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Develop the Killing Instinct: Reducing the Word Count — Pamela Mytroen

How does a writer keep to the posted word count without losing all those inspired phrases? And why does it matter? Editors have reasons for setting a maximum word count. Besides the premium of space in a publication, a stipulated word count attracts and creates writers with clear and effective writing. Slashing words from a manuscript is an exercise all

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Who Owns Your Little Gray Cells? — Brenda J. Wood

Who Owns Your Little Gray Cells? — Brenda J. Wood

Agatha Christie wrote 80 crime novels, many collections of stories, 19 plays and six novels under a pseudonym. Her books are only outsold by the Bible and Shakespeare. By any standards, she is a successful writer so maybe we can learn a thing or two from her. 

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Dialogue — Janice Dick

Dialogue — Janice Dick

“He said,” and then “she said,” and then “they said…” The preceding is a good way to lose our readers. How can we, as writers, make our dialogue exciting, compelling and unique to the characters?

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Creating Authentic Characters — Janice Dick

Creating Authentic Characters — Janice Dick

There are many methods for creating fictional characters. We’ll look at how to: create characters from our imaginations use people we know and alter them to be unrecognizable create conglomerates using characteristics from a number of people use actual people

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Genre in Fiction — Janice Dick

Genre in Fiction — Janice Dick

Before we begin talking about plot outlines, character development and setting, let’s discuss a little concept called genre. The word is pronounced john-ra or zhon-ra, and it simply means kind or variety. In our case, it refers to the kinds of stories we read and write.

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The Basic Elements of Fiction — Janice Dick

The Basic Elements of Fiction — Janice Dick

When I present a talk on novel writing, I often ask the audience for their input on the basic elements of fiction, and they come up with several immediately: plot, setting and character. Let’s begin with these. Plot, according to James Scott Bell in his excellent how-to book Plot & Structure, is: “1) a small piece of ground, generally used

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Adding Texture to your Writing — Sandi Somers

Adding Texture to your Writing — Sandi Somers

It has been said you write your first draft for yourself, and the second for your readers. This was vividly brought home to me as I was writing about Calgary’s recent flood for an online course. My first essay focused on my experiences during the critical first day as I visited sites, watched raging floodwaters, talked to people at an

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Puzzling Punctuation — Carolyn Wilker

Puzzling Punctuation — Carolyn Wilker

Punctuation trips up many writers, from beginner to the more experienced, so for this post, I’ll address six of the commonly used punctuation marks:  hyphen, en dash, em dash, colon, semicolon, and ellipsis. Knowing correct usage is important for anyone who writes.

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Publicity, Platform and Social Media — Ruth L. Snyder

Publicity, Platform and Social Media — Ruth L. Snyder

Recently I read two opposing opinions on publicity, platform, and social media: one by Sandra Beckwith and the other by Ewan Morrison. Sandra says, “We’ll talk about how to create and use the single most effective publicity tool for both fiction and nonfiction.” Ewan Morrison counters with, “Do you want to spend 80% of your time creating unpaid market propaganda

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Me? A Writer? — Janice Dick

Me? A Writer? — Janice Dick

How do I become a writer? What are the qualifications? The short answer is: you become a writer by writing. Doesn’t matter what you write or whether or not you’re published. If you write, you are a writer. That’s the one non-negotiable qualification. The long answer goes beyond this simple explanation.

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