Why is Writing so Hard?

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There are signs all around us telling us that writing is a struggle. Writer’s Block, Resistance, the push to join writing groups/get accountability partners, etc. Everything seems to point to the fact that writing is difficult, but is it?  The short answer is no, it isn’t.  You might be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, Rebecca. Are you crazy? Of course writing is hard. That’s why I can’t get myself to sit at my desk and push out a novel every month. […]

What are your writing goals*?

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What are your writing goals? Do you want to be a professional? To make a living with your writing? To write one book and never do so again? To journal every day, but never let anyone see it? Think about that a minute.  I don’t actually care about your answer. What I do care about is mine. The reason is, you can’t physically have something unless you first figure out what it is you want and picture yourself with it. Only you can know what you want […]

Theme

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For writers, theme boils down to why write this book. You could come up with an infinite number of scenarios, characters, worlds to create a piece of fiction. So, why are you writing what you are? What’s the point? Readers may come to your book for many reasons. The theme, then, for them isn’t necessarily why they read your book, but what they take from it. What will they remember your book being about? What’s the point?  In that sense, […]

Understanding a Character’s Need

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Needs are under the surface. They are often hard to distinguish for ourselves. The same is true for your characters. Protagonists don’t start off the story knowing what they want and how to get it. Instead, they consciously go after their wants. And that ordeal usually satisfies their needs, though it doesn’t have to.  It’s easy to distinguish what the character wants. They are the goals characters actively pursue. In Jurassic Park, the characters want to survive. The sisters in Pride […]

What Your Character Wants

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You have to figure out what you want in life, what you’re going after.  Think about it. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want, how can you take action to get it? Half the battle of becoming the person you want to be is believing and convincing yourself that it’s possible. We are our own worst enemies after all.  That said, it’s just as important to figure out what your character wants.  Their external wants direct […]

Inspiration

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How do you stick to the process once you’ve decided to be a professional writer? Remember, the only difference between a pro and an amateur is that the pro makes the habit of writing (whatever their schedule allows). They go back to the work. They make something of it. They don’t give up even when the work is complete crap and everything seems to be telling them they aren’t good enough.  What keeps you going? Where do you get your […]

Turn Pro

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What’s the difference between a writer and a professional writer? One shows up every day to do the work, no matter how hard. No matter how much they don’t want to. Or feel like they can’t. Or think their work is crap.  A professional has set goals. They know what they want to accomplish, why they get up in the morning. They make the commitment to show up every day. To prove to the muse that they’re willing to put […]

Who is telling your story?

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When you think about point of view, you have a few choices about who is telling your story and how. At what level is your narrator speaking? What character(s) does the story follow? Why are they telling it?  Whichever choices you make, the only thing that matters is that you have a reason for doing so.  For example, you could write 3rd person and follow one main character as in Harry Potter. Or, you could write 3rd person and cover […]

Innovating Your Writing

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If you want to write a thriller, you must have a hero at the mercy of the villain scene. Without it, your story will alienate your readers. They will not be satisfied. They might even avoid your work from then on. A love story must have a proof of love scene or it isn’t a love story. Mysteries have to have an inciting crime, something to solve. Performance stories must include a performance. Rocky wouldn’t be Rocky without the fight.  […]

The Importance of Genre

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Why does genre matter? Once it leaves the hands of the writer (after a long, sometimes slow process), a book becomes the reader’s. And genre tells those readers what to expect when they choose to read a novel. It informs cover design, marketing, and where the book sits on the shelves in a bookstore. While these are all important aspects of a story’s life, many writers think genre is stifling to creativity. They find it formulaic. Constricting. Let the publishers […]