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How to Identify Redundancy and Pleonasms In Your Words

How to Identify Redundancy and Pleonasms In Your Words

Pleonasms are common in speech but should be avoided at all costs. Do you have what it takes to diagnose and eliminate them from your writing?

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Why You Should Throw Your Main Character Under a Bus

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

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)

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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What Margaret Atwood Taught Me About Writing Outside Your Genre

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"](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/books/review/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-age-of-trump.html?_r=0) 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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Why Your Ending is as Important as Your Book's Hook

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

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

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Attention Writers: Why You Should NOT Copy the Masters

Attention Writers: Why You Should NOT Copy the Masters

Chefs around the world don’t merely copy the recipes of other great chefs. Instead, they dissect the completed dish, looking for ways to improve it and make it their own. In the same sense, writers shouldn’t copy the masters. We’re not saying don’t learn from the masters, but rather dissect their work and see what makes it great.

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Is it Ever OK to Use Dreams in Your Novel?

Is it Ever OK to Use Dreams in Your Novel?

If you’ve taken writing courses at the university level, more often than not, your instructors have fervently cried: Never, ever, ever, ever start a story with a dream sequence. And if you Google “dreams in novels,” you will find a huge range of opinions on the matter. For every post scorning the use of dreams, there is one saying that *when done well*, dream sequences can move your plot forward. But are there times when dreams are ok to use? Some authors have used them incredibly effectively in the past. .

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Here are the posts from our blog that most resonated with our readers this year. Did your favorite make the list?

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Flashbacks: A Writer’s Best Friend (or Worst Enemy)

Flashbacks: A Writer’s Best Friend (or Worst Enemy)

A flashback is a scene you use in your current narrative to show something that happened in the past. The two key differentiators are: 1) it must be a scene (as opposed to narration about an event), and 2) it’s past news. Flashbacks are great for building three-dimensional characters because readers gains insight on how a character’s thoughts, feelings, and morals were formed by important events. They’re also useful for dropping hints about what happened to lead your main character to the current point in time. They help your readers understand and care deeply about your characters and what happens to them.

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