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Blow It Up

Fireworks by Donald Lee Pardue Sometimes in life everything goes your way. And sometimes in life, you need to blow stuff up. I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. (Ignore the boxes of fireworks stockpiled in the corner for the Fourth of July.) Please don’t go buy explosives. Instead, think about what …

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All the King’s Editors–Heather Webb

Welcome back to All the King’s Editors, our regular feature in which one of Writer Unboxed’s stable of editors line-edits a few pages that has been submitted.  This gives you a chance to see editing advice applied in its natural habitat. If you’d like to contribute a sample to be edited, click HERE for …

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Finding Second Life in Cast-Off Words

Flickr Creative Commons: Sara Berry I have an obsession with metamorphosis, the transformation of an identifiable object or idea into something different and new. On my farm, mountains of manure transform into rich, dark soil, which I spread on the fields and pastures. Have you ever smelled composting manure? Have …

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Writing Daze

Flickr Creative Commons: Joe Flood For Steinbeck, the week of 13 June 1938 started “unpropitiously.” He was suffering from a hangover and a sense of foreboding, the latter no doubt a response to the pledge he had made to keep a daily journal, an instrument that he hoped would keep …

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Warrior Women, #MeToo, and One Writer’s Evolving Sensibilities

These feel like turbulent times, don’t they? Wait–haven’t I asked that question here before? (I have.) Maybe I should say, these feel like transformative times. And some days it feels more like upheaval than transformation. But I suspect transformation requires an aspect of upheaval. Just as action evokes reaction, reform …

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Dissecting A Gentleman in Moscow

Photo by Max Pixel, CC0 If the ability to get people talking is the measure of success of a novel, then A Gentleman in Moscow was clearly a hit with the WU’s Breakout Novelist Book Dissection Group, generating more comments than any of our previous reads. Then again, given the …

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The Hack’s Guide to Writing Serial Fiction

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. The rise of ebooks and podcasts, and the decline of attention spans and disposable income, have made this the perfect time …

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Advocacy and Authors

‘The Spirit of the Printed Word’ is one of Arthur Crisp’s murals in the reading room of Canada’s Parliament Building. Image: Parliament of Canada, House of Commons, south wall, reading room Torching for It Murals are among some of the West’s most interesting public art. This one is The Spirit …

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Which Types of Readers to Use for Feedback

Photo by David Melchor Diaz Every writer needs feedback before publication—every writer and every book. It’s a critical part of the process. In fact, it’s several critical parts of the process, because a savvy writer will come to learn that it’s usually most effective to get different types of feedback …

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Hooking your readers through character

For the last couple of clinics, we’ve been looking at opening scenes that successfully introduced intriguing characters in a dramatic situation.  This morning, we’re looking at a less successful example.  I’ve included my comments at the bottom, so read the edited piece over and see what you think. Incidentally, if …

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