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Literary Terms, Writing Tips

Well, Darlings, You’re Weighing Us Down . . .

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” – Stephen King (not the first person to say it, but perhaps the most ominous)It’s a common piece of advice to give to beginning writers, and it’s been attributed…

Literary Terms, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

This Thing’s Important, Right?

One of my favorite books from the Children’s Lit classes I took in college was Treasure Island.  Stevenson stuck with me as an example I wanted to emulate, because nothing in that book is wasted.  Every piece of foreshadowing pays off, every bit of character development comes into play…

Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Ready, Set, Goal!

Have you set goals for the coming year?  Most of us look at a new calendar, fresh with unspoiled pages, as an opportunity.  It’s a reset.  A chance to think about what we want to develop in our lives, what we are ready to let go.  A story offers…

Musing, Writing Tips

Dross and Hero Stuff

Can we be brutally honest?  As a writer, you simply cannot be a nice person – at least not when it comes to your characters.  There is no quicker way to lose reader interest than to present characters who never face failure or loss, who are never in danger, who never…

Musing, Writing Tips

To Wiki or Not To Wiki

So before I started teaching writing, I was a Youth librarian.  And as everybody says, you can take the girl out of the library, but you can’t take the library out of the girl.  Especially when it’s someone like me.  I was always the one chasing down the…

Literary Terms, Writing Tips

I’m Definitely NOT in a Story, Right?

Last month I talked about character self-awareness in the psychological sense.But today, I want to get into the other way this term is used when talking books:  literary self-awareness, where we find fictional characters who either understand their genre, or who realize they are taking part in…

Writing Tips

Using Pinterest to Improve Your Writing

I’ll admit it.  I am a Pinterest addict, heading rapidly towards 10,000 pins.  I make some sort of Pinboard for every class I teach, and every project I plan – not to mention those I’ll probably never get around to.   While the most obvious thing for a writer…

Writing Tips

Outlining and Road Trips

We went on a mini-road trip over the weekend, and that got me thinking about journeys, both real and literary. The weather the past week or so has been unseasonably warm and absolutely gorgeous. We have a brand new little car (after sharing a gas-guzzling vehicle for three…

Writing Tips

Character Development and Development as a Writer

On Friday, we had a meeting with the new/returning  Work Study Employees for the kids/teen camps.  I asked them all to tell each other their majors.  When they’d gone around the room, one of them jokingly asked, “So what’s your major.”“Life,” I said.  And it…

Writing Tips

Physical Description

So I thought I’d kick this off with a few of my favorite things. Bicycling into the sunset, a really good chocolate cupcake, The Princess Bride. Let’s focus for a moment on that last one.I’ve spent the morning putting together my PowerPoint for the character development…