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Transforming Coal Into Diamonds: Telling Painful True Stories Through Fiction

Shifting from memoir to fiction allows painful memories to be expressed, while sharing the hard-won wisdom we’ve gained through experience.
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The Art and Purpose of Subtext

Subtext, the real conversation hidden by surface talk, can deepen the story with unpredictable outcomes and emotion.
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3 Ways That Writerly Grit Leads to Publishing Success

It takes grit to seek and implement qualified feedback, and to keep finding ways to improve a manuscript even after you’ve given it your all.
Photo of Kern Carter, with a quotation: Studying the industry gave me an understanding of what it would take to make my manuscript a commercial success. And I know some authors might be cringing at the word “commercial,” but I didn’t sacrifice an ounce of creativity when writing Boys and Girls Screaming. In fact, it’s probably my most creative novel and the story where I had to use my imagination the most.

Business and Creativity Go Hand in Hand: Q&A with Kern Carter

The Toronto-based novelist discusses his journey from self- to traditional publishing, marketing, the art and business of writing, and more.
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How to Get Published in Modern Love, McSweeney’s or Anywhere Else You Want

If you’d like to see your work in national publications—and get paid—tailor your essay to smoothly fit their voice and mission.
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Persistence Pays the Weary Writer

A half-hour’s writing might yield only 500, 300, even a mere 100 words. But a half-hour’s writing over 7 or 8 months: a book’s worth of words.
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Want to Build Tension? Encourage the Reader to Ask Questions

Anticipation—“Will it happen or won’t it?”—keeps readers on edge, and we can make use of their need to know by building scenes that cater to it.
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Grow Your Writing Business by Stepping Away From Your Computer

Why one freelancer believes that spending too much time at a computer holds writers back from producing their best work.
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Don’t Fall for These 5 Writing Myths That Can Set Back Your Writing

As writers, we often cling to certain myths that suck up emotional energy and reinforce practices that undermine the creative process.
Get in Front of Readers’ Doubts and Objections

Get in Front of Readers’ Doubts and Objections

When writing a prescriptive nonfiction book, anticipating doubts and objections lets your readers feel seen and keeps them on the page.
Allison Hunter and Jennifer Weltz

How Are Books Adapted for the Screen? Two Agents Demystify the Process

Two agents discuss the importance of retaining film rights, option types, author involvement in adaptations, and much more.
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How Suspense and Tension Work Together to Increase Story Impact

Skillful authors weave suspense and tension to draw readers through stories on a taut thread of unanswered questions and constant frictions.
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7 Questions to Reboot a Nonfiction Book You’ve Been Writing Forever

Focusing on your “just right” reader—instead of trying to convey everything that every reader might need to know—can help combat overwhelm.
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Moving Between Scenes with Summary and Spacers

What’s between scenes is like mortar—necessary for your story’s structure, but not significant—and well handled using summary and spacers.
Nikki Nelson-Hicks author photo and pull-quote: We do not bring more darkness into this world by writing horror. We show it to you. We mirror the monster hiding behind you. And we teach you how to kill it.

If You Don’t Feel “Literary” Enough: Q&A with Nikki Nelson-Hicks

The author of “weird fiction” discusses why writers should never wait for permission, and the value of reading and writing for entertainment.
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Good Scenes Require Specifics

A little preparation—noting environmental details, character moods and motivations—will make a big difference in the way your scenes unfold.
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The Secret Side Careers of Successful Authors

Many successful authors maintain side writing careers, in less glamorous forms such as grant writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting.
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The Building Blocks of Scene

“Making a scene” in public often happens spontaneously, but creating emotionally compelling scenes on paper requires considerable planning.
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3 Things I’ve Learned About Storytelling (and Life) from Performing Narrative Nonfiction

One author’s tips for performing your stories in front of a live audience.
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7 Questions to Design a Better Arc of Change for Your Protagonist

Your novel’s external and internal parts must be intricately woven together to create a work that truly resonates with readers.
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Improve Your Own Storytelling by Analyzing Other People’s

One of the best ways an author can learn their own storytelling craft lies in what we already avidly do: take in other creators’ stories.
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How (and How Not!) to Write Queer Characters: A Primer

Tips for avoiding stereotypes and tokenism, and presenting more interesting, complex, three-dimensional queer characters.
3 Common Pitfalls in Memoir Queries

3 Common Pitfalls in Memoir Queries

Memoirists have a lot of leeway in choosing a pitching strategy. But with freedom comes great responsibility, and it's easier to get into trouble when there isn't a tried-and-true formula to follow.
Why Agents Don’t Give Feedback—And Where to Get It Instead

Why Agents Don’t Give Feedback—And Where to Get It Instead

Providing feedback to every pitch would leave agents no time for their existing clients. Instead, check your own first pages for weak spots.
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Amazon Ads: Step-by-Step Walk Through for Beginning Authors

Amazon ads are a valued (and sometimes expensive) tool for authors and publishers to drive book visibility and sales. Here's a guide to getting started.
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Looking for a Beta Reader? Flip That Question Around.

Beta reading for others can be a creative education. Lean into that, and your future books will be all the better for it.
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Is Hybrid Publishing Ethical?

As in any industry, business ethics are about a commitment to transparency and integrity. Here’s how writers can select a trustworthy partner.
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Getting Book Endorsements (Blurbs): What to Remember, Do, Avoid, and Expect

Seeking blurbs—quotes and endorsements—is a task that most writers absolutely hate. Here are some tips that can get you closer to a yes.
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The Hybrid Publisher Debate: Do You Have the Right Mindset?

Not all hybrid and paid-for publishers are the same, and picking the right option depends on every author’s own thorough self-assessment.
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Promote Your Book with Your Values

Thinking creatively about book events might allow you to align the things you care about with the time you spend on promotion.
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The Julie & Julia Formula: How to Turn Writing Envy Into Writing Success

Dedicated and even obsessive engagement with another creator’s work can open unexpected doors for your own writing.
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Nonfiction Writers: Find Your External and Internal Why

Does my story matter? Is it good enough? They’re questions every writer asks, and the way to answer them is to connect to your why.
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How a Little Psychology Can Improve Your Memoir’s Setup

The early part of your memoir should reveal the short list of narrator flaws and problems you’ll resolve by the end of your book.
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Why Write When the World Is on Fire?

In times of sickness, cultural upheaval, and real existential threats, perhaps stories matter more than ever.
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Your Journal as Time Machine

The pages of your journal can be a time machine, transporting you from the here and now to snapshots of your internal world, over the years.
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To Nail Your Memoir’s Beginning, Stop Looking in the Wrong Direction

Your book’s ending must reveal the story’s resolution. Once you know what you’re resolving, you can establish a clear path for getting there.
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The Vital Difference Between Plot and Story—and Why You Need Both

By spending as much (or more) time weaving a dynamic Story as you do creating a flashy Plot, readers will walk away feeling satisfied.
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Not a Journal Person? Post-Pandemic Might Be the Perfect Time to Start

Here are some of the many ways that a journaling practice can serve as a laboratory for your writing, and your life.
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The Benefits of MFA Programs: Q&A with Alan Davis

One professor addresses common questions and criticisms about MFA programs.
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We All Need to Be Defended Against Predatory Publishing Practices

Brooke Warner, founder of She Writes Press, responds to a recent UK report about unethical practices in the hybrid publishing realm.
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Is Journaling a Waste of Writing Time?

Not only can a journaling practice sustain and inspire your writing projects—a commitment to it can inform and improve your entire life.
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Writers, Stop Using Social Media (Like That)

A social media following doesn’t guarantee sales. Building an audience that’s engaged with your work—your mission—requires more varied tools.
Quote from Becky Tuch: "What it comes down to, and I’m not sure people talk about this enough in creative writing programs: If you are passionate and obsessed then you will get it. You will find your way."

How the Literary Journal Landscape Is and Isn’t Changing

The publisher of the Lit Mag News Roundup discusses current trends, editor pet peeves, diversity, how to handle rejection, and more.
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Why Frankenstein Still Sells 40,000 Copies a Year

The more important and perennial a problem that a book addresses, the better the chances it will survive the test of time.
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Tell Your Story with 3 Tarot Cards

The imagery and symbolism in a tarot deck can help an author achieve clarity on character and story arcs, internal and external journeys.
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How to Gracefully Leave Your Writing Group

Wanting to leave your writing group doesn’t make you a jerk. Departing with grace is an act of kindness that furthers your development and the friendships you cherish.
Why So Many Blogs and Newsletters Aren't Worth the Writer's Effort

Why So Many Blogs and Newsletters Aren’t Worth the Writer’s Effort

Many writers are told to blog or send an email newsletter without much idea of how to approach it. Here are the most common mistakes they make.
Why Your Amazing Writing Group Might Be Failing You

Why Your Amazing Writing Group Might Be Failing You

The real reason writing groups sometimes fail us has nothing to do with the lovely people in them. The failure is due to a mismatch between what you need and what the group offers.
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Why You Should Consider a University Press for Your Book

University presses are not just for scholars, and many are far more open-minded than you may think.
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The Secret Ingredient of Successful Openings

A story intro that shows internal trouble, signaling the beginning of a character arc, makes agents and editors sit up and take notice.