Writer Struggles: 6 Steps to Get Unstuck

Last June, I started a ghost story for Camp NaNoWriMo. I really liked this idea. I’d set it in a historical period (the Gilded Age) which I know well. I’d selected a location I loved working with (Newport, RI) but for some reason the story wouldn’t gel. I had a beatsheet and an expanded outline …
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10 Things I (Don’t) Hate About You

Kat, the protagonist (portrayed by Julia Stiles) in the film 10 Things I Hate About You, is not a likable character. Nor does she strive to be likable. It’s more the reverse with her; she’s intentionally rude, domineering, and opinionated. Since the film is based on The Taming of the Shrew, making her a bit …
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Could Your Book Make the 10% Mark?

  Love it or hate it, the new Amazon Kindle Unlimited just made it easier for avid readers to sample a huge number of books while paying a fraction of the total cover price. The new program will give subscribers access to over 600,000 titles, many of them Indies, but also some big name authors. …
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Creating Tension: Can There Be Too Much Conflict in a Story?

The other evening I was watching Scandal. Admittedly I came late to the party, missing the first season, then watching it on demand and jumping into season two enthusiastically. But the other night I very nearly turned it off. Aside from the constant snarl on Olivia’s face—which irritates me to no end—the relentless arguing, fighting …
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He Said, She Said: Writing Dialogue

Writing dialogue is the heart of my writing. A scene always takes shape in my mind with two or more people having a conversation. I put the dialogue to paper and then add the physical setting, background details, emotions, inner monologue and body language. It’s the only way I know how to write. As I’ve …
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Character Chemistry: 6 Dos and Don’ts for Getting a Group Together.

We’ve all had this experience, we hear about a new book, movie or TV show and it resonates with us. We know we’re going to love it. We count down the days to the release. During the waiting agony, we talk the ears off anyone who stands still long enough, eagerness dripping from every gushing …
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The Controlling Idea – Not Your English Teacher’s Theme

My last post about Theme turned out to be a little contentious. Not everyone agreed with the definition, which isn’t surprising considering we were all taught in English class that theme is a) usually distilled down to one word, like “salvation” or “death”, and b) open to interpretation. This approach to theme works in a …
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