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    Ten Ways To Love Your Readers

    Someday your writing will be read by someone other than your family. And when the time comes that people who don’t know you love what you have to say, you need to make sure that you love them back.  Here are ten ways to show the love to your readers.  1. Be accessible.   Your social media presence should be there to nurture relationships, not just push your sales. Carefully consider every way that you and your brand are represented. If it’s not welcoming or easy to find, make some changes. 2. Be generous. This means you need to be a in a position to give without any expectation of return. Readers…

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    Do You Read Like A Writer?

    If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. — Stephen King Stephen King knows what he’s talking about. Aside from actually writing, reading is probably the best way to cross-train your writing mind and strengthen your writing skills. You could also think of it as feeding your writing muscles. Just like any other muscle, you can care for your writing muscles by using them regularly and making sure you get good nutrition. Read books in your genre. There are a lot of good reasons to read in your genre, but I’m only going to touch on a couple…

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    10 Tips For Creating a Dysfunctional Family In Your Fiction

    To paraphrase Tolstoy: “All messed up families are the same, they are messed up in a different way.” If you want to create conflict in your fictional family life, there are millions of different ways to do it. Generally speaking, most conflict in families comes from power struggles. In abusive situations, one person usually holds most of the power and they conditionally give power to the other members of the family.  Here are a list of 12 general ways that this power struggle might manifest itself in a family. And as awful as it is to go through in real life, the fight for power is a gold mine for…

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    Potential Lies Your Protagonist Could Tell Themselves

    Conventional wisdom suggests that protagonists should likable, or at least if not likable, relatable. The strongest protagonists could be those that the reader sees themselves in, even for a moment. But what is it that they recognize? Could it be self-delusion? Great stories often come out of the internal struggles that characters face as the story progresses. Sometimes as the story unfolds, the lies crumble before them, one at a time, so characters have to recalibrate how they view the world and their circumstances.  Lies can be the biggest obstacle protagonists face. Here are some suggestions on lies your characters may believe. Potential Lie #1: Others’ approval is everything! What…

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    Creating the “Happy” Protagonist

    Recently I finished listening to the audio version of “A Gentleman in Moscow” and I have to say, it was one of the best books I have read in my life! Besides the stellar writing, the complicated plot, the big ideas that it addressed, I liked it because the main character, Count Alexander Rostov, was happy. He was happy despite his harrowing circumstances, the loss of his position and relationships, the tedium of his prison and the hopelessness of Soviet Russia in the mid-20th century. Was Rostov Pollyanna-ish, a goody-two-shoes, or completely unrelatable? Not at all, despite his own confession that he was a fuddy-duddy. Instead, I was compelled to…

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    Tips For Writing A Worthy Anti-Hero

    You’ve watched them, or read about them, and you knew the main character was the one you were supposed to be cheering for, but . . . what if that protagonist wasn’t always good? They may be an anti-hero, and if you’re conflicted about them, you’re supposed to be. Read this: Men’s Health: 19 Anti-Heroes We Can’t Stop Rooting For Why do we like Anti-Heroes so much? Anti-heroes are often troubled, complicated, and come with a lot of baggage. Perhaps their popularity is a reflection on a more cynical society that we are drawn to anti-heroes more than the typical good guy. We may identify with their values. Moral absolutes…

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    Capturing Your Readers with Character Hooks

    When I was in college, I listened to a speaker who, at the podium, had a towel on his arm much like a waiter. When he began his speech, I kept waiting for him to make reference to the towel. Oh, I thought, the longer that he took to get to the point, this is going to be creative and good, and I’m going to be dazzled by the reasons why the towel is there. I watched him, waiting, hanging on every word. But he went through his entire 30-40 minute presentation a never mentioned the towel at all.  I was baffled, but I had been hooked by his presence.…

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    Reasons Why Your Manuscript May Have Been Rejected

    Getting a rejection is no fun. After all the work that you’ve put into a project, it is discouraging and sometimes demoralizing to receive yet another rejection email. It’s all the more painful if this is the third, or thirteenth, or thirtieth, or three hundredth one. There could be reasons why. Most editors, agents, and publishers don’t take the time to point out flaws in a submission. And if you ask, you’re likely not to get an answer. So consider these — admittedly oversimplified— problems that could have been the culprit. Have you written about old trends? Publishing, like everything else, has trends that ebb and flow. No one has…

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    Nine Signs of Amateur Writing

    It usually takes me about a page or so, maybe even less. But I can tell an amateur writer by their prose. Here are the nine most obvious mistakes I see amateur writers make. Amateurs put in all the fascinating research. Unless the book is Les Miserables, and the writer is going on and on about Parisian sewer systems, research is usually way more fun for the writer than it is for the reader. Experienced writers know the reader isn’t there for the fascinating detail, they’re there for the story. Cut back your research information and share just enough to get the point across. Amateur writers tell what every character…

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    Multiple Points-of-View: Tips for Clarity and Creativity

    Years ago, back when I was tinkering with my first novel, I met another writer for coffee. She left the impression she was far more experienced than I was about writing. When I described my first ever work-in-progress to her, I said, “I alternate points of view between this college age woman and her sister-in-law who  . . . .” “Let me stop you right there,” she said. She may have even condescendingly patted me on the hand. “Don’t write in dual POVs. At least not in your first book. You really need to know what you’re doing first. Save that for when you’re really good.” Or something like that.…