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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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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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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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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 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.
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Weaving Flashbacks Seamlessly into Story

Flashback is a powerful tool for weaving in important backstory—but as with any power tool, using it well requires knowledge and care.
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Children’s Dialogue: They Don’t Talk Like Adults

Children aren’t miniature grownups. When writing a story with a child character, take time to really listen to how kids of that age talk.
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The Value of Percolation

Setting an idea or draft aside for “percolation” allows the brain’s subconscious to arrive at insights while we’re busy with something else.
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What Your Writing Is Training You For

To survive and be happy in a creative career, focus on WHAT you’re doing and WHY—and have faith that everything will work out in due time.
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13 Ways to Freaking Freak Out Your Horror Readers

For horror writers, here are some ways to frighten a reader so badly that they text someone at midnight saying, “You have to read this!”
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What If Your Memoir Is Middle Grade?

What makes a memoir suitable for YA or middle-grade readers isn’t shying away from tough topics but approaching them with a child’s eyes.
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If You Can’t Stand the Sight of Your Own Blood, Don’t Step Into the Ring

It’s difficult yet important to develop enough confidence in your work that you’re not sunk every time someone dislikes it and says so.
Laura Zats and T.S Ferguson

How Important Is Genre When Pitching and Promoting Your Book?

Two literary agents discuss the usefulness and limits of assigning a genre to writing, and how it’s perceived by publishers and readers.
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You Are Not Your Traumas. But Here’s How to Write About Them

Writing sustainably about trauma requires practicing moderation, focusing on meaning, and working in ways that limit your exposure.
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How to Write a Thought Leadership Book

Defining your why, who, what, and how is the start of writing a powerful thought leadership book that conveys your vision and impacts lives.
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A Year Without Social Media as a Freelance Writer

For freelancers, forgoing social media can mean giving up crucial visibility. But it can also provide time to focus on being a better writer.
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3 Shifts You Need to Make to Finish Your Book

If you’ve been seeking external solutions to your writing problems, these internal shifts might have a more profound effect on your progress.
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3 Things to Ask Yourself Before Writing about Trauma

Writing about trauma isn’t like ripping off a Band-Aid. Here are some strategies for assessing whether you’re ready and proceeding gently.
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Want to Write a Great Novel? Be Brave.

Imbuing a character’s story with your own life experience—the good, bad, ugly and transformational—unleashes your book’s full emotional power.
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Use Telling Details to Connect Description to Character

One key to compelling fiction is in how details are conveyed. Not everything warrants description—only details that matter to the character.
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When a Writer Dies: Making Difficult Decisions About the Work Left Behind

When an author’s death leaves a manuscript unfinished, her husband tries to put together the pieces and complete the book.
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The Role of Causation and Plot Structure in Literary Fiction

Cause and effect plotting is every bit as important to literary fiction as to genre fiction or thriller; it’s just expressed in subtler ways.
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Here’s What Can Happen When You Resolve to Write a Little Every Day

One author shares how creation of a daily writing routine has made all the difference in attaining her goals.
Don't Let Your Characters Fall Into the Daily Routine Trap

Don’t Let Your Characters Fall Into the Daily Routine Trap

When writers seek to humanize and bring their characters to life, they often fall into the “daily routine trap": they overexplain the daily or mundane actions of their characters.
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How to Get Your Writing Done When New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work (and They Usually Don’t)

Instead of resolving to make a big change in your habits, think of one small thing to do to support your writing in the new year.
To Everyone Who Wants Me to Read Their Writing and Tell Them What to Do

To Everyone Who Wants Me to Read Their Writing and Tell Them What to Do

To achieve writing success—especially commercial success—requires an inner drive that pushes you forward no matter what feedback you receive.
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What Makes a Story Feel Like a Story?

What’s the difference between a story and a narrative that merely relates a series of events? The protagonist’s internal struggle.
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7 Steps for Tackling a Revise & Resubmit (R&R)

Receiving an R&R is good news, and a great opportunity to show agents or editors your revising skills and how you accept feedback.
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Choose the Perfect Title for Your Novel or Memoir: 7 Authors Offer Tips

Giving your book a good title that captures the essence of your story is one of the most important things you’ll do.
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When—and Whether—to Hire a Developmental Editor

A developmental editor is like any tool in your toolbox. Knowing whether and when to use one will help you get the most bang for your buck.
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How to Overcome Perfectionism to Achieve Your Writing Goals

Perfectionism—the fear of risking failure—is anathema to the writing process, but can be overcome by establishing a different mindset.
The Kindle Vella Experience: Is It for You?

The Kindle Vella Experience: Is It for You?

A literary fiction author dipped her toe into Amazon’s serialization platform Kindle Vella. Here’s why she did it, and her thoughts so far.
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Writing Compassionately about Parents

Applying craft techniques—like complexity and telling details—is crucial to bringing our parents, and their humanity, to life on the page.
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Debuting at the Age of 66

This author is living proof that neither age nor lack of experience writing fiction are barriers to becoming a novelist.
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Deciding Between Simple and Complex Memoir Structures

Will you tell your story in a linear, chronological manner, or use a more complicated structure? Here’s how to decide what might be best.
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Maybe It’s Not Your Plot

Character arc—a protagonist’s internal journey—is less obvious than the events of the plot, but it’s what makes a story meaningful.
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Structure Isn’t the Holy Grail You’re Looking For

Your memoir’s structure can reveal itself later, once the primary elements are in place. In the meantime, concentrate on scaffolding.
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NaNoWriMo: How to Fly by the Seat of Your Pants—and Win

For writers who prefer to work without a roadmap, here are some tips for reaching your NaNoWriMo goals.
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Use Your Analyzer Switch to Increase Productivity

Envision your inner critic as an adjustable dial: turn it lower to let ideas flow freely, and higher when it’s time to analyze and revise.
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Adversaries in Fiction: Who Is Standing in Your Character’s Way?

Your story’s adversary might come in many shapes or sizes. Most important, ensure that the conflict they present has a reason for existing.
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Your Writing Matters. A Coach Can Help.

Just as coaches help athletes, writing coaches can help authors be more productive, proficient, and proud of what they accomplish.
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Why You Should Write a Novella for NaNoWriMo 2021

Only a fraction of participants reach the finish line. Setting your sights on the more compact novella form might help you go the distance.