Character Need: Psychological + Moral

I’ve been reading writing craft books for almost two decades, and it’s gotten to the point where most of them don’t tell me anything I don’t already know. But recently I had a creative crisis that prompted me to look hard for new information, and after a couple misses I came across THE ANATOMY OF STORY …
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3 Things That Make A Story Worth Writing

I’ve had many false starts on my writing journey – stories that started strong and got lost in the middle, stories that fell flat and forgettable at the end, stories that had a debilitatingly weak character arc. I found ways to address all those problems, but in the process still wasted a lot of time. …
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Moody Musings: Shopping My Novel. Again.

I feel a little down this week, or maybe I’m just being reflective. Perhaps it’s because the holidays are right around the corner, or because I’ve had a crappy few years filled with injury after injury. Being sidelined on my couch is good for writing but not so hot for the rest of my life. …
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Are You Over-Revising? Answer 2 Questions to Find Out

Last week I confessed the reasons Why I Haven’t Finished My Novel, and #1 is that I over-revise. To recap, that means when a story isn’t quite working, I change it in huge, drastic ways that make it a totally different story. Sometimes the main character even sports a whole new personality! My solution to …
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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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Does Your Novel Have a Theme with a Capital “T”?

Theme is like a truffle – it has to be there, just under the surface, but one must snort through much mud to unearth it. A most unpleasant process I’ve been stuck in for the last few months. So why do I keep at it? Won’t the theme of my book just magically appear once …
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What’s a B-Story? And Why That Love Triangle Doesn’t Cut It

Before I explain what a B-Story is and why it’s crucial, here’s a list of what it is not: Comic relief that is inconsequential to the main story. A side plot that has nothing to do with your hero. A tacked-on love story to appease those who say YA needs a love triangle. These are …
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