Tips for Releasing Your Inner Poe

Gothic literature is delicious and deadly and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about it. It’s a literary form most people either love or hate. I fall in the love-it camp and I’m always hunting for great examples. I enjoy the old masters and finding new writers who rework the old tropes in fresh ways. …
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Reading For Writers 101: Character Change, part 2

Last week’s lesson was about how Character Change makes a story more satisfying, and I evoked the good name of James Bond to make my point. Audiences and readers, now more than ever, want characters who grow and evolve. But figuring out your character’s change is just one step; you also need to develop how …
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Five Ways to Get to Know Your Characters

I took classical Greek in college. I loved it, sort of like doing word puzzles. What letter is this squiggle, what is the meaning of that series of squiggles? One thing I learned was that spacing between words and punctuation were relatively modern conventions meant to make literacy more accessible for larger numbers of people. …
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Nancy Drew: Detective…and Writing Teacher?

I was hooked on mysteries with my first Nancy Drew (Carolyn Keene). Who wouldn’t want to be her, zipping around in her little red car with her girlfriend, George, and boyfriend, Ned? She was intrepid, daring, smart, and very independent. In the 1950s, when I was reading Nancy Drew books, there weren’t many examples for …
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I is for Improvement: THE BOOKSHELF MUSE

As a self-taught writer, I’ve stumbled around plenty in my journey to elevate my writing skills past college-level English class. I’ve joined writing groups and subjected myself to ruthless critique, attended a writing workshop weekend in the back hills of Virginia, and confess to relying heavily on the Internet. Along the pathway, I discovered an …
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