all kinds of tension for readers.

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Growing The Writing Cooperative

by Stella J. McKenna May 11, 2017

Growing The Writing Cooperative

“The Coop” is more than just a Medium publication — it’s a community. And it’s growing.

The motto of The Writing Cooperative is, “Helping each other write better”. This phrase ultimately guides all that we do.

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How to Write a Killer Transition

by Kathy Edens May 03, 2017

How to Write a Killer Transition

How do you move your reader smoothly between ideas in your content or from scene to scene in your novel? With killer transitions that connect and unify your writing as a whole.

What is a Transition? There are two types of transitions to cover: transitions in content connecting paragraphs and highlighting relevant, important points and transitions between scenes or POV switches in manuscripts.

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A Letter from Roald Dahl: "Eschew All Those Beastly Adjectives."

by ProWritingAid May 03, 2017

A Letter from Roald Dahl: "Eschew All Those Beastly Adjectives."

When a student wrote to Roald Dahl in 1980 asking for help on his thesis, he received this rather curt letter in reply. We think it's wonderful.

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Have You Written Your Story's 'Mirror Moment' Yet?

by Kathy Edens Apr 18, 2017

Have You Written Your Story's 'Mirror Moment' Yet?

I recently came across a book by James Scott Bell that lays out an interesting premise about something he calls the 'mirror moment'.

Bell's theory is that there is a single moment in the middle of the story where the main character takes a "long, hard look at himself (as in a mirror). He asks, Who am I? What have I become? Who am I supposed to be?"

Bell says if you can nail that moment, everything that comes before and after it will have more depth and resonance.

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What Margaret Atwood Taught Me About Writing Outside Your Genre

by Kathy Edens Apr 09, 2017

What Margaret Atwood Taught Me About Writing Outside Your Genre

Margaret Atwood recently wrote an essay titled "Margaret Atwood on What The Handmaid's Tale Means in the Age of Trump" that caught my eye. There has been a swarm of interest around the book thanks to the upcoming series on Hulu, but I have to admit that I was curious to see if her political views matched mine.

What I found most compelling in the article, however, is how she talked about stretching herself outside her genre when she wrote The Handmaid's Tale:

  • "It seemed to me a risky venture. I’d read extensively in science fiction, speculative fiction, utopias and dystopias ever since my high school years in the 1950s, but I’d never written such a book. Was I up to it? The form was strewn with pitfalls, among them a tendency to sermonize, a veering into allegory and a lack of plausibility. If I was to create an imaginary garden I wanted the toads in it to be real."

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How to Write the ‘Other’ (Without Being a Jerk)

by Samia Rahman Apr 04, 2017

How to Write the ‘Other’ (Without Being a Jerk) It was during a Guardian webchat last year that one of my favourite authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, offered no-nonsense words of advice to an aspiring writer that rather stopped me in my tracks. The commenter had asked how he, a middle-aged white man, should go about writing the story of a young Bengali girl, who belonged to a culture that he readily admitted was alien to his own. Chimamanda invited him to re-examine his motivation to write about something so unfamiliar and seemed to endorse the age-old adage that you should write what you know.

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How to Write Multiple Points of View

by Kathy Edens Apr 03, 2017

How to Write Multiple Points of View

When you’re starting a new story, determining POV is a very important choice. Writing from multiple POVs can be frustrating and confusing for readers if it’s not handled well, so you need to have a very good reason for using multiple POVs in your story.

That said, here are a few tips on how to craft a story using multiple POVs:

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The Writer’s Bundle: An Amazing Offer Available Only From April 3-6, 2017!

by Lisa Lepki Apr 03, 2017

The Writer’s Bundle: An Amazing Offer Available Only From April 3-6, 2017! $1,667 of Writing Resources for $99The Writer’s Bundle: An Amazing Offer Available Only From April 3-6, 2017!

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Stop Researching & Get Writing!

by Lisa Lepki Mar 31, 2017

Stop Researching & Get Writing!

Researching can be fun. No, seriously. If you're writing about a new topic for a blog post or an interesting subject for a work of fiction, it's the details that help your writing ring true.

Some experts say you can't do too much research if you want your prose to be believable. There is a point, however, that research becomes a way to procrastinate the actual writing itself.

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Why Your Ending is as Important as Your Book's Hook

by Kathy Edens Mar 14, 2017

Why Your Ending is as Important as Your Book's Hook

Have you ever been so engrossed in a book that if the ending isn't strong and doesn't resolve all the plot threads, you're disappointed in the whole book? I once read a novel with a deeply engaging main character I really connected with. She struggled and overcame and struggled and overcame. And at the very end of the book, the author killed her. WHAT? It's the only time I've ever thrown a book. And I refused to read anything more by that author.

You know how important it is to hook your reader from the very beginning. It's why you start in the middle of the action, plunging your reader right in so they get caught up in the excitement.

Your ending is as important…if not more.

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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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