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Writing Tips

The Power of Lists

I’ve talked before about the power of What If questions when it comes to creativity.  What I want to talk about today is related: the power of making lists. Lists force you to move past the first idea that pops into your head in answer to a What If question.  When I get stuck, I […]

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Let’s Do the Twist

So you’ve come up with a clever twist that you think no one will ever see coming.  And you send it to your beta readers, waiting to hear back that the shock and surprise of the twist had them in awe.  Maybe that’s exactly what happens.  Or . . . maybe they tell you the […]

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Avoiding Emotional Redundancy

Every scene in your manuscript should have a purpose, and move the story forward.  So obviously, you don’t want to waste the reader’s attention with scenes that relay the same information.  But what about the same emotions? Repetition leads to boredom. If, like me, you tend to write long and have to trim back your […]

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Sidekicks and Sounding Boards

Ever wonder why so many characters have sidekicks?  It’s not so much that the character couldn’t do whatever actions the sidekick takes in the story.  It’s that the audience needs to understand the underlying motivations behind the character’s actions, and a sidekick is an easy way to get the protag to vocalize her reasoning. One […]

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Antagonists Who Aren’t Villains

Does every story need a villain? There is a big difference between a villain and an antagonist.  A villain wants to impart physical or emotional pain to your story’s protagonist.  An antagonist is simply at odds with your protag.  Which means a villain is by definition an antagonist – but only some antagonists are villains. […]

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Tension as Uncertainty

No matter what your genre, maintaining tension is key to keeping readers engaged.  Too often, I read work where there is something lacking in a scene, and the writer is trying to fix it by resorting to exaggerated emotions (shouts and slaps when the dialogue itself would be impact enough) rough language (that doesn’t match […]

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Language Learning in Literature and Life

As a language learner, things can get a little overwhelming at times.  Having a conversation one-on-one in a second language can be hard enough, but being dropped into an on-going conversation takes everything to the next level.  I still remember the first time I got into a car with a group of people who wanted […]

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Sticking The Landing

When you watch a gymnast doing a parallel bars routine, it is easy to get caught up in the grace and the power – coupled with an I-could-never-do-that kind of awe.  Nothing ruins that experience – or the gymnast’s score – faster than failing to stick the landing.  A double hop – or worse, falling […]

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