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Articles by Barbara Dunlop


Plot Twists

Dear Barbara, I love your column and hope you'll find time to answer one of my questions. 🙂 I've been told my story needs more "plot twists" and the ones I do have are very weak and need to be strengthened. I was wondering if you could explain in detail what a plot twist is

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What To Do With A Rejected Manuscript

Dear Barbara, I finished my first manuscript just after my first son was born and have been fielding rejection letters ever since. My game plan was to find an agent first, but that is proving difficult. Agents normally ask for more of my manuscript upon reading my query letters, but I can't seem to get

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Finding Time To Write In A Busy Life

Dear Barbara, I am a new author, under contract for my first novel to be published early in 2007. My publisher is interested in my second novel as well. I am a wife and mother to twin toddlers aged three. My question is this, how does one find their flow and balance between all of

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Finding A Good Agent

Dear Barbara, I've heard many horror stories about writers who entrusted their work to agents, only to have the manuscript left sitting on a shelf, or the royalties stolen. In fact, I once signed a contract with an agent who did almost nothing to market my book, and finally she disappeared without a word. She

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The Art of Showing, Not Telling

Dear Barbara, One of the most common pieces of advice I've heard since I started writing a few months ago is to 'Show Don't Tell'. I've also heard some say this means we should write the scene like it's a movie playing out in front of us. Unfortunately, I'm not very good visualizing cinematics, nor

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Speaking Or Presenting A Workshop

Dear Barbara, My first book was published last year and since receiving The Call, I've gone on to sell four more stories to my publisher. I'm planning to attend the National conference in Atlanta this year and have started net-working with various writing groups and RWA Chapters. Several requests have come in, asking me to

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Getting Beyond Blocked

Dear Barbara, A few weeks ago, I decided to get serious about writing the romance novel that burns inside me. I made an outline, worked out my characters, got an idea of the various scenes I want to include, did my research and made heaps of notes. The problem is, now that it's actually time

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