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Novel-Writing Intensives: An Alternative to the MA

Wouldn’t it be great if writing a novel could be like playing team sport? How great would it be to have teammates jumping up and down on the sidelines cheering for you, or running to your side if you got hurt? For most novelists—especially first-time or unestablished writers—reality looks much …

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The Lessons of Genre

I once heard an editor say that, if you wanted to break into print, turn your current work into a mystery. Just pick a character, kill them off, and go from there. Not great advice, but there is some truth behind it. It’s always been easier to break into print …

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Layers of Antagonism, and Why You Should Embrace Them

Does your WIP have an antagonist? Just one? Are you sure? My question is asked only partly in jest. Not to be antagonistic, but I’m guessing that many if not most of you have several layers of antagonism in your work, whether you’ve created them consciously or not. I’ve had …

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Author Up Close: Linda Seed’s Self-Publishing Success

Cambria, California Welcome to the second installment of Author Up Close, the series that explores several authors’ paths to publishing. If you missed the first in the series, a Q&A with author Fiona Zedde, you can read it here. There are probably as many articles about the perils of self-publishing …

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12 Things You Have to Give Up to Be a Successful Writer

  I get letters from aspiring writers from time to time. Here’s one of them now: Dear Famous Author Bill Ferris: I want to be a successful writer, but it takes time and hard work, both of which suck. How do I become a success without having to work for …

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Writer Unboxed UnConference, 2019: Announcing Open Registration

It’s been three years, and finally the Writer Unboxed UnConference is back! Part symposium. Part networking affair. Part workshop. Part retreat. Unlike other conferences, our hybrid event will not focus on the business of writing; there will be no sessions on finding agents or writing query letters or building platforms. Instead, our focus …

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When to Let Go of Your Original Inspiration

photo adapted / Horia Varlan Each time Ann Patchett writes a novel, she sets a fresh challenge that will ensure her growth as a writer. At the time she said this—2002—she was explaining her decision to assemble a group of characters that must overcome a peril, even though none of …

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What’s in a Name? Naming Characters in Historical Fantasy

I had fun today making a voice recording of the character names for my forthcoming audiobook, Beautiful, which is based on the Nordic fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. This was to assist the narrator, who will be recording the book this month. As I …

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How to Find Inspiration—Fiction Therapy

Whether you’re wondering what happens next in your story, want to write your first novel, or are about to start on the next instalment of your long-running series, there are always times when you’ll need inspiration. And it is often surprisingly close by. ‘Be observant,’ said the dramatist, Lajos Egri, …

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Want to Be a Productive Writer? Three Clues

Heads up, WU’ers: Longtime WU contributor Julianna Baggott has created a new audio series for writers: Efficient Creativity: The Six-Week Audio Series. You can listen to the first episode for free, on SoundCloud.  — A friend and fellow writer recently asked me how I keep multiple projects going at the same …

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