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Author: Dorothy A. Winsor

Should I Review This Book?

Should I Review This Book?

In February, I went to a Chicagoland SFF conference called Capricon. Among the engaging panels I attended was one called “Book Reviews vs. Literary Criticism: But is it good?” Panelists included a publicist, a couple of writers, and a book reviewer for a newspaper. The topic they started with was the difference between a fully-fledged piece of literary criticism and the kind of short, off-the-cuff reviews you usually see on Amazon or Goodreads. But they touched on a number of…

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Books that influenced me as a writer

Books that influenced me as a writer

I was recently on a panel for which we were asked to talk about books that had influenced us as writers. It sounded like an easy topic, but the more I thought about it, the less clear my answer got. We’re influenced by our reading in both conscious and unconscious ways. In some sense every novel I ever read has influenced me. Reading is the way most of us learn the shape of story in our culture. However, I eventually…

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Revising on a sentence level

Revising on a sentence level

The first draft of a novel is intensely difficult to write. You’re creating characters, plot, setting, dialogue, details, theme, and a host of other things at once. It has to hang together, and for any of it to work, it all has to work on at least a basic level. In a way, the better the writer gets, the harder it is to do because a good writer is aware of flaws a novice writer might miss. That’s why I…

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The Lost Wax Process

The Lost Wax Process

Today’s post is by a guest, John Manchester, author of the mystery thriller Never Speak. He writes about how composing music and writing fiction both seem to him to share a kind of creativity he compares to the lost wax process. The post first appeared on John’s blog in May. If you click on over there, you’ll find other interesting posts. Take it away, John! __________________________________ If you’re born a lemon-head, make lemonade. I. Growing up my parents often smiled,…

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How to keep a blog fresh

How to keep a blog fresh

Today’s post is by guest blogger and writer, Pamela Merritt. Pamela is a cat whisperer who shares her insight and advice on a blog and in her new book, The Way of Cats. She’s blogged for years and has advice on how to keep finding new content. You can also check her out for advice on how to train, care for, and live with cats. Take it away, Pamela! The challenge of keeping a blog full of fresh new content…

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Problematic Plot Elements

Problematic Plot Elements

Judging by drafts I’ve critiqued lately, two commonly used plot elements automatically come with problems because they tend to be low tension. These are meetings and travel. Meetings It can be tempting to deliver exposition by staging a meeting between characters. The meeting can be formally held around a table or casually placed at a campsite. It mostly doesn’t matter. A meeting is a meeting. How riveting do you find meetings in everyday life? Not very? Then why write them…

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Confessions of a Plotter

Confessions of a Plotter

One of the never-ending discussions about how to write is whether it’s better to be a plotter (who plans the plot ahead of time) or a “pantser,” one who writes by the seat of their pants. I have to admit it always sounds wild and creative to be a pantser, and I envy them their daring. But I am irrevocably a plotter, sometimes going as far as using index cards to lay out my story. I comfort myself by remembering…

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Opening Styles That May Turn Your Writing World Around

Opening Styles That May Turn Your Writing World Around

Today’s post on writing beginnings is from E. J. Runyon. E.J. is a novelist and short story writer, with two literary fiction novels, one novella, and a short story collection. In non-fiction, she has two writing guides: Tell Me (How to Write) a Story and Five Ways of Thinking to Turn Your Writing World Around. Another novel and writing guide are due out in 2020.She runs the writer’s website, Bridge to Story, and coaches writers, from around the globe, online….

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