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Writing

Keep your Characters Consistent

Ensuring consistency is a big part of my work as an editor. As I work through a book I make sure there are no variations in how words are spelled: it should be either while or whilst, never both in the same text. The same with words like among/amongst, towards/toward, …

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Good Advice, Bad Advice: Writing through the “Shoulds”

How many posts can we read on writing advice? I’ve read hundreds, bought at least a dozen craft books, and, yet, I always come back for more. Why is that? I’m passionate about improving my craft, but also for me, it’s about inspiration. I’m always hoping to find a little …

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The Importance of a Private Writing Habit

Writing has become very public these days. We write on Twitter and Facebook, on blogs and in emails. We work hard to write well, be clever, capture attention, and because we’re good at writing, we’re often successful. It feels like writing, doesn’t it? That series of events,  write-post-garner attention-repeat, feels …

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Theft by Finding

I’m not the first to say it, but being a writer can sometimes be a peculiar profession. The things one Googles, for instance (it’s research, NSA!), and the thoughts that can creep into your head at the worst moments while you’re in the middle of living. Or worse, when others …

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All the King’s Editors: David Corbett

This is another installment in our periodic editing program here at Writer Unboxed. The piece I’ve chosen for this particular exercise shows some real talent in description, setting, pacing, and dialogue, and it was enjoyable to read. That said, it lacked dramatic focus, and too much of what was happening …

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The Definitive Packing List for Authors

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. Look at you, a writer on the go! Maybe you’re off to a convention for the weekend, or to a mountain …

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The Attention Economy: Shorter

Image – iStockphoto: Kristina Jovanovic Hemming in the Tension When I tweeted up the author Anne R. Allen for writing that “Word count guidelines have been trending down in the last decade,” I found our colleague Hugh Howey checking in from a galaxy far, far away to say, “Slaughterhouse Five, Frankenstein, …

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The Art and Craft of the Book Proposal

So–the publisher or agent you’ve written to has responded favorably to your query letter, and now asks to see a book proposal. Attention spans aren’t long at the submissions coalface and if you miss your moment, it may not come again. It’s important that your proposal is not only ready …

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Building a World in a Hurry

This morning we’re looking at another effective opening.  Like last month’s example, the first scene isn’t simply dramatic but introduces a likable character (named November) finding a moment of peace in an otherwise miserable life. But even more, it introduces readers quite effectively to an alternate metaphysics.  Note how the …

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The First- Versus Third-Person Debate

A few months ago, in response to a personal conundrum I shared with you, we debated the merits of wrestling a novel that wanted to be written in first-person into third, and whether that would be wise from a marketing perspective. Positions were expounded, personal research advanced, and a few …

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