Your Character’s Thoughts

At a glance, it used to be easy to identify what a character was thinking, hearing, seeing, or saying BECAUSE the author would write: he thought, she heard, he saw or she said… The current trend is to remove such markers or filters to reduce the “narrative distance” between the character and the author. This is a psychological technique that gives the reader the perception they are listening directly to …

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Pixlr E Review – Free Online Image Editor

Image editing is helpful for authors who need images for blogs, newsletters, social media and other marketing activities. Those who self-publish often prefer an inexpensive image editor that is not too complicated. Photoshop is the standard for marketing professionals, but it has a very steep learning curve, not to mention a steep price. So, what’s an author to do? One possibility is the redesigned online service Pixlr E. The recent …

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The Improving World of Self-Publishing

Over the past decade, it has become obvious to everyone that creating and reading fiction will be done through the e-book. Although Amazon (Kindle Digital Publishing) is the gorilla in the e-book world, it is still basically an e-book publisher. Amazon keeps that position because it provides end-to-end services from taking a digital book file (usually an EPUB or DOCX), presenting it to the world for purchase, and providing the …

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3rd Person Omniscient POV

The third person omniscient point of view is the most open and flexible POV available to writers. As the name implies, an omniscient narrator is all-seeing and all-knowing. — David Mamet Once a writer decides to use a third person point of view (POV) the next question is: what is the SCOPE of that view? Objective: access only to an external view and dialogue of a character Subjective: access to …

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Short Story Elements

Short stories are fun to read because they pack an unexpected emotional punch. However, “short” does not mean easy to write, or a formless type of expression. Quite the contrary, they are written and rewritten numerous times with herculean effort to be efficient, banish loose ends, conclude with a plot twist plus a memorable last line. The big picture of a small story The plot follows the shape of a …

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Writing the Great Ending

Writers are a creative group of people who have invented several satisfying ways to end a story. The Straightforward: The story problem is solved, conflict is resolved and the main character’s journey ends. This is the most common ending, a “happy ending”. The Shocker: Typical of horror, crime and thriller genres. Careful foreshadowing leads to an ending with a twist. The reader is surprised but says “I should have seen …

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Plot is the Beating Heart of a Story

What allows an author to convert something familiar, important or truthful into a story that is interesting? Simple answer: a plot. A story is NOT your diary, your years working as a gallbladder surgeon or the truth that advertisements lie. Readers want a plot that pulls them from the beginning to the end with a sense of satisfaction. Authors, whether they intentionally plan a story or not, often end up …

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Preparing a Submission for a Critique Group Session

Material submitted to a critique group is somewhere between a first draft and the final draft and may be an entire short story or just a few scenes from a novel. On one hand, a true first draft is riddled with grammar and spelling problems, best fixed with a grammar and spell checker like Grammarly or ProWritingAid. A critique group should not waste time commenting on, or suggesting fixes for, …

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Keys to Improving the Flow in Your Writing

Editors, publishers, literary agents, and readers love edgy and quirky writing – but not at the expense of writing flow.— Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Flow in writing is difficult to define, but readers always seem to recognize it. A flowing science fiction novel sucks the reader into the story, makes the unbelievable logical and prevents the poor reader from putting the book down until the last word passes into their brain long …

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How to Find a Critique Group

Finding a critique group is easy. Follow the advice in this post to start your search. The Personal Way Asking a writer friend is one of the easiest ways to find a critique group. Or try an independent bookstore that sells books by local authors. Check their bulletin board for possible groups. You can also ask a librarian–a library being a place where critique groups often meet. If you don’t …

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