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Writer's Library
The Craft of Writing


8 Easy Steps to Get Your Book on the Shelf

It’s a tough world out there for the soon to be author. The competition is fierce and the skepticism is even greater. There are countless websites offering advice on anything from how to write better to how to market your own book. By the time you’re done wading through the garbage, you’ll question your own

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20 Ways to Improve Your Writing

1. Keep Opinions to Yourself A major pitfall of the amateur writer is to cheat by describing scenery with an opinion, when they should make the scene project that feeling upon the reader without telling them how to feel. Unless the narrator is an integral part of your storyline, descriptions in third-person narration should not

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A Murder Wall For Crime Novelists

Article posted by Nina Davies with the permission of Cheryl Kaye Tardif. A Murder Wall is a vital tool for crime novelists. Imagine trying to write a story without knowing your suspects or their possible motives. For any great crime novelist, your job is to treat your novel like a police investigation, following the clues

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Avoid Creative Dialogue Tag Sydrome

"Just be like that," she pouted. "Oh, come on," he groaned. "Not this again." "You don't love me," she replied. "Right," he snarled. "That's why I bought you an eight hundred dollar diamond." "Here," she sobbed. "Just take it back. Take it." Okay, what's wrong with our sample above (other than being melodramatic)? It's an

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Body Language Basics

In any story, half of the information given to the reader is never spoken out loud.  It's body language, and body language can tell your reader what your character is doing and how they feel about it. Smiling for example.  There are many kinds of smiles and each one tells something different about what the

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Breathing Life into Characters

Giving life to a character is one of the most rewarding parts of being a writer. It is also one of the most difficult. Too many times in fiction we witness the "cardboard" or one-dimensional character. Real characters, those we can visualize and root for and love, aren't created with the snap of a finger.

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Breathing Life into Dialogue

Have you ever read a court transcript? It accurately gives a word-by-word report of exactly what is said. But it is interesting? Uh-uh. If we wrote verbatim the way we talk, our readers would execute us at dawn (or maybe earlier). So what do we do to create "natural" dialogue? First, we must listen to

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Catherine's 3 C's for Compelling Conversation

CATHERINE'S 3 C'S FOR COMPELLING CONVERSATION: Dialogue Tips from Catherine Mann Character: Age/Jargon: Make dialogue age appropriate Idiosyncrasies: Give characters words, phrases, even curses, specific to their personalities Dialects: Use sparingly, choosing a couple of regional adjustments to give flavor. Male/Female Distinctions: Men tend to talk in shorter sentences, fewer superlatives. Compress: Realism vs. Representation:

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Conflict

Conflict is very important in a romance novel -- and really in any kind of a novel at all. What would the story of Romeo and Juliet be without the family feud? How good would Gone with the Wind have been if Scarlett realized from day one that Ashley wasn't the man for her, and

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