Fiction How-to

What to Do When Your Imagination Fails to Translate to the Page

by Amy Michelle Carpenter and Angela Woiwode with Angela Eschler Writers possess active imaginations as well as an eagerness to share what those imaginations produce, and so it’s frustrating when what’s in our head fails to translate to the page.  There are many...

7 Steps for Hiring a Good Editor

by Victoria Passey 1. Understand the different types of editing. There are several types of editing: content/developmental editing, substantive/deep-line editing, copyediting, and proofreading, as well as edits for style guides and fact-checking. Together, they create...

The Fainting Damsel

Adding Emotion to Your Writing without the Melodrama by Amy Michelle Carpenter and Angela Woiwode Many writers struggle with making their writing shine and adding emotion without making it melodramatic. It can be tempting to rev up the drama in every scene to ensure...
Romance vs. Women’s Fiction

Romance vs. Women’s Fiction

Which Do You Mean to Write? by Marla Buttars Cue the lights. Hear the screaming crowd take sides. Because today, people, we’re covering…(drumroll) Romance verssssuuus… Women’s fiction! Okay, while that may sound like a bad episode of WWE, romance and women’s fiction are two genres that seem to cross each other’s lines and consequently appear muddy and interchangeable to many authors. But they are very distinct genres and you need to be able to s…

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Choosing Your Fiction Title

Choosing Your Fiction Title

by Marla Buttars Coming up with a title can make even veteran authors groan in agony. Don’t believe us? Check out some of these original titles we found in an article from The Huffington Post: All’s Well That Ends Well sends a much different message than War and Peace (by Leo Tolstoy). The High-Bouncing Lover thankfully became The Great Gatsby (by F. Scott Fitzgerald). Tote the Weary Load became the more poetic Gone with the Wind (by Margaret Mi…

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Avoiding Narrator Intrusion

Avoiding Narrator Intrusion

by Emilee Newman Bowles Hello, “dear reader” As a young English Lit student, I laughed to myself when a story addressed the reader like this. It used to be common to tell the “dear reader” the moral of the story. These days it’s passé. Even if you know you should avoid speaking directly to the reader, there’s more than one way to send a reader catapulting away from your story through narrator intrusion. Let’s be clear before we get started: we’r…

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When Is Fair Use Fair?

When Is Fair Use Fair?

by Michele Preisendorf with Angela Eschler Writers love quotes. What word-nerd doesn’t? We tape them on our mirrors, dashboards, and walls and post them to our websites. We like them to set the tone for our novels, start our nonfiction chapters off with inspiration and insight, and add authority to our own ideas. But many writers are never quite sure what’s safe to quote—how much, and in what contexts? Are there instances when you can safely bor…

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What Makes a Bestseller? Part 2

What Makes a Bestseller? Part 2

A Strong Premise: Your Story’s Hook by Sabine Berlin with Angela Eschler In part 1 of our articles defining “high concept” and what makes for a bestseller, we listed one requirement as a “hook that’s easy to describe.” Think of the hook as the heart of your story: your fresh idea + the main conflict your character faces. (You may also have heard that your “hook” is the opening of the story. For the term in that context, go here.) When it comes to…

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Coming of Age: Writing for MG, YA, NA

Coming of Age: Writing for MG, YA, NA

by Sabine Berlin, with Angela Eschler It started with a boy wizard, it grew with a vegetarian vampire, and it continued to explode with a girl on fire. Sprinkled in among the dark lords, werewolves, and districts was a magical forest behind Grandpa’s house and a school for the half-blood children of Greek gods. Since the early 2000s, books for kids have taken a dramatic turn right into the hearts of young and old alike. As the children/youth boo…

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Editor’s Nightstand: Recipes for Success

Editor’s Nightstand: Recipes for Success

“An anesthesiologist has to do only one thing well: Put the patient under without killing him. But she has to know about five hundred things to do it successfully. It is the same with the writer.” —Larry Brooks, Story Physics A writer only has to do a few things well to woo agents, publishers, or an adoring public but having to know hundreds of things in order to do those few well? That sounds like a lot of work—not just an affair with NaNoWriMo…

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