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For Writers: What Pixar can teach you

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I am a big fan of animated movies.  I think some of the best storytelling of the last 20 years has been done in animation.  I was reminded of this fact twice this past week, one when I saw Inside Out and the second time when my son played me this animated short, an early storyboard […]

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So you’ve published a book!  Congratulations!  Now here’s something you may not have realized when you sat at your desk polishing your baby: when you’re an author, you really have two full-time jobs.  One is to write and the other is to promote your work.  This is true even if you’re traditionally published. Part of […]

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How Game of Thrones was sold

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How Game of Thrones was sold

I have my issues with Game of Thrones (rape scenes, anyone?) but there’s no denying that it’s a cultural juggernaut.  I’m always fascinated by how books that are now huge hits first got their start. When George R.R. Martin pitched GOT, he was a not-so-successful writer.  GOT was his fourth book.  Below is the actual […]

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Find your playlist

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I’ve often said that writing is about remembering. Even when you’re making something up (which is what writing fiction essentially is), you still have to access memories of your own emotions to write something that feels real. Music is great for that!

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What does it mean to be a prolific writer

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What does it mean to be a prolific writer

What does it mean to be a prolific writer? A short while back, a writing buddy shocked me by saying she admired my writing output.  Surely she must have just been blowing smoke.  One of my deep, daily pains is how little I write.  When I do sit down to write, words seem to flow […]

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Tools for Writers: Word Sprints

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Writing a book takes a lot of different skills: the ability to plan and stick to the plan (and know when to chuck the plan when it’s not working).  The ability to silence the little critic in your head and listen only to the muse, sometimes for years before getting any direction.  Probably the number […]

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Writing – what to tell vs. what to leave out

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My first completed manuscript was a memoir I have since (temporarily, I hope) shelved.  It didn’t sell for a variety of reasons, chief among them that it was pretty poorly written. If the me of ten years ago would have heard that, she would have crumpled in agony and never written another word.  But the me […]

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Tools for Writers: Write or Die

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If you’re looking to keep up a certain daily word count, Write or Die is a great tool. Enter your target word count of the amount of time you want to write and set the system to reward or consequence. Then, at the pre-set intervals, the system with either show you a reward (think purring […]

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Advice about publishing for the aspiring writer

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I met an enterprising young woman at a recent conference who asked me for advice about the publishing industry and “making it” as a writer, specifically of YA (young adult, or books for teens). As I poured out my advice, I realized it could be a blog post. So I filled it in and added […]

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The “I hate outlining” guide to outlining

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Before I got an agent, I heard one of the many legends about J.K. Rowling: she outlined Harry Potter for five years before she ever wrote a word.  It was one of those dark moments for me, one of those “I’ll never be worthy” experiences.  I couldn’t outline anything for five minutes let alone five […]

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