Writing Resources R – S

WRITING RESOURCES
R – S

 

HOT LINKS NAVIGATION:

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Read Like a Writer

A FREE YOUTUBE VIDEO

By Diane Callahan — Quotidian Writer

Reading like a writer means reading to learn from other authors. By understanding the creative choices used in novels you admire, you can better apply those tools and techniques to your own writing.

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Read More Books

By Christian Jarrett — PSYCHE

Modern life can feel too frantic for books. Use these habit-building strategies to carve out time for the joy of reading.

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Read This

if you want to be a great writer

By Henry Carroll and Ross Raisin

This book demystifies the writing process, empowering you to write your own novel or short story. The author explains expert technique in a clear and jargon-free way, with examples from twenty-five masters of prose. For aspiring writers of all ages and abilities, Read This If You Want to Be a Great Writer will motivate and strengthen your writing talent.

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Reading Mystery Novels

MADE ME A BETTER FANTASY WRITER

By Kim Neville — CrimeReads

Studying the craft behind a great mystery novel is a worthy endeavor for writers working in any genre.

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Reading Transforms Us

By Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D. — Psychology Today

How books can help us develop our key emotional and cognitive skills.
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Real Book Spy

EDITORIAL SERVICES

Are you a new or struggling author looking for professional editorial services to take your writing to the next level? Good news, we can help! On top of line editing and copy editing, we can also help with query letters and pitches. So, whatever you need help with, we’ve got your back!

Ryan Steck can be reached via email at Ryan@TheRealBookSpy.com

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Relationship Dynamics

NINE WAYS TO APPROACH

By K.M. Weiland

Creating an amazing supporting cast that can offer important relationship dynamics in fiction will also help develop your protagonist. The primary way this is done is simply through the relationship dynamics between your protagonist and other characters.

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Relationships Made Justified Special

By Keith Roysdon — CrimeReads

Over six seasons, Justified explored the complex, twisted roots of Elmore Leonard’s distinct vision of Harlan County.

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Jodie Renner

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR

I specialize in editing fast-paced, popular fiction. I’m the award-winning author of three Editor’s Guides to Writing Compelling Fiction, Captivate Your ReadersFire up Your Fiction, and Writing a Killer Thriller, available in print and e-book formats. These books are all reader-friendly, with lots of bolded subtitles and before-and-after examples. They’re designed to help busy writers get in, find what they want, and get back to their writing, quickly and effortlessly.

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Resource Information from Helga Schier

EDITING – TRANSLATING – WRITING

By Helga Schier — With Pen And Paper

Check out this extensive collection of FREE great articles and tutorials!

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Revenge Novels

REVENGE IS EVERYWHERE IN POPULAR CULTURE

By Liberty Hardy — BookRiot

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Revenge Story

Five tips for writing a revenge story

By Kit Mayquist — Writer’s Digest

Oh, sweet revenge. There’s nothing like a well-executed plan to get the blood pumping and the pages turning. That feeling when a character finally doles out their death punch, or sneaks that drop of poison into their enemy’s cup is one of the most rewarding experiences a reader can have.

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Reverse Editing

HOW GOING BACKWARD CAN BRING YOUR MANUSCRIPT FORWARD

By Kris Spisak — Writer’s Digest

When you’re reading your own writing, it’s easy for the “editor hat” to fall off your head. When you need to do your editing, you must find a way to keep that metaphorical “editor hat” securely fastened in place.

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Revise a First Draft?

By Emma Darwin

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Revision

A CREATIVE APPROACH TO WRITING AND REWRITING FICTION

By David Michael Kaplan

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Revision and Self-Editing for Publication

By James Scott Bell

Designed to eliminate the intimidation factor that comes with revision and self-editing. Bell gives you the tools and advice you need to transform your first draft into a finished manuscript that agents and editors will fight for.

INSIDE YOU’LL FIND:
  • Self-editing techniques for plot, structure, character, theme, voice, and more that can be applied as you’re writing to reduce your revision workload.
  • Methods for fine-tuning your first draft into a tight, well-developed piece of literature.
  • The Ultimate Revision Checklist, which seamlessly guides you through the revision process, step by step.
  • Exercises and techniques for “deepening” your work to engage and excite readers like never before.
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Revise Your Draft in Waves

TO INSPIRE YOUR FLOW AND PRODUCTIVITY

By Kris Spisak — Writer’s Digest

Scratching off items on your revision “to-do list” can be supremely satisfying. Watching the list shrink as you scrawl victory slashes through once-daunting tasks on your paper notes, punt bullet points away into the digital trashcan, and crumple up sticky notes with your ink-stained hands—however you mark it, progress feels good.

Why not use that drive as your motivating force? Small victories along the way dramatically help our own hero’s quest of battling those daunting revisions.

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Revising Without Losing Your Mind

TO INSPIRE YOUR FLOW AND PRODUCTIVITY

By Marcy Dermansky — Literary Hub

In addition to writing my own novels, I am a developmental editor. I help authors improve their novels. Sometimes these novels get sold; sometimes—as one of my despairing clients knows all too well—they don’t. About a year ago, she came back to me wanting to work on a sixth draft based on the suggestions of an interested agent. “At this point,” she said. “I just want this novel to be over.”

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Moriah Richard Writing Articles

Moriah Richard is an Editor at Writer’s Digest. Since obtaining her MFA in fiction, she has worked with over 100 authors to help them achieve their publication dreams.

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The Rise of Present Tense Fiction

MORE WRITERS ADOPT THIS WAY OF STORYTELLING TO BRING IMMEDIACY AND INTIMACY TO THEIR WORK

By Richard Lea — The Guardian

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Rules for Writing — Joyce Carol Oates

By Writers Write

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— S –

Michael Sahno

AUTHOR. EDITOR. PUBLISHER
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“Said”

USING SAID AND OTHER DIALOGUE ATTRIBUTIONS

By Mike Klaassen

There’s a four-letter word that always ignites debate in writing classes. (No, not that four-letter word.) The word in question is said, according to Nancy Kress, in Writer’s Digest (November 2005).

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Savoring the Mystery of Writing

“SOME MYSTERIES MUST BE LEFT ALONE.”

By Elizabeth McCracken —  Literary Hub

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Scene Action

LAUNCHING INTO SCENES WITH ACTION

By Jorden E. Rosenfeld — Writer’s Digest

No matter how grand or ordinary, strange or beguiling your idea, you must take it through an alchemical process that transforms it into a story. How do you do that? This is the function of the scene; it is your story maker.

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Scene Coherence

FROM THE READER’S PERSPECTIVE

By Barbara Linn Probst — Writers In The Storm

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Scene and Sequels

HOW TO WRITE PAGE-TURNING FICTION

By Mike Klaassen

Are you thinking about writing fiction? Writing a novel? Trying to improve a manuscript? Then you need to know all about scenes and sequels.

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Scene — Spectacular Set-Piece Scenes

Six Ways to Craft

K.M. Weiland — Writers Helping Writers Become Authors

Some scenes need to stand out from the crowd. These big scenes are almost inevitably the ones readers will remember most from your stories. Here are six considerations you can keep in mind when planning your story.

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Scene Strength

STRENGTHEN YOUR SCENES

James Scott Bell — Writer’s Digest

Scenes are the building blocks of a great story. Here are some simple techniques for writing and revising scenes so your edifice will stand the test of time.

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Scene & Structure

CRAFT YOUR FICTION WITH SCENE-BY-SCENE FLOW, LOGIC AND READABILITY.

By Jack M. Bickham

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Scene Transitions

6 TRICKS FOR WRITING SCENE TRANSITIONS

By Mia Botha — Writers Write

Moving from one scene to the next is not just a matter of hitting return twice. How you end a scene and what happens at the beginning of the next scene influences the pace of your story.

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

WITH GLOWING AUTHOR RECOMMENDATIONS

By Alyssa Hollingsworth — BookBub

If you love science fiction and fantasy, you’re probably familiar with the struggles of choosing a new adventure. But fear not! Like kindly wizards, our favorite authors are ready to guide us on our journey.

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Science Fiction Writing Tips

ENGAGE PEOPLE WHO DON’T READ IT

By P.J. Manney — Boing Boing

The future is very heady, complex stuff, and difficult to communicate to those who aren’t on your metaphorical wavelength, since change is inherently hard to understand or accept.

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The Most Influential Sci-Fi Books of All Time

By K.W. Colyard — Book Riot

What do we talk about when we talk about science fiction? Is it our hope for the future, or our fear of creating the very thing that will destroy us? If the most influential sci-fi books of all time are any indication, the answer is both.

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Screenplays

why most screenplays don’t sell

By Brooks Elms — Indie Film Hustle

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Screen Writing Advice from Scott Frank

WRITE EVERY DAY

By Donna Marie Miller — ISA

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Screen Writing Tips

By Amy Sherman-Palladino

There’s plenty to learn from the creator of Gilmore GirlsBunheads, and, most recently, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, about crafting the most important elements of story, creating compelling characters, and believing in your own writing.

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Secrets to Great Storytelling

By Stephen James — Writer’sDigest

How to tell a story worth hearing with author Steven James’ three secrets to great storytelling.

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Secrets of Writing a Novel Without an Outline

By Stephen James — Writer’sDigest

Six secrets of writing a novel without an outline. If you’ve ever wanted to throw away your outline and uncover a story word by word, here’s how to get started.

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Self-Editing Processes for Writers

WHEN IS MY NOVEL READY TO READ

By Kris Spisak — Writer’s Digest

Kris Spisak ties together her seven processes for self-editing novels, including editorial road-mapping, character differentiation analysis, reverse editing, and more.

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Self-Editing Tips

By Ellen Buikema — Writers In The Storm

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Self-Editing Tips and Tricks

By BookBoro

Now that you’re ready to review your work, you’ll need to switch your mindset from that of a writer and prepare to embark on the self-editing journey.

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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

By Renni Browne and Dave King

Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories.

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Self-Editing 4 Fiction

By WriteIntoPrint

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Self-Editing eBooks and Paperbacks for FREE!

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Get to market fast. Publishing takes less than 5 minutes and your book appears on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours.

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Self-Publish in 10 Steps — FREE!

LOADS OF GREAT STUFF IN HERE

By David Gaughran

Want to learn exactly how to self-publish a book like a pro? This comprehensive guide will help you through the ten steps to successful self-publishing.

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Self-Publish Your Book for FREE

and not get conned

By TW Robinson

Everything you need to know about being an author and making bank is right here in this book. I cover how to write, edit, format, design covers, and handle copyrights. I also provide in-depth, step-by-step instructions on how to publish and market your book. You can do it all yourself, without a publisher, on a budget and even for free.

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Self-Publishing

How to self-publish

By IngramSpark Academy — Self-Publishing

Learn how to self-publish a book with a better understanding of where self-publishing stands today, the benefits of self-publishing, the book publishing process, and what you need to self‑publish professionally.

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Self-Publishing

WHY I CHOSE TO SELF PUBLISH AND HOW I DID IT

By Rebecca Harris

The journey to getting a book published is a long one. There are so many options available it can be difficult to know which path is the right one to take. After years of research and hard work I self published my first children’s book.

This book is simply the story of my experience publishing my first book, Princess Pea and Her Family. I will share what I found in my research, what resources I used, the issues I ran into along the way, and the final steps to becoming a first time published author using KDP.

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Self-Publishing

AN EASY STEP-BY-STEP ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL SELF-PUBLISHING

By Derek Haines

This easy to follow ebook on how to publish an ebook or paperback is full of advice for new, and not so new self-publishing authors. If it helps you sell just a few more copies of your book, it will have been money well spent.

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Self-Publishing Business

SO YOU’RE SELF-PUBLISHED. NOW WHAT?

By A.J.Wells — Writer’s Digest

A.J. Wells shares his experience of reading hundreds of self-published books, as well as tips and advice on what self-published authors should do once their stories are finished.

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Self-Publishing Changed My Life

and will change yours too

By Kim Catanzarite — Writer’s Digest

Here’s everything you can expect to change in your life when you self-publishing your novel.

As an editor and instructor who has a family and also writes novels “on the side,” I thought I was busy. Then I pressed the publish button and realized I hadn’t seen anything yet.

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Self-Publishing Guide — FREE!

By J.J. Hebert — MindStir Media

  • How to Publish a Book
  • Our Process
  • Pricing and More
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Self-Publishing Guide — FREE!

A FREE GUIDE AND MUCH MORE!

By Kayla Hollatz — ConvertKIT

Now is your time to learn how to self publish your book.

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Self-Publishing Guides — FREE!

FREE RESOURCES AND GUIDES TO HELP WITH YOUR SELF-PUBLISHING JOURNEY

By PublishingPush

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Self-Publishing Guide

BEING INDIE: A NO HOLDS BARRED SELF-PUBLISHING GUIDE FOR AUTHORS

By Eeva Lancaster

Learn how to create a book that sells.

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Self-Publishing Masterclass — FREE!

Kosta Ouzas has created some of the most successful indie-publishing houses in the world. He has helped hundreds of authors create full-time 5 and 6 figure writing careers and looks forward to sharing his new and improved strategies and tactics with you.

  • ​​How To Launch A Self-Publishing Career And Generate Book Downloads Consistently Using Zero Cost Tactics
  • How To Remove Obstacles By Simplifying Marketing And Generate Traffic To Sell More Books
  • Avoid The #1 Mistake Most Authors Make So You Can Build A Closer Relationship With Readers And Focus Your Energy
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Self-Publishing Success

THE FOUR CORNERSTONES TO SELF-PUBLISHING SUCCESS

By Steven Spatz — BookBaby

Self-publishing truly is a journey. There are some parts you’ll find easy — others are more onerous, but it’s a journey that begins with the notion that you want to write a book and continues long past the point of publication.

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Self-Publishing Solutions

to Low Income Author Earnings

By Boni Wagner — Alliance of Independent Authors

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Self-Publishing — Starting From Zero

By David Gaughran

Learn how to self-publish like a pro and build an audience of passionate readers for your books. Enroll for FREE!

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Self-Publishing Success

HOW TO SELF-PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK

By Joanna Penn

I’ve spent over a decade self-publishing bestselling fiction and non-fiction books and in 2011, I left my day job to become a full-time author entrepreneur. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but through the process of self-publishing over 30 books, I’ve learned the most effective way to publish and market your books. In this book, I’ll share everything with you.

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Self-Publishing Success Stories

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Sell Books Online

YOU NEED MORE WEB TRAFFIC

By Derek Haines

You need to get people to notice your ebook.

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Selling Books by the Truckload

ON AMAZON

By Penny C. Sansevieri

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Selling More Books

THE SECRET TO SELLING MORE BOOKS

By Penny C. Sansevieri

In this post, we’re going to breakdown appreciation marketing, and talk about some of the things you can do not only for readers, but also for the people you work with.

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Selling Your Book

By Stef Mcdaid — WriteIntoPrint

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Selling Your Books!

HOW TO SELL MORE BOOKS WHEN YOU’RE TERRIFIED OF SELLING

By Kristen Lamb

Many writers spent decades longing to sign with legacy publishers for the sole reason that they believed a major publisher would tend to all that vulgar sales business for them so they could simply write and create!

It’s cool. I once thought the same.

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Sentence Diagramming Level 1

THE UNDERLYING STRUCTURE OF SENTENCES

By Angela Carter

This 80-page book teaches students how to diagram sentences so they see the underlying structure of English grammar. Diagramming sentences gives many visual and logical learners an alternative way to learn grammar.

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SEO FREE Training Course

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
  • Evaluate and improve your website’s SEO
  • Build backlinks to your website at scale to increase your website’s visibility on the search engine results page
  • Learn and leverage the tactics HubSpot’s blog team uses to rank #1 on Google
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SEO Writing

HOW IT HELPS YOU WRITE BETTER

By Derek Haines — Just Publishing Advice

When you write a blog post or create content that you publish online, you want people to read it. This is the best way to get your web pages to appear in Google or Bing search engine results pages.

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The Seeds of a Novel

the small moments that haunt us

By Steve Almond — Lit Hub

Writing as a Means of Dealing With Obsession

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Setting

4 TIPS FOR SETTING A NOVEL IN A PLACE YOU DON’T KNOW WELL

By Kim Hooper — Writers Digest

You want to write your story in a place you’re not familiar with, but how can you do it justice? Kim Hooper, author of No Hiding in Boise, has some tips.

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Setting — Bringing It to Life

12 QUESTIONS TO ASK CHARACTERS

By C.S. Lakin

External elements affect us, our mood, our health, our perspective. Weather, quality of light, feel of the air, smells … all factors that contribute. When choosing settings for your scenes, you want to think about the kinds of places that will allow the emotions, needs, dreams, and fears of your characters to come out.

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Setting As a Source of Conflict

By Mia Botha — Writers Write

In this post, we look at how to use setting as a source of conflict.

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Setting and Characters

WHY WRITERS SHOULD CREAT A SETTING LIKE A CHARACTER

By Amanda Patterson — Writers Write

Do you want to create memorable settings? In this post we look at why writers should create a setting like a character and how to do it. Many authors say that their setting becomes a character in the stories they write. Some even start with the setting and then add the characters.

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Setting in Story Telling

12 crucial things to remember

By Amanda Patterson — Writers Write

We have put together a list of 12 crucial things for you to remember about setting in storytelling.

In this post we cover what setting is, 7 details to include in your settings, and 5 ways to use setting to advance a plot.

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Seven Things That Will Doom Your Novel

By James Scott Bell — Writer’s Digest

With a little thought and not much effort, you can easily devise methods to prevent yourself from actually finishing a book—or finishing a book that has a chance to sell.

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Sex Scenes

A DIFFERENT KIND OF THRILL

By Eliza Nellums — CrimeReads

There’s a reason the romantic subplot is a mainstay in mystery/thriller. It can give the reader a break from the non-stop death-defying action, and it lets us see another side of our hero. There’s a reason the romantic subplot is a mainstay in mystery/thriller. It can give the reader a break from the non-stop death-defying action, and it lets us see another side of our hero.

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Short Story

WRITING A THEMATIC SHORT STORY COLLECTION

By Alexander Weinstein — Writer’s Digest

Selecting the theme for a new short story collection

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Show, Don’t Tell

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

By Scott Bury, Author

Characters are what stories are about.

Plot is essential—we had to have a story to tell. Something has to happen, something that matters to you, the readers.

But it has to happen to someone we care about, or identify with, or connect to in some way. That connection has to happen on an emotional level.

As readers, we need to feel those emotions. This is where the “show, don’t tell” rule comes in.

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Show, Not Tell

THE COMPLETE WRITING GUIDE

By Diane Callahan — Quotidian Writer

I define “telling” as any time in the story when an important moment lacks depth in terms of detail or narrative voice. However, telling can also be an excellent tool for controlling the story’s pacing and delivering important information.

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Side Characters

How to craft supporting roles

By Sacha Black

Do your characters fail to bring your story to life? Are they flat, boring or have no depth? Is your story lacking a little cohesion or sparkle?

In 8 Steps to Side Characters, you’ll discover:

  • A step-by-step guide for creating side characters that bring your story alive
  • The main types of side characters and what you should do with them
  • The key to crafting character depth that hooks readers
  • How to harness your character’s voice to deepen your reader’s experience
  • Tips and tricks for using details to enhance characterization
  • Methods for killing characters that will help deepen plot, theme and story
  • Dozens of ideas for creating conflict with your side characters
  • Tactics for differentiating characters and making them feel real to your reader
  • Character archetypes and functions
  • The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid
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Sidekicks In Your Novel

By Amanda Patterson — Writers Write

Does your main character need more than a confidant?  This post is about sidekicks and what their roles are in novels.

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Six Deliciously Duplicitous Female Characters in Thrillers

SECRETS, LIES, AND PLENTY OF FLAWS — BUT ALWAYS INTERESTING

By Melissa Colasanti — CrimeReads

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Six Reasons Why

SHORT STORY WRITING IS GOOD FOR YOU

By Cheryl Burman 

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Six Self-Publishing Considerations

By John Peragine — Writers In The Storm

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Six Steps to Successful Self-Publishing

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING

By Patricia Marshall

GET YOUR FREE EBOOK!

A step-by-step guide to self-publishing that shows you how to avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars.

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Smalltime

A STORY OF MY FAMILY AND THE MOB

By Russell Shorto

Family secrets emerge as a best-selling author dives into the history of the mob in small-town America.

ONE OF NEWSWEEK‘S MOST HIGHLY ANTICIPATED NEW BOOKS OF 2021
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Social Media Content Ideas for Authors

Lauren @ LuLu Blog

Social media is an incredible tool and platform for you to share and promote your book to potential new readers around the world.

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Social Media Just For Writers

HELPING AUTHORS GET DISCOVERED ONLINE
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Songs for Writers About Writing

THE 20 BEST SONGS

Compiled By Robert Lee Brewer — Writer’s Digest

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So You Want to Be an Author

FREE!  ONLINE TRAINING
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So You Want to Write a Novel

GET A FREE SAMPLE EDIT

By TypeWrite

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Spider, Spin Me A Web

A HANDBOOKFOR FICTION WRITERS

By Lawrence Block

The craft of writing is a lot like spinning a web: You take threads and weave them skillfully together, and only you know where this intricate network of twists and turns begin and how it will end.

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Spies

FIVE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

By Stephanie Marie Thornton — Writer’s Digest

A spy thriller requires more than a compelling story and clever plot twists—the characters need to feel real. Author Stephanie Marie Thornton offers 5 tips for constructing believable spy characters.

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Split Infinitive

WHAT IT IS AND WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID THEM

By Pro Writing Aid TV

Infinitives are two-word forms of verbs, such as to run, to research, or to suggest. A split infinitive happens when you insert an adverb in between to and its verb. These can have a negative impact on your writing if you aren’t careful.

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Splitting the Infinitive

By The Comma Queen — The New Yorker

If I had a hammer,
I’d split an infinitive,
I’d split an infinitive
All over this mag!

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The Spy Novel — What You Need to Know

4 Things Every Military/Espionage Thriller Writer Should Know

By Don Bentley — Writer’s Digest

You don’t need first-hand insider information to write a compelling and believable spy novel. To help you on your way, I’ve compiled a list of common mistakes to avoid.

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Spycraft

TRUTHS YOU DON’T SEE IN FICTION

By Piper Bayard — Writers in the Storm

When covert operatives reveal their identities – even decades after they are out of deep cover – people can die. Assets and loved ones alike can become targets.

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Spy Thriller Writing Tips

By Alma Katsu — Writer’s Digest

Novelist and former senior intelligence analyst Alma Katsu shares her wisdom for creating a realistic and gripping spy thriller novel.

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Stakes

THE  KEY “STAKES” THAT DRIVE NOVELS

By Donald Maass — Writer’s Digest

A hero who does not have many reasons to solve a problem will gradually become uninteresting. As the story grinds on, the reader will wonder, Why go through all that grief if you don’t have to? Why not just let someone else handle it? You don’t want that. You want your reader to hope hard or even cheer for your protagonist’s success, right?

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Start a Story

25 WAYS TO START A STORY

By Robert Lee Brewer — Writer’s Digest

Because getting started is sometimes the hardest part of any project, here are 25 ways to start a story that writers can use to prompt their next tale.

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Start Your Story Better

By Jacob M. Appel — Writer’s Digest

A good opening line is a powerful thing: It can grab an editor’s attention, set the tone for the rest of the piece, and make sure readers stay through The End.

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Starting Writing After 40

By Lee Child — On YouTube

In this interview, bestselling novelist Lee Child (Jack Reacher novels) explains why it’s better to start writing later in life.

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State of the Crime Novel

A ROUNDTABLE WITH THE EDGAR AWARDS NOMINEES

By CrimeReads

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Staying Creative

HOW TO STAY CREATIVE WHEN THE WORLD IS ON FIRE

By K.M. Allan! 

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Stein on Writing

By Sol Stein 

“This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions — how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place.”

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Stop Sabotaging Your Writing Goals

CONFESSIONS OF A LATE BLOOMER

By Andrea Jarrell — Writer’s Digest

Given that I published my first book at age 55, some might call me a late-blooming author. I am. But not because I suddenly discovered writing and decided to write a book. I am a late bloomer because I finally stopped sabotaging myself and did the work needed to realize life-long ambitions.

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Story Beginnings

Why story beginnings and endings must be linked

By K.M. Weiland

Contemplating the ending from the vantage point of the beginning is like looking up at the top of Mt. Everest and imagining yourself—in all your windblown, frostbitten glory—standing there with your hands on your hips and your foot propped on a rock. It’s all a bit hard to grasp.

The only way to achieve a strong ending is to remember the beginning.

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Story Elements

7 main elements of a story

Krystal N. Craiker

By Krystal N. Craiker — ProWritingAid

Whether it’s a short story, novel, or play, every type of story has the same basic elements.

Today, we’re taking a look at the seven key elements of a story, as well as the five elements of plot. Knowing these essential elements will ensure that your story is well-developed and engaging.

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Stories That Work

WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU IN MFA PROGRAMS

By Chris Mooney — Writer’s Digest

I’ve been teaching creative writing at Harvard’s Extension School and their Summer Writing Program, on and off, for the past two decades, to mainly graduate students, and I’m always struck by just how little many of these great, promising writers know about story. Whether you’re writing romance, young adult fiction, or the great American novel, it all begins with story. You have to know story structure, how it works and how to work it, before you write a single line.

And this is how you do it.

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Story — A Good Story Must Be Disturbing

By Mark Rubinstein — Writer’s Digest

Whether you’re writing a literary novel, a psychological, medical, legal or spy thriller, or even a cozy mystery, for a novel to be engaging, it must center on human conflict and disturbance.

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Story — We Are Wired for It

Use brain science to hook readers

By Lisa Cron

This guide reveals how writers can utilize cognitive storytelling strategies to craft stories that ignite readers’ brains and captivate them through each plot element.

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Story Building Blocks

By Diana Hurwitz

The Story Building Blocks series helps writers develop their plot, design characters using temperament types, build 3D story worlds, write a bare bones first draft, and polish it with revision.

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Story Course

By Sarah Selechy Writing School

The Story Course guides you to step into your true identity as a writer. It teaches you how to access that mysterious place with presence and consistency. And it teaches you how to honor your stories with technique and craft.

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Story or Die

how to use brain science

By Lis Cron

A step-by-step guide to using the brain’s hardwired need for story to achieve any goal.

Whether you’re pitching a product, saving the planet, or convincing your kids not to text and drive, story isn’t just one way to persuade. It’s the way. It’s built into the architecture of the brain, and has been since early humans gathered around the camp fire, trying to figure out how to outsmart the lion next door.

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Story Genius

use brain power to go beyond outlining

By Lisa Cron

This writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story.

Anything that doesn’t impact the protagonist’s internal struggle, regardless of how beautifully written or objectively dramatic it is, will stop the story cold, breaking the spell that captivated readers, and unceremoniously catapulting them back into their own lives.

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Story Goal

A 12 POINT CHECKLIST

By Anthony Ehlers — Writers Write

How do you know you have the right story goal? Does it seem both realistic and exciting? Is it a goal that others can relate to? Will the readers or audience understand the main character’s goal? Will they understand why they want the things they want? Is the reason behind the plot compelling enough to sustain a good story, script or novel?

As a writer, how do you assess all this?

Follow our comprehensive 12-point checklist to test your story goal and plot.

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Story Power FREE Mini-Course

By David Baboulene, Ph.D.

Start watching right now!

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Story Premise

By K.M. Weiland

For both writers and readers, the premise is the reason we become interested in a story.

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Story Premise

HOW TO WRITE A PREMISE

By The Novel Factory

You should be able to express the premise of a story (the central idea) in one or two sentences.

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Story Secrets

INNOVATIVE TOOLS FOR PERFECTING YOUR FICTION AND CAPTIVATING READERS

By Matt Bird

The Secrets of Story provides comprehensive, audience-focused strategies for becoming a master storyteller. Armed with the Ultimate Story Checklist, you can improve every aspect of your fiction writing with incisive questions like these:

• Concept: Is the one-sentence description of your story uniquely appealing?
• Character: Can your audience identify with your hero?
• Structure and Plot: Is your story ruled by human nature?
 Scene Work: Does each scene advance the plot and reveal character through emotional reactions?
• Dialogue: Is your characters’ dialogue infused with distinct personality traits and speech patterns based on their lives and backgrounds?
 Tone: Are you subtly setting, resetting, and upsetting expectations?
• Theme: Are you using multiple ironies throughout the story to create meaning?

To succeed in the world of fiction and film, you have to work on every aspect of your craft and satisfy your audience. Do both–and so much more–with The Secrets of Story.

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Story Starts

A GOOD OPENING LINE IS A POWERFUL THING

By Jacib A. Appel — Writer’s Digest

In writing, as in dating and business, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

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Story or Storey?

By ABC Education

Learn the difference between the nouns ‘story’ and ‘storey’ and learn how to use these words correctly.

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Story Structure Matters

and what happens when it’s not there

By Michael Hauge

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Story Structure and the Antagonist

parts 1 and 2

By K.M. Weiland — Helping Writers Become Authors

Especially in a tightly plotted story, the antagonist is every bit as important a driver of the story structure as is the protagonist.

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Story Structure and Character Arc

By Kiingo

How can story structure be driven by a character arc? How is story structure more than just an external journey? And how can we make our character arcs more believable? Let’s look at how structure and characters intertwine.

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Story Structure Secrets

By K.M. Weiland

Why should I care? The single most overlooked, misunderstood—and yet most important—part of storytelling.

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Story Structure

MAKING STORY STRUCTURE YOUR OWN

By K.M. Weiland

Over the past decade, the term “story structure” has largely come to refer to plot points and beat sheets. When writers start talking about structure, many of us assume they’re talking about the specific and even archetypal shape of story—the rise and fall of plot, the causal balance of action and reaction, the transformational journey of the character.

There’s more to it than that!

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Story Structure and Formulas

By The Futur

What is the story circle? How did George Lucas write an epic story like Star Wars? Are there common story types? What is the Monomyth? How does the hero’s journey overlap with the inner journey? How do I improve my writing? Are there story formulas that I can use?

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Story Structure Variations

By September C. Fawkes

You can find a lot of information on story structure in the writing community, but when it comes to discussing variations on structure . . . that gets harder to find.

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The Storytellers

STRAIGHT TALK FROM THE WORLD’S MOST ACCLAIMED SUSPENSE & THRILLER AUTHORS

By Mark Rubinstein

Have you ever read a suspense novel so good you had to stop and think to yourself, “How did the author come up with this idea? Their characters? Is some of this story real?” For over five years, Mark Rubinstein, physician, psychiatrist, and mystery and thriller writer, had the chance to ask the most well-known authors in the field just these kinds of questions in interviews for the Huffington Post.

Collected here are interviews with forty-seven accomplished authors.

“Every author has a core story and that he or she will spend a lifetime exploring it. The core story is defined by the emotional conflicts, themes, and world views that compel and fascinate the author.”
—- Jayne Ann Krentz, interviewed in The Storytellers
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Structuring Your Novel 

ESSENTIAL KEYS FOR WRITING AN OUTSTANDING STORY

By K.M. Weiland

Structure is the hidden foundation of all successful stories.

Learn the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will show you how to perfectly time your story’s major events and will provide you with an unerring standard against which to evaluate your novel’s pacing and progression

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Stream of Consciousness

WHAT IS IT & HOW TO USE IT

By Krystal N. Craiker — ProWritingAid

Writers use stream of consciousness writing to mimic the way people’s thoughts flow. We very rarely think in a perfect, linear order. The stream of consciousness technique uses unusual, often grammatically incorrect, sentence structure full of incomplete thoughts and tangents to illustrate how a character thinks.

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“You can actually strengthen a reader’s bond with a story by providing them LESS detail. When their imagination fills in the gaps, they become active participants. They take ownership of the story, and tell it to themselves in a way that you’ll never be able to.”
—- Chad Ryan

Subplots

SUBPLOTS AS A SOURCE OF CONFLICT

By Mia Botha — Writers Write

Whether you’re planning the fabric of a new story or looking to thread depth into one that’s falling flat, try these 7 methods to add great subplots to your novel for a tightly woven plot.

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Subplots

7 WAYS TO ADD SUBPLOTS TO YOUR NOVEL

By Elizabeth Sims — Writer’s Digest

Whether you’re planning the fabric of a new story or looking to thread depth into one that’s falling flat, try these 7 methods to add great subplots to your novel for a tightly woven plot.

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Successful Author Mindset

By Joanna Penn

Being a writer is not just about typing. It’s also about surviving the roller-coaster of the creative journey.

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Successful Self-Publishing

By Joanna Penn

“I’ve learned the most effective way to publish and market your books. In this book, I’ll share everything with you.”

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Super Structure

STORY LOVES STRUCTURE . . . AND SO DO READERS!

By James Scott Bell

Super Structure represents over two decades of research on what makes a novel or screenplay entertaining, commercial, original, and irresistible. Contrary to what some may think, structure is not a nasty inhibitor of creativity. Quite the opposite. Properly understood and utilized, structure is what translates story into a form readers are wired to receive it.

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Support Network

8 TIPS TO BUILD YOUR SUPPORTIVE WRITING NETWORK

By Gale Massey — Writer’s Digest

Writing can be a solitary activity … but it doesn’t have to be. Let author Gale Massey give you some tips for building a supportive writing network.

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Surprise Your Reader

READERS LOVE BEING SURPRISED

By John McNally — Writer’s Digest

But surprises aren’t easy. Readers are not fans of being tricked or manipulated.

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Suspense

CREATING AND SUSTAINING SUSPENSE

By Steven James — Writer’s Digest

No matter what you write, keep your readers captivated with these no-fail techniques for creating and sustaining suspense in your stories.

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A Swim in a Pool in the Rain

IN WHICH FOUR RUSSIANS GIVE A MASTER CLASS ON WRITING, READING, AND LIFE

By George Saunders

A literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today.

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Sympathetic Characters

how to write sympathetic characters

By K,M, Weiland — Helping Writers Become Authors

One of our most critical jobs as authors is creating sympathetic characters.

At first glance, this may seem like a no-brainer. After all, most of us write our stories based on our love for the main character. However, there are several levels of sympathetic characters.

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Synopsis

LEARN HOW TO WRITE A SYNOPSIS LIKE A PRO

By Courtney Carpenter — Writer’s Digest

Five quick and easy tips, as well as five things to avoid, when writing synopses, and a few pointers on formatting your synopsis!

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Synopsis

TAMING THE SYNOPSIS: FOUR STEPS

By Ammi-Joan Paquette — Writer’s Digest

When approached one step at a time, the dreaded synopsis can become a trusted companion on your publishing journey.

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