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Finding Rhythm In Your Prose

As a little girl before my feet touched the floor in Chicago orchestra seats, I fell in love with Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” that jazzy rhythmic music that was classical and southern and black all at the same time. I didn’t just hear it. I felt it. With the birth …

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Write Like the Dickens

Photo by Flickr user Helen Charles Dickens. His name is synonymous with so many things: Christmas, high school English classes, and comically repulsive characters existing in squalid social conditions. Most, if not all, of us have read at least one of his books — or, at the very least, seen one …

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How to Perform (Not Just Read) Your Work in Front of Audiences

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash I have to confess I’ve never been a huge fan of public speaking. And yet, since Everyone Knows You Go Home came out in March, I’ve been on a whirlwind of a book tour that’s consisted of day after day of public speaking. And …

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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Summer 2018)

What are your submission or rejection goals for 2018? Inspired by Lit Hub’s 100 rejections per year post, I got 93 rejections 2017 and aim to cross 100 this year. Since my Spring 2018 contest roundup, I’ve earned plenty of rejections and published the last season’s responses in a fun …

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“Relatable”

I have spent the last few years wrestling with the word “relatable.” It is a word I find personally irritating. On the occasions when my teenage children use it—to describe a song lyric, a Black Mirror episode, a scrap of wisdom featured in an Instagram meme—I cringe so hard and …

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Florida Man: Finding Your Empathy

Flickr Creative Commons: Marsha Wheatley Florida Man Arrested for DUI after Ordering Burrito in Bank Drive-Thru Florida Woman Shoots Husband and Her Mother after Uncovering Their Affair Florida Man and Florida Woman have become icons of the 24-hour news cycle, the protagonists of a thousand “truth is stranger than fiction” …

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The Missing Link Between Characters’ Motives, and Depth

Craft wisdom tells us that the characters we write must be motivated by a fundamental driving need–a powerful desire, ambition or goal. Powerful enough that it could drive them to lie, cheat, commit adultery or even murder. But what if the concept of desire and drive were a bit too …

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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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