Of Woodpiles and Word Piles

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By Davalynn Spencer I recently had a cord of firewood delivered to my home. A cord is roughly a stack that is four feet high, four feet deep, and eight feet long. The depth of the stack or length of the logs varies and, therefore, affects the price and identifying name: full cord, face cord, stove cord, etc. However, my wood …

The Four Movements of the Story Beats

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By James R. Hannibal In a previous blog I told you about story beats—an author’s path through the woods. You don’t have to stay on the path, but knowing where it lies gives you the freedom to wander. These story beats are a well-documented component of the human psyche. I believe they were placed within us by a loving Creator …

The Freedom of a Path in the Woods

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By James R. Hannibal Long ago, while attending the US Air Force Academy and working as a summer survival instructor, I wandered away from a campsite looking for firewood. Our search took us deep into the unmarked woods of the Rocky Mountains’ front range, where the sun sets quickly. The light dimmed. The air grew colder. One of my students—we’ll …

What Is Your Hero Pursuing?

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by Henry McLaughlin We’ve all heard story is about conflict and tension. And that is definitely true. Stories about happy people living in Happy Valley don’t excite readers. Frankly, they can be boring. The story becomes a story when something disrupts the status quo. As John LeCarré once said, “The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The …

Springing into the Next Story

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by Jan Drexler Spring is here, and it’s time to start my next book! With this new beginning, I’ve already spent hours of preparation. I’ve cultivated the bed of ideas, throwing out stones and stray roots. I’ve poured over research materials as if they were seed catalogs, each with their own versions of the standard offerings. I’ve studied maps, terrain, …

Back Story – When & How

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By Ane Mulligan When I first started writing, I did what most new writers do. Believing the reader couldn’t understand my story or like the heroine without knowing her back story, I loaded the first chapter with all that information. It didn’t take too many critiques to learn the error of my ways. But why is it not necessary? I’m …

Write Like a Pirate

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By Kariss Lynch Remember that scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, the one where the not-so-refined Miss Elizabeth requests parley with the pirate captain? She thinks parley is a Pirate Code granting her protection. Sadly, she didn’t quite know her audience. She is quickly informed that the Pirate Code is more like guidelines than actual rules. Writing is a lot …

Plotting and Structure of Novels

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by Brenda Taylor Plotting novels is a chore for me, because I am a panster by nature. Instead of sitting for a great length of time thinking, plotting, and structuring a story, I want to write and let the storyline fall where it may. I’ve learned, however, my panster method is not the best way. It leaves too much to …

Have You “Arrived” Yet?

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By Patricia Bradley Do writers ever “arrive”? You know, get to the point where they quit learning? Or studying the craft? Not if we want to be good writers, we don’t. And now is one of the best times in the history of writing to get help if you’re just starting out or to hone your craft if you’ve been …

Recalculating

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By Ane Mulligan I love GPS. When I grew up in Southern California, everything was laid out in a grid; streets ran north and south or east and west. There would be an odd diagonal street, too. If you missed your turn, you simply went around the block and came at it again. Not so when I moved to Georgia; …