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Author: Dorothy A. Winsor

The Best Advice I Ever Got

The Best Advice I Ever Got

Back when I was writing academic books and articles, I conducted a five-year ethnographic project at an engineering center. My area is professional communication, so I hung around the center watching engineers try to communicate in their natural habitat. It was a lot of fun, and eventually I wrote a book (Writing Power) based on the material I collected. Someone I knew edited a series for SUNY Press, and he invited me to submit it to them. He sent the…

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On Writing Groups

On Writing Groups

Over the years, I’ve been a member of a number of writing groups that provide me with understanding, support, and most important, feedback on my work. Feedback helps me notice places to improve my writing that I’m too close to see myself. If you’re looking for feedback, you could try a writers group. Ideally, the members would be writers who are at the same level or above you in skill. They’d be kind and aim to make one another better…

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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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