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Starting Your Novel With Plot: 3 Strengths and 3 Challenges

Writers focused on plot are often strong when it comes to world-building and “big ideas,” but there are inherent challenges as well.
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Find Your Topic, Not Your Voice

Developing voice is important, but finding a topic that excites you—and others—could be a better first step for a new writer.
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The Art of the Moment Memoir

There are many kinds of memoir, with one thing in common: their authors must ultimately possess the ability to artfully render the moment.
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The Peer Review Process: What Sets University Presses Apart

During peer review, expert scholars evaluate your proposal. Their suggestions can improve your book if you synthesize them thoughtfully.
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Post Book Launch Depression Is a Thing

Publishing a book can be an exciting prospect which often ends in anticlimax. One indie author examines the emotional roller-coaster.
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Starting Your Novel With Character: 3 Strengths and 3 Challenges

Fiction writers who start with character, as opposed to plot or theme, have certain advantages—and certain challenges.
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You Can’t Sell an Idea

Ideas are a dime a dozen. What matters is expressing an idea in ways that are unique to the artist and specific to the time and culture.
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The Alchemy of Emotion: 6 Key Strategies for Emotionally Affecting Fiction

To create the alchemical magic of emotion in your fiction, you need to approach the challenge from more than one angle.
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What Writers Can Learn from Runners

The most useful work is that which tests our limits and forces us to write something we didn’t realize we were capable of producing.
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Don’t Tease Your Reader. Get to the Tension and Keep It Rising

If you write knowing how the story will end, you’ll deprive readers of the tension that comes from putting obstacles in your characters’ way.
How to Get Your First Freelance Byline (and Why Even Fiction Writers Should Freelance)

How to Get Your First Freelance Byline (and Why Even Fiction Writers Should Freelance)

Freelance writing—even for little or no pay—offers a low-stakes way to gain publication credit, hone your skills, and raise your visibility.
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Deepen Characterization by Mining Your Own Reactions

Paying attention to your own visceral reactions and thoughts can help you create richly developed characters who leap off the page.
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Why Your Memoir Also Needs the Good and “Normal” Times

Showing the moments of normalcy brings the reader more fully into your life, and heightens the drama when traumatic events occur.
Your Final Responsibility to Your Story: Creative Stewardship

Your Final Responsibility to Your Story: Creative Stewardship

When you’ve finished your story, it’s time to step into a stewardship role to place it in the best position to connect with readers.
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To Write a Better Memoir, Learn This F-Word

True forgiveness can take years to achieve. That’s why memoirs take longer to write than novels. But it’s worth the effort.
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How to Find Compelling Comps for Your Book

Identifying comparable titles helps agents and publishers understand where your book fits in the market and who your most likely readers are.
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4 Voices That Can Help (or Hinder) Your Memoir

In writing memoir, internal voices—with competing interests—can emerge to inform the narrative. A rounded story is careful to balance them all.
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When I Decided to Write My Own Story—And Not Someone Else’s

One author struggles to prioritize between major writing projects when time and energy are limited.
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What If It Takes 12 Years to Get an Agent?

What keeps many writers from a book deal isn’t a polished manuscript or proposal. It’s a sense of the publishing landscape as it really is.
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3 Key Tactics for Crafting Powerful Scenes

When placed intentionally, crafted well, and set up via emotional context and backstory, scene might be the writer’s most powerful tool.
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Which Comes First: Character or Plot?

Without insight into how your characters will react in even the most mundane of circumstances, you aren’t ready to plan or pants your plot.
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How to Turn a Microsoft Word Document Into an Ebook (EPUB)

Word doesn't export to EPUB, but you can still produce an editable file quickly, without buying software or using a "meatgrinder" conversion.
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Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know: Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing is like hiring a contractor: You pay them to oversee the design and construction and, when it’s done, you own the result.
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How to Get Accepted by a Writing Mentorship Program

Mentorship programs are a popular way to gain knowledge and exposure, but as their popularity has risen the competition has gotten tougher.
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Finding Your Way to the End

Given that many of us sidestep endings in real life, it should not be surprising that writers have trouble concluding book projects.
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3 Common Pitfalls When Writing From Your Own Life

Factual details can be great fuel for your writing, but it’s crucial to recognize when adherence to them is getting in the way of the story.
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Beware of Chapter-by-Chapter Book Critiques

Misguided feedback, which can damage your manuscript, often arises from a common mistake: asking the right question of the wrong person.
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Are You a Mom Writer Thinking of Quitting? Read This First.

Mom writers are wired to succeed at writing (and querying) because they can multitask like no other.
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6 Tips for Writing Deep Third-Person Point of View

Deep third pulls readers into a character’s world view, but pronoun ambiguities and apparent point-of-view shifts push readers away. These 6 tips keep prose sharp.
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3 Traps That Subvert Our Ability to Accept Feedback

Finding the right editor or critique partner is important, but so is being mentally prepared for the feedback you’ll receive.
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Find the Ending Before You Return to the Beginning

Just as we might be conflict averse, it can be tempting to keep revising a story’s beginning instead of proceeding into the messy middle.
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Backstory and Exposition: 4 Key Tactics

There’s a good chance that getting these essential elements right are among the biggest challenges you’ll face with your novel.
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Fix Your Scene Shapes to Quickly Improve Your Manuscript

Like story arcs, individual scenes also have shapes. Understanding yours can help you improve the ones that are falling flat.
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Building Your Writing Support Triangle

The key to an author’s emotional wellbeing and continued productivity is creating a support system, and knowing which part to call on when.
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Do Stories Have a Universal Shape?

The idea of universal story archetypes is not a new one—but its corroboration by an A.I. brings a new dimension to the debate.
The One Thing Your Novel Absolutely Must Do

The One Thing Your Novel Absolutely Must Do

There’s only one thing that any novel must do if it’s going to succeed, and that’s arouse the reader’s curiosity.
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Understanding Third-Person Point of View: Omniscient, Limited and Deep

Third-person POV dominates the current publishing market, so it’s helpful to learn to navigate its many facets.
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The Differences Between Line Editing, Copy Editing, and Proofreading

New authors are often confused about what level of editing they need. Here’s some insight into the differences.
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How I Landed a Book Deal Via Twitter—Unintentionally

For one unagented author, landing a publisher was a result of preparation, transparency, and a well-developed network.
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Is Your Writer’s Block Really Writer’s Indecision?

When facing decisions in your writing, it helps to identify which questions have lower stakes and which ones are preventing real progress.
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How to Effectively Manage Multiple Narrators in Your Novel

There’s nothing wrong with using multiple narrators in a first-person story, but it requires some serious background work.
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The End May Only Be the Beginning: Infusing New Life Into Your Fiction

One editor’s technique to add narrative tension, deepen characterization, and force you to think past the original boundaries of a premise.
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How to Move From First Draft to Second Draft to Publishable Book

When you’ve completed a draft but it’s falling a bit flat, it’s time for the Story Draft: creative work done technically.
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Pick Your Pond: How Nonfiction Authors Can Find the Right Positioning

As an author, it’s good to be a big fish in a small pond—but you’ll benefit even more if your pond is connected to a larger system.
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The Charm of the Large Word

Use of a big word can be beautiful, as long as it meets two criteria: it must be the right word and the best word.
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A Successful Author Was Rejected By Her Publisher. Here’s How She Found Another.

When big publishers rejected a book due to marketing concerns, one author forewent an advance to work with an indie that saw potential.
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Emotional Truth and Storytelling: Why It Works and How

Emotional truth is the lens that allows us to see ourselves in a story, resulting in a heartfelt connection in a fictional narrative.
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4 Story Weaknesses That Lead to a Sagging Middle

If your middle’s lost momentum, check to see if your plot, characters, stakes and suspense consistently propel readers along the story arc.
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Don’t Hold Out for Publishing to Make You Feel Seen. Here’s Another Goal Instead.

Publication is elusive and in many ways out of your hands, but feeling seen is something that writers can offer each other right now.
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I Spent Nearly Two Decades Writing and Editing My Book. It Finally Found a Publisher.

Perseverence isn’t just about finding the right agent or publisher—it’s also about refining your work into the best version of itself.