Why Do Imperfect Characters and Story Worlds Resonate with Readers?

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By Cynthia Herron You might think because I write Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction my story worlds are a delightful Sunday-Go-to-Meeting escape. Well, I can’t fib. That’s somewhat true…to a point. However— As a conscientious writer whose goal is to share a great story, I strive to balance the delightful with reality-based conflict in a heartfelt, homespun way. Today’s readers want meat-and-potatoes stories that resonate. …

Don’t Be a Troublemaker

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By Davalynn Spencer Did your mother ever tell you to stop being a troublemaker? How about your teachers? Friends. Well, if that task was hard to achieve in your childhood, and you’re a fiction writer today, now’s your chance to shine. Making trouble is what novelists are called to do. We usually think of that trouble in terms of “conflict” …

Resolving Tension

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By Sarah Hamaker As writers, we work with tension all the time—without tension, our stories would sag and our heroes and heroines would have very boring relationships. But this blog is about the tension we experience between what we want to work on and what we have to work on. For many of us, writing is not our fulltime job. …

Penchant Toward Drama

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By Shirley E. Gould As writers, we create drama, set the scene and allow it to play out to bring our characters through the circumstances that threaten their happily-ever-after ending. It’s what we do when we create stories that grip our readers and take them on a journey through our prose. We study our craft to perfect our work, giving …

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 …

The Path of Perfection

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By Christine Sunderland I am currently reading a novel with a fascinating historical setting and colorful characters. It has received rave reviews, become a bestseller and book club favorite. And yet, the characters seem shallow. What is missing? I considered the plot, which lacks direction. The action doesn’t climb to an anticipated climax. I asked, What drives these characters? What …

Blessings in Conflict

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By Kathy Harris If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. — Meister Eckhart Everywhere we turn this time of year, we’re reminded to be thankful. Whether it’s a warm and fuzzy television commercial, a not-so-gentle nudge delivered from the pulpit, or a magazine article on the Top Ten Tips …

Conflicted about Conflict?

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By Ane Mulligan My first novel was a Biblical fiction in which I strung together a bunch of scenes from Jesus’ life, interspersed with the fictional characters. There was no conflict, other than the Pharisees wanting to crucify Jesus. I figured that was enough. Uh, no. Not for a novel. Sigh. I had a lot to learn. I slid that …