Writing Tips

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 The Basics of Writing

[Includes Helpful Exercises] How a writer says things with words has a big impact on how appealing their material will be. While it’s nice to get a feel for the environment and characters, an author can go overboard with descriptive. Instead of spending a paragraph describing the shade, texture and origin of a table, a simple description such as “honey-coloured wood with bevelled edges” will often suffice. Keep descriptions simple unless it’s important for the reader to know a lot about the item, person or environment. After all, some things are better left to the reader’s imagination.

In an effort to “keep it real” new writers often make the mistake of rambling on after making their point, using too many words to say something or writing the way he or she would speak. These habits can seriously hurt a narrative …

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 Know Your Audience

No matter what kind of writing a person is doing, there is one major rule that all writers must follow: Know Your Audience. Is the material aimed at adolescent girls? Stressed managers? Inquisitive 20-something men? Infants learning to read? Stay-at-home mothers?

A writer who doesn’t know their audience will likely miss the target  …

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Ideas and Inspiration for Writers

[Includes Helpful Exercises]  Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, children’s stories, screenplays, short stories, poems or even informational articles, it’s sometimes hard to come up with a topic or story idea. Some writers are blessed enough to have great ideas pop into their heads out of the blue or in connection to something they’ve seen or heard. Others find story-building more perspiration and less inspiration.

For those who find themselves stranded without a muse, here are a few tactics that can help get the creative juices flowing …

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How to Write Compelling Narrative

Narrative is the reader’s path through your story. It needs to be clear, genuine and relatable if it is going to guide your audience safely and happily to the end of the tale. Here are a few tips to help you meet this goal …

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Crafting a Relatable Character

In the real world, people don’t want to spend time with those they dislike or cannot relate to. The same is true for characters in a story.

A story’s main character, the protagonist, may have some bad habits or traits that the reader may not appreciate, but he or she still needs to be relatable. There must be some redeeming quality or likeability to make the reader want to take this journey with the character …

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How to Write a Story Outline

Whether producing screenplays, stage plays or novels, a writer will be asked to submit details of their manuscripts to agents, publishers and producers as either an outline or synopsis. These two terms are often confused with each other and sending the wrong one to an agent or publisher can lose you an opportunity very quickly.

An outline is a very detailed breakdown of your script or manuscript. It includes background and character information, as well as a chapter-by-chapter summation. The format for an outline is …

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 How to Write a Proper Synopsis

There’s often confusion about the difference between the literary terms “outline” and “summary”.  What exactly goes into each? If an agent, publisher or producer has asked you to submit a synopsis of your manuscript or screenplay, it is essential that you know exactly what’s being asked of you.

A synopsis, also called a summary, is a concise description of the entire story. Emphasis on “concise.” The industry rule is approximately 1 page  …

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 How to Plot Your Story

No matter what techniques or style of story plotting you use, there are some basics that need to be covered to ensure your writing experience flows smoothly from start to finish. You need to establish the theme and tone, your setting, characters and story arc.

Besides the obvious task of setting a solid foundation before you tackle writing, story plotting will provide you with a clear reference during the writing process to keep you on track …

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 The Three Styles of Story Plotting

Whether you’re a first time author or a pro, writing out the plot to your story in advance can be a great time saver. Just like making sure you have a map (or GPS) before taking a journey, a written out plot line will get you from point A to point B without getting lost along the way. The big question is, how do you plot your route? What is the best technique?

In my experience, the best method is whatever actually works for you. So, what are your options? There are several ways to plot a novel, but I’ve found that they tend to fall into three style categories: Analytical, Structured, and Free-Flowing

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