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Writing

Breaking the Story Open

Once upon a time, I listened as Noa Baum, an oral storyteller, told a story about her German-Jewish mother. Noa’s gestures and facial expressions, the details of culture and history, the characters she fleshed out with an accented turn of phrase–these all held my attention. Yet at some point early …

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How to Write Emotional Scenes When You’d Really Rather Not

This book gave me “all the feels.” We all strive to write the quintessential delivery system for “feels,” whether we know it or not, whether we’re consciously striving to deliver, or not. We do this because that’s what drives us to tell stories in the first place. Somewhere along the …

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Are There Literary Cults, and Are They Dangerous?

In his short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” Raymond Carver sets two couples to talking on the subject of love, They are drinking gin to help them discover what they mean, but by story’s end, there is no resolution. The four have talked their way …

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You Ought To Be in Pictures

Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory. Image – iStockphoto: Trek and Shoot Is Your Film Treatment Ready? In the run-up to Writer’s Digest’s Annual Conference at the Manhattan Hilton in New York (August 10-12), it’s been interesting to note the presence of some screenwriting sessions on the schedule. On the …

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How to Write While the World’s Burning Down

This was a difficult post for me to write. I stopped and started at least five times.  I was going to post about something much lighter. Why was this so hard for me to get out? Because I fear I don’t have a real answer. The news is full of …

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The Editor’s Clinic: Focus on what’s important.

This month we’re once again looking at an opening passage.  The situation certainly tense enough – a woman with two small children facing up to her need to escape from a physically abusive husband.  And the author makes skillful use of her techniques to create that tension – note how …

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Guide to Hacking the Optimal Writing Environment

A year and a half ago, in the grip of a writing deadline I feared I would miss, I discovered an environmental productivity hack I’ve used ever since. Its unearthing came about by experimentation. I’d been trying to write in various public locations, but if I found a fruitful environment …

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Barbara O’Neal and The Art of Inheriting Secrets

Barbara O’Neal is not only a beloved longtime contributor here at WU, she is an award-winning, internationally published author of eleven novels. Her latest is called THE ART OF INHERITING SECRETS, and releases on July 17th! Said bestselling author Patricia Sands (The Love in Provence series) of the book: “O’Neal’s …

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Hey! Let’s All Celebrate The Madness

Photo Credit: Steve Corey: Celebrate Life:) I hear a lot of “what if” and “if only” and “If I could just” and “So and So has what I want!” I’m not immune to it, but I am growing ever more Aware of it. Circuitous thinking, round and round it goes, endless. We don’t …

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Compiling a DOCX in Scrivener 3

This is not my view. Beyond a basic orientation to the software, what’s the number one thing people want help with in Scrivener? Compile. No contest. In April, I introduced Scrivener 3’s new approach to compiling (exporting) with a post about section types. Section types are foundational to the new …

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