3 Reasons Authors Need Style Sheets

I have always used style sheets. This might be because I come from an academic background where adhering to style criteria is a required component for a submission. So I found it strange to learn most fiction writers skip this helpful step. What is a style sheet? A style sheet is a single document where …
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Outlining – Method 2: Active Beats (aka “Show Don’t Tell”)

Happy Archive Revive Day! It’s always helpful to refresh what we know about writing by digging up past posts and updating the information a bit, so here we go… Originally posted on Oct. 7, 2013. Updated Sept. 21, 2015 I learned this method of outlining at Ryerson University. My screenwriting professor called it a Step Outline. …
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T is for Trello

Writing a book is not as labor intensive as, say, launching a space mission, but sometimes it feels like it is. I use Trello to keep my sanity in check. It helps me manage all my brainstorming, to do lists, blog posts, home repairs, work deadlines and even my kid’s schedules…all in one place. And …
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To Pickle, Or Not To Pickle?

Since I’m in the thick of buying a new house, and packing to move my family, my time is limited. Kathy did me a huge favor by mentioning my pickle trick last Friday in her post. Pickle Trick = Use your software program’s FIND function to locate weak verbs and replace them with the word “pickle.” * …
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Is Killing Your Darlings Murdering Your Book?

We’ve all heard it. Murder your darlings. But what does it mean? Is it just another tip in the ever-growing list of misunderstood writing advice? Or is it the cornerstone of every successful writing project? First the history lesson. It appears this advice originated from Arthur Quiller-Couch. He made this comment in 1914 and all …
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Reading Aloud: Why Hearing Your Book Is Important

Last week I gave a few tips from The Oxford Inklings on improving your critique group. You can read that post here if you missed it. This week I want to share one of that group’s most valuable writing tips. The Inklings all advocated reading works-in-progress aloud. Historically this make sense, they were from a …
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Things are Getting Drafty

Following up and adding to Caryn’s post yesterday: What exactly is a “draft”? If you go from beginning to end without any revisions, that could reasonably be called a draft. But do we really? I work on a scene forever before I move on, maybe I skip around a bit to feel out other characters, …
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