How to Critique – and Not Cause Your Authors to Weep

critiquing-not-writers-weepingBack in 2002, a beloved teacher approached me about editing for the school newspaper. I had barely begun writing fiction (fanfiction) as a hobby, but I thought “Why not?” and became a part of the newspaper staff without any real idea of what I was getting myself into.

I learned how to edit and critique by doing everything wrong. Continue reading

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Word Count: Tips to Cut it Out!

Critique

“Your novel is too long.”

“Your story would be stronger if you tightened the plot and eliminated the fluff.” 

“If you bring it down to a more appropriate YA word count, I’d be happy to take another look.”

Have you ever heard agents, editors, or critique partners say these things? Have friends or beta readers who have not finished your story because it’s too long?

If so, we have some advice for you.

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How to Create the Right Setting for your Story

At one point in writing history, writers began their stories by setting the scene. Setting was once used as a reflection characters emotions or actions. For example, a storm arises as a disagreement to your evil plot of revenge… But setting in books have changed today with things like TV.  We still need setting, but it is not nearly as important as our characters and plot.

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Setting brings us to a certain time and place.

Seattle’s physical setting compared with Albuquerque’s is night and day– one is high desert, with dusty browns and golds; the other is sea-level, with fertile flora and greens and blues. But they also eat different foods. ABQ leans more towards a Mexican flavor whereas most anyone in Seattle can list 5-20 favorite Asian foods. Continue reading

What Writing Specialty Do You Have to Be Thankful For?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving lets take a few moments to be thankful for all of the blessings we have. When it comes to writing what do you have to be thankful for?

Take inventory of your writing

Good story boils down to these four factors: plot, character, setting and craft.

While there are countless other elements that make up the intricacies of a good book, these are the backbone of a good story.

Odds are, you already know what you’re good at. If not, ask your friends or writing community—anyone who’s read your work. Or you can take this quiz to find out. What’s your specialty?

Are you…

The World Builder

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Staying Focused When Distractions Are All Around

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It’s ironic for me to write this post, as I am one of the most distract-able people around. Youtube videos, tumblr black holes, Wikipedia searches and kids (none of my own, just those I live with) are only the start of things that can derail me when I sit down to write.

We won’t always have a quiet place. We might never have a dedicated office or coffee shop to escape to. So what do you do when your surroundings are full of distractions, legitimate or otherwise?

Speaking to single writers, our issue is we probably won’t always be single. So before marriage and children (and more) come into the picture, let’s talk how to start prioritizing our writing now.

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Journey to the Stars: Discoveries Shaping Sci-fi

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One of the joys of writing Science Fiction is how quickly tomorrow’s technology can surpass a writer’s imagination. Computers the size of your palm? Done. Glasses that help you see 3-D worlds? Done. Real Pokémon lurking in your backyard? Well, sort of. And 30 years ago, no one really expected those inventions to become reality in their lifetime.

So what does that mean for a science fiction writer? Should we all retreat to fantasy? No!

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