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Good People Making Bad Choices: Could this be your character?

Good people making bad choices is something that many of us struggle to fathom. I mean, surely if they were ‘good’ then they would ultimately go with their better judgement. Good people uphold values such as human dignity, even when it’s tough. World War II was when this phenomenon really came into the public eye, as the world struggled to accept that all Germans were not monsters. In fact, the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the person directly responsible for Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’, found that many of the war criminals standing before them were mild-mannered, courteous people. And the moment any psychological phenomenon becomes interesting, writers tend to perk up and listen. Does this relate to my character? Maybe this is why he did what he did? Or if you’re anything like me, Read More

Poetry Prompts for the End of the Year

The end of another year is just around the corner. It’s a busy season packed with holiday shopping, gatherings with friends and family, and preparations for the new year ahead. Maybe you don’t have time to sit and write the way you usually do. Maybe your head is spinning with all the things you have to get done. That’s fine. Just set a few minutes aside and let these poetry prompts walk you through a brief writing session. We’ll even keep the focus on things that are going on right now–things like food, holidays, gifts, goals, and the new year. Poetry Prompts To use these poetry prompts, simply pick one of the lists below and write a quick poem using all of the words from the list. The lists are categorized to make choosing a little easier. Select the one that speaks to you, a Read More

Writing Deadlines: The Unlikely Secret to Creative Freedom

Do you know how to set your own writing deadlines to accomplish your dreams? Ruthanne wrote here about how a move helped her discover the power of deadlines. Joe heartily endorses setting your own deadlines with consequences as accountability (that’s how he wrote his most recent book). Learning to set and meet your own writing deadlines not only helps you get your work done, it provides creative and productive freedom. I’m a firm believer in deadlines. Some will argue that creativity has no end point and that they can’t be inspired if there’s a timeline. If that mindset results in powerful writing and stories that resonate with readers as regularly as you’d like, then go forth and continue with the process that is working for you! If, however, you can’t seem to finish in th Read More

Comic: NaNoWriMo Emergency

    Source: inkygirl.com Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing Read More

How do you describe a place? 6 setting tips

The setting of your story is key to readers being able to imagine ‘being there’. How do you describe a place so it is characterful and contributes effectively to your story? Try these 6 tips: 1. Describe place through characters’ senses We feel connected to place in a story when we see it through characters’ senses. Bring senses such as sight, hearing, touch, smell and even taste (there’s edible wallpaper in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) into your setting. Using every sense might not make sense for your book, yet it’s possible. In Roald Dahl’s children’s classic, set in a sweet factory full of wonder, it somehow makes sense even the wallpaper is delicious. When describing places in your story, think about tone and mood. Should this setting be intimidating or welcomi Read More

My Map to Immersion

I’ve always loved maps. My earliest memories of map-reading are from family car-trips. My dad would reach into the (gigantic!) glove compartment of our ’68 Chevy Bel Air, and hand back the newest neatly folded roadmap of Michigan from his (gigantic!) pile of maps to my sister and me (hey, anything that quiets backseat rowdiness). He religiously picked up the AAA’s latest version from his insurance agent, whose office was a stone’s throw from his barbershop. (In his defense, those were days of growth for American infrastructure.) My sister and I would pore over the map, pointing out the odd town names of the Mighty Mitten, and giggling over the absurd trips one could make between them: from Bellevue to Belleville (in our Bel Air!); Pontiac to Cadillac; Bad Axe to Hell; Podunk to Ju Read More

Writing for Audiobook

Do you love audio books?  Maybe you like to devour the latest epic fantasy novel while you’re on an equally epic road trip, or let a new thriller by your favourite writer entertain you during a boring but necessary house clean. Maybe you have a child who adores the Harry Potter books but is not quite up to reading the last two on his or her own – how excellent to have Stephen Fry do that job instead. I’m of a generation that used to enjoy radio serials – in New Zealand we had one called Portia Faces Life (Portia was a lawyer whose personal and professional lives were both complex.) Another was Doctor Paul: A Story of Adult Love, which I suspect couldn’t have been so very adult, or my parents would not have allowed me to listen to it on days when I was home from school sick.  I Read More

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book: 10 Crucial Steps

Have you ever thought about writing a non-fiction book? Maybe you’re worried that you need to be an “expert”, or you feel daunted by the idea of writing so many words. But you can’t quite let go of that dream of seeing your name on the cover of a finished book. You might have lots of different reasons for contemplating a non-fiction book. Maybe: You want the book itself to bring in money – a perfectly reasonable ambition! You plan to use the book to give you greater credibility and authority in your field – making it easier for you to get paid speaking gigs, for instance. You want the book to essentially be a marketing tool for your business – this might be a short free ebook that you give away on your site, or a fairly cheap mass-market book that introduces new readers Read More

Why Is Writing So Difficult? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

Writing is hard. Even the best writers think so. Hemingway once said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Anything that requires bloodshed is not easy — trust me, I’ve had children! I’m the type of writer who agonizes over word choice. I read and reread my writing until the words lose meaning. I edit pieces a dozen times before I’m ready to publish. My husband, who is also a writer, can craft a thoughtful piece in about 30 minutes. He may make a few errors, but he doesn’t sweat them. My writing process is a teeth-gnashing-and-wailing situation while his is a Sunday drive. It makes me wonder — why is writing so much harder for some of us? Here are the three main reasons why writing is more difficult for some writers. 1. Cripp Read More

How to write a book in 30 days: 8 key tips

Annual writing sprints like NaNoWriMo have many experienced and new authors alike testing their limits. Writing a book – a carefully, beautifully constructed book – does take time. Usually, much longer than 30 days. Yet trying this exercise is useful for building discipline, focus and just getting the first draft done. Here are 8 tips to help: 1: Set attainable goals When someone asks ‘how do I write a book in x days?’ Writers’ reactions are sometimes discouraging. ‘Never write a book with a deadline as small as 30 days!’ Says one Quora user. Reasons you shouldn’t attempt to write a book in such a small time-frame include: Being limited by time constraints could result in low quality writing Producing a first draft may be possible within 30 days but you also need time Read More

Inspiration for Writers: Hunt It Down!

Not many writers lounge in an ivy-covered tower pouring out inspired words – that’s unrealistic. Many successful writers still keep a day job, most out of necessity, some out of choice. How inspired would you feel if you sat in an ivy-covered tower all day? Seasoned writers say that, since few books make much money, the key to earning a living as a writer is to write a lot of books. Not to wait for inspiration. A real-world example: professional songwriters don’t sit on a large rock with their lute or flute, watching the sheep and waiting for inspiration. Songwriting is a joy, true, but for them, it’s also a job. Every major music publisher pays a team of contracted staff writers. Particularly in Nashville, country songwriters get a monthly salary to come to the office every day ( Read More

Publishing Trends: Tropes Readers Adore Across 15 Fiction Genres

Whether you’re looking to write to market or are scouring manuscript submissions for your next acquisition, knowing what tropes appeal to readers can help inform your decision. We see different trends in different categories. And studying these trends, especially those that have been selling well recently, will help you learn what content can best engage your audience. To help you get a sense of what’s currently engaging BookBub members, we’re showcasing two trending tropes across each of 15 different categories, along with examples of books that performed well for each trope. These trends and examples are based on our internal engagement data from the past few months as well as our editors’ research. Note that our readers’ tastes change over time, and these are the tropes that Read More

Writing Scary Stories & Horror for Kids: 4 Lessons from Goosebumps Author R.L. Stine

There is a fine line between scary and funny when it comes to clowns, ventriloquist dummies and other creepy ghouls, but author R.L. Stine heads straight for the dark side. For more than 25 years, Stine has been writing horror for kids around the world with his Goosebumps series, which has sold over 350 million copies in 32 languages. From the age of nine, Stine knew he wanted to be a writer. Initially, he dreamed of writing humor—not horror—on the old typewriter he found in his attic. While attending Ohio State, he became editor for a humor magazine at the college for three years. When he moved to New York, he fulfilled his dream to write full-time by writing fake celebrity interviews for a fan magazine where he learned to write fast and use his imagination. Soon after he landed a jo Read More

Creative Writing Courses. Would You, Should You, Could You?

Hanif Kureishi famously dismissed the teaching of writing, saying that writing a story is: 'a difficult thing to do and it's a great skill to have. Can you teach that? I don't think you can.' (According to Philip Hensher, Kureishi teaches creative writing at Kingston University, 'ineffectually') We all learn to write. If you're serious about something, generally you will want to learn how to do it well. I wonder why some writersfeel they need to look down on aspiring writers once they have been published and claim writing is some 'mystical gift'. It's not; it's a skilled craft. It's one you need to keep learning; you never reach a golden plateau. Serious writers have always sought and will always seek teachers long before their work gets to an editor's desk. In defence of teaching Read More

All the King’s Editors—Jim Dempsey

Jim’s post is part of the “All the King’s Editors” series, where an editor from the Writer Unboxed contributor team edits manuscript pages submitted by a member of the WU community. Each participating editor approaches a submission in a unique way, and speaks only for him or herself. Remember, editing is as much art as science, and your take on the passage may differ. If so, feel free to join in the discussion at the end, but above all, be kind. If you’re interested in submitting a sample for consideration, click HERE for instructions.   This is a short piece, and doesn’t need much of an introduction since it’s a prologue. A prologue should give a sense of the story and hook the readers. As an editor, I have to ask if the prologue achieves at least one of those goal Read More

Writing and Real Life: Juggling Your Time

I spent 20 years in the military — the U.S. Air Force. And during that time I learned a lot of things. One thing they stressed was time management. When Uncle Sam says a project needs to be done by a certain date, it better be! If you weren’t good at time management, it meant you stayed after duty hours to work on the project. If you had good skills, you went home when everyone else did. Somehow I managed to be in the latter group. Now that I’m “retired,” I think I work harder than I did on active duty. I may not leave the property, which is 100 acres, but I stay busy from sun up to well past sundown. My morning starts by being nudged out of bed by several large dogs wanting to go potty and have breakfast. Yes, they eat first. Once I’m dressed, it’s grab my milk bucket and e Read More

Resolving My Cheater Shame: Listening to Books Instead of Reading Them

Today’s guest post is by author Kristen Tsetsi, who is a regular contributor to this site through the 5 On series. When I told my husband, Ian, several weeks ago that I’d finished reading Andre Dubus III’s Townie, I corrected myself by hastily adding air quotes. “I mean, finished listening to it,” I said, feeling like a poseur. “Whatever,” he said. “Same thing.” “You think?” The hope in my voice was embarrassing. I so wanted them to be the same, wanted to be authentically “well read.” Surely, though, the passive act of being read to by someone who’d decided for every listener where to inflect and what tone to apply to each line of dialogue wasn’t the same as determining those things for myself. Author Betsy Robinson confirms the value disparity betw Read More

Resolving My Cheater Shame: Listening to Books Instead of Reading Them

Today’s guest post is by author Kristen Tsetsi, who is a regular contributor to this site through the 5 On series. When I told my husband, Ian, several weeks ago that I’d finished reading Andre Dubus III’s Townie, I corrected myself by hastily adding air quotes. “I mean, finished listening to it,” I said, feeling like a poseur. “Whatever,” he said. “Same thing.” “You think?” The hope in my voice was embarrassing. I so wanted them to be the same, wanted to be authentically “well read.” Surely, though, the passive act of being read to by someone who’d decided for every listener where to inflect and what tone to apply to each line of dialogue wasn’t the same as determining those things for myself. Author Betsy Robinson confirms the value disparity betw Read More

What Can Flash Fiction Do For Novel Writers?

Are you familiar with flash fiction? Have you dismissed it because you write novels or screenplays or something significantly longer? Well, don’t give up on it just yet. Writing and publishing flash fiction can help in ways you probably weren’t aware, as Gila Green is here to explain. Book publishing is a tough, competitive business. Still, there’s no reason to make the road harder to travel. Enter flash fiction—an excellent way to break into both fiction and nonfiction book publishing. Flash fiction pieces are very short stories that still include their own character development and plot. Other names for flash fiction include nano fiction, micro fiction, postcard fiction, and sudden fiction. Usually anything under 1,000 words is considered flash, but it can be as brief as fifty. Read More

55 American English Words Derived from Algonquian Languages

American English has been enriched by the widespread adoption of words based on vocabulary of Native American tribes, including the many tribes that spoke (and, in some cases, still speak) one of the Algonquian languages of what is now eastern North America. The following is a list of such terms, more or less commonly used, most of which refer to animals or plants or products derived from them. apishamore (Algonquian): a buffalo-hide saddle blanket babiche (Míkmaq): a leather or sinew thong or thread caribou (Míkmaq): a species of large antlered mammal caucus (Algonquian): a group of people who meet to discuss an issue or work together toward a goal; also a verb chipmunk (Odawa): any of various small rodent species that are part of the squirrel family chinquapin (Powhatan): a dwarf ches Read More