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    Tips for Writing A Redemptive Story

    Stories often end with hope: things are set right, amends are made, broken lives are restored. None of us are so perfect that we haven’t needed a chance at redemption. Hope is a universal. You will never go wrong if all points in your story lead to a second, or third chance. Readers resonate with redemptive endings and you can write one too. (Redemptive endings aren’t the same thing, by the way, as a happy ending.)  What should your character be like? Don’t think that a redemptive arc or a hopeful ending looks like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. It doesn’t. Not at all. This is one of the reasons why…

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    Everyone Needs A Spark!

    Join time-crunched writers every for 10MinCon21, an online writing conference July 15-17, 2021. Click here to register now! FAQS for 10MINCON21!  When will this conference be held? July 15-17, 2021 Thursday-Saturday (all times are Eastern Daylight USA time). This is a 100% virtual event via Zoom. What kinds of speakers will be there? We’re very excited to host Angela Ackerman, the coauthor of The Emotion Thesaurus and the website Writers Helping Writers, best-selling suspense author Steven James, literary agent and YA author Eric Smith, and editor extraordinaire and author Tex Thompson. These four speakers are known in their fields and will lead sessions on business, publishing, craft, and editing.  How…

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    10MINCON21 Conference Schedule

    Everyone Needs A Spark! (all times are Eastern Time, USA) Can’t make the Zoom call? No worries! Your admission ticket allows you access for a limited time so you can watch at your convenience. Day 1 – Thursday, July 15, 2021 (all times are Eastern Time, USA) 5:15 – 6:00: Cocktail Hour! You provide the drinks, we provide the conversation! This is your chance to meet new and old friends, share some laughs, and make some new memories! 6:00 – 6:15: Welcome! Our Master of Ceremonies Ian McAllister officially kicks off 10MINCON2021! 6:15 – 6:30: Opening 10 Minute Novelists founder Katharine Grubb 6:30-8:00: Keynote: Steven James “Suspense Essentials: Secrets to…

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    How To Strengthen Your Flabby Middle (for your novel, not your gut)

    Writing the beginning of your book was the best! You knew how to introduce your characters, how to describe that setting, and you created a dynamic inciting incident to get the story rolling. You’re rewritten it hundreds of times and you finally got it right! Then there’s the end. Perhaps you’ve got it all planned out too. You know how the big climactic drama answers all the questions and creates permanent change for the main characters. You can see that last scene, as if it is a movie! But then you have to deal with the middle. Uh boy. You may have hundreds of pages that just sit there, boring…

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    Tips for Writing Strong Rising Action

    What’s going to happen next? We’re at the edge of our seat? The plot thickens! Do your readers have these kinds of reactions as your story progresses? They can if you have strong rising action. Rising action is the progress of your main character as they move toward the big climax. Figuratively, this is like climbing a mountain. The higher the altitude and the steeper the narrative incline, the harder the going for your characters. Progress is not a straight line, instead it is full of hazards, steep inclines, crevasses, obstacles, unpredictable weather, faulty equipment, and self doubt. Yet, as your protagonist faces conflict and tension, their journey generally continues…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Organization,  Time Management

    Fantastic Fridays: A Tiny Plan For A Small Writing Victory

    When we think about our writing goals, we tend to think big. We set our eyes on the prize – the finished story, the published book – and we forget the small steps that lie between our starting point and the prize. You can’t write a story without writing a bunch of paragraphs. A paragraph is not possible without sentences. A sentence requires words. Words start from ideas…and so on. There are all kinds of small victories to plan for and celebrate on the path between our first word and our finished story. If you are trying to write but the thought of the “prize” is too daunting, perhaps you…

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    Questions To Ask When Writing A Scene

    Rhett Butler takes his hat and heads to the door. Scarlet O’Hara is right behind him. They’re parting for the last time. She pleads after him, asking in her self-absorbed way about her future. What will she do? “Frankly my dear,” he says at the threshold. “I don’t give a damn.” And he turns his back on her forever. This is a classic scene from a classic film, one that may even be all that a viewer can remember from Gone With the Wind. The scene concludes the relationship between Rhett and Scarlet and the film and leaves the viewer satisfied and probably wondering what took him so long. The…

  • Craft,  Discipline,  Inspiration,  Motivation

    Fantastic Fridays: Celebrate Every Word & Every Minute

    When we’re aiming to create a writing practice or to complete a specific writing project, we tend to keep our eyes on the road ahead. It’s great to know where we are going, obviously, but have you taken a glance over your shoulder recently? If we always looking forward, we only see the distance between our current position and our goal. But, if we glance backward, we’ll see how far we have come. It is worth taking the time to notice your progress. And it is worth taking time to celebrate your hard work. Even if – especially if- your hard work has mostly been about figuring out how to…

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    How To Tease Your Reader With Red Herrings

    A great writer is like a magician: they can create diversions to get attention off reality and the truth of a situation. In literature, red herrings are often the devices that writers use as a sleight of hand. A red herring tricks the reader, but in a good way, and creates a surprise at the end which delights and resonates with the reader. How do you create a red herring? In the development of the plot, regardless of the genre, a writer can look for parallel or false trajectories of the plot or subplot that can, potentially, lead to nowhere. Often mysteries do this well. Check out any Agatha Christie…

  • Discipline,  Motivation,  Self Talk

    Fantastic Fridays: Keep Trying

    It’s really important not to get discouraged by a single day’s writing (or lack thereof.) Even if the words are misbehaving and refusing to get on the page, you have to keep trying. And I don’t just mean ‘trying to write’, although that is obviously important, I mean trying in all sorts of ways. Try to focus on your process All writers need a reminder to focus on their process, not on the final product. This is especially true in the early stages of a project when thoughts of how it will turn out can seriously derail you. You don’t need to worry about where it will be published, whether…