Writing and Critiquing Fantasy

During the pandemic of 2020, fantasy writing experienced an astounding increase in popularity, perhaps a form of escape, with a massive increase in stories written for adults. The statistics compiled by WordsRated.com show fantasy book sales in 2021 increased 45%, compared to 2020. This was the largest increase among all …

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A Computer Wrote My Story

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an increasingly powerful tool for authors, providing new opportunities to generate creative fiction. With the ability to analyze vast amounts of data and understand natural language, AI can help authors generate new ideas, develop characters, and even write entire stories. In this article, we’ll explore …

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Writing Lessons, Wrong Books

For writers, literature is an ultimatum. Are you going to enjoy it? Or are you going to learn something? It’s a false dichotomy, really. Doing both isn’t so hard. Growing in your skills and superpower has a certain satisfaction in itself. And sometimes understanding the fiddly background bits in stories …

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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 …

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Filter Out Filter Words

The most common stylistic problem I find while editing early drafts (both my own and those of critique partners) is excessive filtering and filter words. Filter words are terms and phrases that filter action or insight through a character’s point of view (POV). Overusing them is like asking your reader …

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Pacing and Paragraphs

Having spent the last three years as a member of a robust online critique group and the last year as judge in a novel contest, I’ve learned several things about what makes writing effective. I’ve found many people have a story to tell, but only a small minority have 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 …

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Expert Advice from a New Writer

Writing advice surrounds me. Everyone, it seems, is an expert. One day, all that information on self-publishing, pitching a story, and writing query letters will come in handy, but for now I feel like I’m drowning in unhelpful advice. Sink with me to the bottom of the writing-advice ocean, where …

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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 …

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