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Author: Dorothy A. Winsor

On Writer Anxiety

On Writer Anxiety

Every writer I know experiences moments of anxiety about their writing. They’re sure it’s terrible. They’re horrified at the idea of anyone else seeing it. They know they’re a failure and no agent/publisher/reader will ever want to read this story. Sometimes people call this the Imposter Syndrome. We conclude we’re faking our roles as writers and someone is soon going to find out. If the anxiety becomes strong enough, it turns into writer’s block, and the person can’t write at…

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2018: A Heck of a Stressful Year

2018: A Heck of a Stressful Year

In my previous post, I talked about keeping a writing journal. I often record personal events there because they affect how much writing I’m able to do. Looking back, I don’t want to blame a month with no writing on writer’s block when I was on vacation. Or more realistically in 2018, experiencing some stressful event. This year, I drafted and did the first revision round on a 65K word novel, the third in a series that starts with The…

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On keeping a writing journal

On keeping a writing journal

I keep a notebook as a sort of journal for every book I write. This is apart from the writing I do to lay out the plot basics. The picture above is a sample of them. The fancy leather bound one was a gift. The small one is what I carry in my purse. My husband picked up the one with the pen attached at a business conference he went to. If I buy the notebook myself, I get the…

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What makes a book rereadable?

What makes a book rereadable?

There are books I read only once and books I reread, often more than once. This post looks at some of my rereads to see if they have anything in common. As a writer, one thing I’d like to know is if what leads me to reread a book is the same for other readers. So I pulled three books off my shelf, almost at random. These days, if I have a book in physical form, it’s because I want…

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Writing religion in secondary worlds

Writing religion in secondary worlds

When a fantasy or science fiction writer creates an alternative world, one issue they face is how to show that world’s religion. Religion as part of world building Partly details about religion are a matter of world building. Cultures have religions, and writers can use them to make the world feel real. For instance, a temple or church building of some sort is probably part of the cityscape. In my middle-grade fantasy, Finders Keepers, a ruined temple lies at the…

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Card tricks

Card tricks

I recently struggled through the first draft of a novel. Actually, make that the zero draft. It wasn’t good enough to be a first draft. I found the process even more painful than usual, and eventually I realized why. I hadn’t laid out my book on index cards before I started to draft. I’d written notes about the characters and plot, pages of them in fact. I thought I was ready to write and didn’t need to do my usual…

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What Carries Over from Academic Writing to Writing Fiction

What Carries Over from Academic Writing to Writing Fiction

The first writing I ever had published wasn’t a piece of fiction. It was an academic article, the first of many I wrote while teaching in an English Department and conducting research on the communication practices of engineers. You might think that other than both being written in English, those academic articles would not have prepared me for writing fiction. And in some ways, you’d be right. And yet, well beyond mastery of language, I learned at least three things…

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Where do you get your ideas?

Where do you get your ideas?

One of the most common questions writers are asked is where they get their ideas. For me, different books begin in different ways. Usually, I get ideas by playing “what if?” It’s something I can do deliberately. I read something or hear a news item or even a commercial and ask myself if there’s some way it could be twisted to create a good story. Asking what if? That’s how I got the idea for The Wind Reader. I was…

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