Revision: logic and imagination

Both logic and imagination are necessary in revision. Revision is not some dry process. It is fluid, floating between solid logic and airy imagination. The writer dips her toes in each world. Logic gives you the ABCs – structure, guidelines, rules. Imagination gives you the words. The chapter I spent three days revising needs to […]

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Bringing Subplots Back to Life

Even though I have spent my whole month doing just that, I’m having trouble articulating the steps I used. I’m going to pull up Scrivener, look at my notes, and try to reverse the process by listing 5 of the strategies that I used. Plan, plan, plan (if you’re a plotster) the subplot’s progress so […]

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Writing Art With Impact

Life isn’t art – life is life. But photographs of life can be art. Paintings can be art. Poems can be art. And novels can be art with impact. In any genre. Art with impact requires attention, opinion, technique, and refinement. Attention: Before you can write about something, you have to notice it, possibly study […]

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Raise Reader Tension: The Unknown

Introduce the Unknown and you will have the reader on edge — an immediate increase in reader tension. You can do this at any point. I think Middles are particularly well-suited for doing this since Beginings are for set-up, Endings are for wrap-ups, but Middles are for complications. And what is more intriguing and unsettling  […]

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Raise Reader Tension: Main Characters

How can you increase reader tension? I mentioned that it isn’t the character that has to feel the tension but the reader. One way to achieve this is through tweaks to your main characters. Remember that surprise is key to reader tension. One reason readers become complacent is that over time, they learn to predict […]

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Raise Reader Tension: Surprise

Does your story drag when you reread it, despite a well-conceived plot? You may be having trouble with dramatic tension. A feeling of tension in the reader is vital to building suspense because it keeps the reader from feeling complacent. Reader complacency is the enemy to tension. A reader can still feel complacent — and […]

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Dare to Write Bad

One great fear of writers is that they will write something bad. I say “Write away!” Practice: To write well, you first must write badly. Writing is a skill that can be improved only through practice. Bad writing is writing where you make mistakes. A diligent writer will learn from those mistakes and gradually stop […]

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