I’ll admit, the idea for this blog was sparked by this one, by Donald Maass. It made me think, because I’m teaching my First Five Pages class at Lawson Writer’s Academy starting today (you can still sign up – HERE). We always focus on first lines, and though I’ll admit they are critical, experts say…

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Because writing isn’t hard enough, right? Now we have to write while worrying about: getting sick, loved ones falling ill, kids’ school, misinformation, politics, economics, TP shortages and murder hornets. No wonder we’re not sleeping. But introverts are at least used to being locked in their houses. Heck, they want to be there! I am…

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My 12th book releases TOMORROW, and I’m taking a break from craft this week, to squee just a bit. So far, the reviews are good (fingers crossed), and I’m hoping for a successful launch. I’m chatting with Frannie Cassano on Wednesday – I’d love for y’all to join us – I have this junior high…

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Think back. Waaaay back, to when you first decided you wanted to write. You sat down, maybe at a computer, maybe with a pen and napkin, or even (in my case) on the back of a motorcycle, and wove a story in your head. Remember how excited you were? Everything seemed possible. You had the…

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This is awesome skimming. This isn’t what I’m talking about. For an author, reader skimming is a death knell. It immediately precedes putting the book down and not picking it back up. The reader may not even be able to tell you why they’re not engaged, just that they aren’t. You can write the perfect…

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POV is like Algebra. You either get it or you don’t, and if you don’t, people can explain it ten different ways, and you just feel dumber with every one. Hey, I understand. I didn’t get it either, back when rocks were new. And what’s frustrating is, I’ve never found a way to explain it…

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I consider myself a pretty fair writer. But I can face it–I’m never going to be as good with description as Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing), or Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides), or even Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath). If you are, you have my great respect. Have you ever opened a book, and the…

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Backstory is important. It gives essential context to what’s happening in the story. So why does it have such a bad rep? Because writers are heavy-handed with it. It’s a garnish – not a main course. The majority of badly handled backstory I see is at the beginning of the book. A friend of mine,…

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I am a very lean writer (not a lean person, mind you, that’s a different meeting). I think when you pare a sentence to its essence, making sure that every word is critical and sparkly, that’s when the power comes through. Many writers (and not just beginners) end up saying something more than once. It…

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