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“That’s Delicious”, and Other Advice From My Grandmother

Flickr Creative Commons: Gerry Brush My Grandmother, Dorothy, turned 103 last week. No, that’s not a typo. She was born in 1916 in Lethbridge, Alberta. She grew up in a middle-class family with one brother. She graduated high school and worked at Sears. My grandfather asked her to a dance …

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How Much and How Ordinary?

Even if you are not familiar with The Hero’s Journey, there’s a good chance you know that its first step is establishing the Ordinary World.  That, commonly understood, is a baseline view of a protagonist’s life and location. Establishing the Ordinary World is like playing the first chord in a …

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Mining Reader Reviews for Story Gold

If you’re already a published author, you may not want to do this. It can be painful. Since my novel isn’t published yet, I can do it for you. When my author friends read their Goodreads and Amazon reviews, they often do it with one eye open. Some give up …

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A Writer’s Manifesto

We’re happy to announce that longtime friend of the WU community, Julie Duffy, will join WU as a regular contributor! Julie hosts the StoryADay May and StoryADay September short story writing challenges on her website, StoryADay.org. Learn more about Julie on her website, and by following her on Facebook and Twitter. A Writer’s Manifesto Imagine sitting down …

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Jan O’Hara and Desperate Times, Desperate Pleasures

Once Writer Unboxed’s Voice of the Unpublished Writer, Jan O’Hara  is here to celebrate the February 5th release of her third novel, contained within the Illicit boxed set of contemporary romances. Please share in our excitement as Jan tells us more about Desperate Times, Desperate Pleasures. A former family physician and …

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When Your Characters Have Minds of Their Own

Photo by Flickr user Steve Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. — Ray Bradbury You take people, you put them on a journey, you give them peril, you find out who they really are. …

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Do You Have a Story Concept, or Just a Cool Idea?

Photo by Theo Crazzolara. I do a lot of brainstorming with writing clients. (At the risk of sounding immodest, I am a champion brainstormer. If there were an Olympic event, I would medal. I adore brainstorming.) Let’s say I have two clients, who have both emailed me that they want …

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Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Photo by Kristina Servant I recently stumbled across some parenting advice that resonated deeply with me, and if you’ll bear with me, I’ll explain why I think it’s valuable for us to consider in regards to our writing too. Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such …

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Are You Tethered to the Wrong Story?

Please welcome Harper Glenn to Writer Unboxed today! Harper’s with us to share the story behind a work-in-progress, and an illuminating moment that changed everything. Harper was born and raised in Georgia. She’s a lover of vintage brown paper, old cast iron flat irons, cracked mirrors, white sage, old cemeteries …

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On Mary Oliver and Flying Close to the Sun

I used to teach Mary Oliver’s poems–a slim volume, Dream Work, so many years ago now that I don’t remember the exact course. What I do remember are the poems and the students’ responses to them. Those memories came to mind recently with the news of Oliver’s death, as did …

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