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Learning from Screenwriters

When it comes to structuring our stories, sometimes we fall into a rut. We break out the same pattern each time we begin plotting, and we begin to lose perspective.

Learning and borrowing from other disciplines is an amazing way to expand our creativity and keep our writing fresh. What happens when novelists borrow screenwriters' techniques? Shaelin Bishop discusses this unique application in her YouTube video: 15 Beat Plot Structure. ...

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Tips for Drafting

James Thurber said, “Don’t get it right. Get it written.” Click to Tweet That piece of drafting knowledge has been …

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Surviving Your Own Torture

Have you ever had to inflict pain and suffering onto a character who you like . . . a lot?

Have you ever tipped a bucket full of "life hell" over your character and whilst you were doing it felt like you were betraying an old friend?

This week I have struggled with making one of my characters suffer. As you know I am close to finishing the second draft of my romance novel, and everything was fine until I had to write the twist at the end. I wanted to shake things up a bit for my reader and not let them think the romance was going to run smoothly. Plus, and more importantly, this particular character needed to understand the consequences of his past actions.

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How to Write a Terrible Love Scene

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day, whether you had a date with your characters or with a real-life human being! Always the cynic, I thought I would take the opportunity to eradicate all shreds of romance. You can take these suggestions seriously if you’re on a mission to make your reader cringe, or you can laugh them off and write a google-eyed romance. It’s up to you—I claim no responsibility. Whatever you choose, here are 6 ways to write a terrible love scene. ...

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Playing by the Rules

It’s tempting to believe that novelists who have already published books know “the secret.” But every novel, whether it’s your first or fifteenth, poses different challenges. Even the most experienced writers get stuck in dark alleys and thorny woods as they lose their way.

I’m about to publish my sixth novel, Folly Cove, this fall, and my means of feeling my way out of those slimy or prickly places is pretty simple: I read other people’s books and keep learning. This past week, I’ve read four novels that have taught me there really is only one rule in fiction: If it works, do it! ...

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Questions to Ask Your Characters

Many writers begin developing characters by creating character profiles, which identify physical traits and simple backstory. But oftentimes the real questions go unanswered until the writer is deep in the manuscript—making the editing process much more involved than it needs to be.

Before you ever start writing, take some time to really get to know your characters.

First, ask them these three big questions ...

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