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

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 after dark. So, if defining flow is difficult, perhaps the opposite is comprehensible. Choppy, telegraphic, terse, repetitive, dense, lean, or clipped are …

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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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The Big Reveal and Plot Twists

The best way to create an effective “big reveal” is to have characters search for information, an object, or a person, so that their search leads to the big reveal — even if the big reveal is NOT the thing they were actually looking for. Orson Scott Card Fiction writing is a process of imparting information to a reader. That information might be about events, characters or rules of the …

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Types of Critique Groups

Critique groups fall into several broad categories: Neighborhood writing groups for all genres Urban writing groups in a specific genre Genre-specific groups sponsored by a larger writer’s association (like Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers located in Colorado). A membership fee is required. Ad hoc groups of genre-specific writers that expanded via the Internet National or international writing groups with hundreds or thousands of writers. The Internet development and management costs require …

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Elements of a Good Critique

Like a pilot preparing for takeoff, the person conducting a critique reads the submitted material and “runs a checklist.” Except for grammar, spelling and word choice, the critiquer should not make definitive recommendations to avoid polluting the original writer’s creativity. The rewrite is always up to the author. There are a number of different items in which a writer may request a critique, a few listed below: TITLE – descriptive, …

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Sharing Writer Resources with your Online Critique Group

Group vs. Public Sharing Critique groups generally consist of writers with like interests. Positive friendships and bonds form between members. We help each other learn through information sharing. There are three basic levels of privacy for a critique group: Personal info — family, finances, politics and religion. These are best kept at home and not discussed or recorded online. Group info — group projects, member full names, addresses, phone numbers, …

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The Online Session for Critique Groups

What Happens Prior to Session Several days prior to the online meeting All stories are loaded in a dated folder Critique assignments loaded to same folder Link to Hangout copied to assignment document Members have finished critiques Just before start time all members Open Chrome Browser Open Google Drive SHARED FOLDERS Find the folder for the day’s session Open the following so they are in tabs at the top of …

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