Articles about writing style

How to Break the Rules of Fiction

by Kathy Edens Dec 13, 2017

How to Break the Rules of Fiction

Have you noticed how many rules you must follow when writing your novel? Some of them, like having a strong beginning, engaging middle, and exciting conclusion, are good advice. Then other rules, like how to format your novel for submission and checking submission guidelines first, are pretty strict. Finally, there are rules meant to be broken.

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How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

by Kathy Edens Dec 12, 2017

How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

Shifting back and forth in time creates suspense. Your readers can unravel the past and understand the ramifications in the present a little at a time. It creates a tension that makes your books hard to put down.

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4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

by Elle W. Silver Dec 12, 2017

4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

Having a relationship with an editor you can trust, one who is flexible enough to work around your tight schedule is one way to do it. But even then, you need to ensure the that your editor is spending most of her time on the meat of your story like plot and character development, and less time on the technical stuff like sentence construction and word choice. Ideally, you want your text to be as tight as possible BEFORE you send it to your editor.

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Exclamation Points Don’t Have to be Useless!

by Benjamin More Dec 07, 2017

Exclamation Points Don’t Have to be Useless!

Cursed exclamation points! What purpose do they serve in modern literature? They’re still taught as basic punctuation, but their existence is frowned upon. Last I heard, no more than two should be used in an entire novel. Two? That’s it? Even for thrillers and horror?! This topic outrages me to the point of using them after every sentence, even the questions.

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The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

by Kate Sullivan Dec 07, 2017

The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

A finished manuscript is not a polished manuscript, and editors, agents, and readers want a polished manuscript—a finished product that lives up to the quality standards we’ve come to expect.

Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, a blog post, a magazine article, or any other piece of professional writing, you need to edit your work.

And you need to edit it multiple times!

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Fixing First Draft Problems: 6 questions to ask

by Bridget McNulty Dec 07, 2017

Fixing First Draft Problems: 6 questions to ask

Learning how to write a book is a many-stepped process – finding a story idea you love, outlining, drafting, rewriting and editing. Although you will encounter challenges during your first draft, asking good questions and acting on your answers will help you keep focused and finish:

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How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

by Kathy Edens Nov 28, 2017

How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

You need to crank up your story's tension and conflict in every chapter. Let's look at a few techniques to help sustain the drama you've created and keep pages turning at each chapter ending.

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Don’t Go Alone! Take a Cowriter

by Jessie Smith Nov 25, 2017

Don’t Go Alone! Take a Cowriter

I have known my cowriter for six years. It’s a long story full of coincidences and serendipity, but it completely changed my writing process. I rely on her in so many ways.

We both wrote on an anonymous writing website where we worked on stories under pseudonyms. My cowriter and I met in the typical way: she reviewed my chapter, and out of common courtesy, I reviewed hers in return. We liked each other’s work, so we continued to follow and review, and we eventually started private messaging. Even then, we mostly talked about our writing, but over time, we started getting to know each other beyond our pseudonyms.

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The 10 Writing Quotes that Shape My Writing Process

by Ravi Rajan Nov 08, 2017

The 10 Writing Quotes that Shape My Writing Process

“Writing is the socially acceptable way of getting naked in public. And in writing, getting naked is all about shedding your inhibitions, learning from self, learning from the greats and chartering a path along the road less traveled.”

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Why Every Heroine Does Not Need a Love Interest

by Kathy Edens Nov 06, 2017

Why Every Heroine Does Not Need a Love Interest

There are almost no authors writing female characters that don't depend on a romance subplot to carry a book. That's because the Hero's Journey, Campbell's famous framework for the classic tale of a hero on a quest, doesn't work well for a female protagonist.

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How to Write an Elizabeth Bennet Better Than the Original

by Kathy Edens Oct 25, 2017

How to Write an Elizabeth Bennet Better Than the Original

What do we love so much about Elizabeth Bennet? She's strong, and she's feisty. Just because she's expected to act a certain way doesn't mean she'll bend her convictions and change her behavior. She's real, right?

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Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo: Planners vs. Pants-ers

by Kathy Edens Oct 24, 2017

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo: Planners vs. Pants-ers

I set out on a quest to find if this world has more planners or pants-ers. Alas, there is no definitive answer, at least on the internet. I did, however, determine that most writing instructors ask their students who is a planner and who is a pants-er. This informal poll-taking reports about 50/50.

So, whether you're a planner or a pants-er, you're in good company. How do we know? Here are some famous authors who plan and those who fly by the seat of their pants.

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Why You Should Create Your Own Genre

by Kathy Edens Oct 09, 2017

Why You Should Create Your Own Genre

Are you trying to fit into a genre or sub-genre because it's popular right now? That's like trying to fit into a political party when your philosophy is somewhere in the middle. It's hard to find the right fit in either party, right?

Maybe it's time you created your own sub-genre or genre. Look at what Bridget Jones's Diary did for chick lit. And what The Hunger Games did for YA dystopian. And I'm still not sure how to categorize Jodi Picoult's novels. If you look up the genres of her books, you'll find "Genre: Fiction + Literature; Sub-Genre: Literary or Contemporary." Huh? Nonetheless, she's created her own space on the best seller list.

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How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

by Kathy Edens Oct 06, 2017

How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

Think of some of the great nemesis pairs in fiction: Harry Potter and Voldemort, Katniss Everdeen and President Snow, Professor Xavier and Magneto, Superman and Lex Luthor… But there's none better than Batman and The Joker.

The Joker is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life like paralyzing Batgirl and murdering Robin. He's such a popular character that he's ranked 8th on the list of Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. One reason he's the perfect nemesis is The Joker is the complete and utter opposite of Batman: he's savage, violent, unpredictable, and will do anything because he has no respect for human life. As Michael Caine said in Dark Knight, The Joker "just wants to see the world burn."

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How to Use Satire Like Mark Twain

by Kathy Edens Sep 21, 2017

How to Use Satire Like Mark Twain

Writers who use satire to get their point across do so by wielding humor, wit, irony, or sarcasm. They expose an individual or society for its weaknesses, corruption, hypocrisy, or foolishness. And no one does it better than Mark Twain.

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Why You Need to Master Storytelling to Become a Great Copywriter

by Kathy Edens Sep 21, 2017

Why You Need to Master Storytelling to Become a Great Copywriter

Good stories move people to action. They create sympathy, which opens up wallets for donations. Or a good story can start a revolution. At the least, a good story is memorable and influences your readers enough to sell. Just like a great fiction story, when you use a story in your content, you're actually putting your reader in the driver's seat so they can envision themselves having/using your product or service.

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Why You Need to Break Up With Your Muse

by Kathy Edens Sep 21, 2017

Why You Need to Break Up With Your Muse

Writing isn't magic. There's no fairy godmother called "Muse" who comes to you and waves her magic pen to fill your head with ideas and words. It's hard work, and you must sit in front of the computer or grab pen and paper and get your work done.

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How to Write an Allegory Like George Orwell

by Kathy Edens Sep 18, 2017

How to Write an Allegory Like George Orwell

An allegory is a story that evokes two separate meanings. The first meaning is the story's surface, like characters and plot, the stuff that goes into every story. But at a much deeper level, an allegory has a symbolic, heavy meaning.

What allegories come to mind? Maybe The Lord of the Flies; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Moby Dick; or Pilgrim's Progress?

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How to Create a CV like Elon Musk's for Your Protagonist

by Kathy Edens Aug 02, 2017

How to Create a CV like Elon Musk's for Your Protagonist

A CV is a tool to capture all of your thoughts about your main character and keep track of the many idiosyncrasies and character traits. Just as important, it helps you capture and record the intertwined relationships of all the characters in your novel. Especially if you use several points of view or have multiple main characters, you need to capture them each distinctly.

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How to Create an Anti-Hero Like Homer Simpson

by Kathy Edens Aug 02, 2017

How to Create an Anti-Hero Like Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson has only one focus in this world: himself. He has some pretty unlikable characteristics, I'm sure everyone can agree. Why do we love to hate Homer and hate to love him so much? Because he's a well-done anti-hero, that's why.

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