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Blog Posts

[Breakfast with the Muse] 4 Compelling Ways to Write Emotion

Posted by Jill Jepson on May 18, 2015 at 7:30am 0 Comments

One of the easiest things to write badly is emotion.

Long after a writer has learned to create interesting characters, construct strong plots, invent believable settings, and come up with convincing dialogue, she might still be writing sentences like, “Marissa felt really, really angry” or “Jake was happy as a clam.”

It wasn’t until multiple writing teachers had commented on my tendency to describe my characters’ feelings with boring words like “cheerful” and “depressed” that I began to make a serious study of how excellent writers depict emotions. What I found was that, while writing emotion may be easy to screw up, it’s also easy to fix, if you know a few simple techniques.

Here are four ways to depict emotion in your writing, with examples from some of the best writers…

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[TIPS OF THE TRADE]: What makes you smile -- and why it matters

Posted by Ellen Cassedy on May 20, 2015 at 6:00am 1 Comment

It all began with a clarinet.

I played the clarinet when I was a girl, but after the audition for college orchestra went badly, I put the instrument away in a closet (a series of closets, actually), and didn’t touch it again for three decades.      

Then one day my friend Josh told me he was in a bind.  His daughter’s bat mitzvah was coming up, and he’d lovingly arranged a little piece for it.  But the clarinetist in the ensemble (age 12) had decided she didn’t want to play after all.  Could I fill in?

I…

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[REALITY CHECK] - What NOT to Do With a Podcast Guest - Catharine Bramkamp

Posted by Zetta Brown on May 19, 2015 at 11:37am 0 Comments

Last week, Catharine Bramkamp talked about how to book guests for your podcast.

Continuing with our mini-series on podcasting, this week, Catharine will address something that I'm sure causes any podcaster the flop sweats, embarrassment, and loss of face: how to handle--and avoid--disasters.…

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[SWP: Behind the Book] The Stories We Need to Tell

Posted by Ellen Bravo on May 15, 2015 at 5:00am 16 Comments

When I started the search for a publisher for Again and Again, a high-profile friend referred me to a big-name agent (we’ll call him Mr. Big). “He wants women writers,” she told me. “Your novel is just what he’s looking for.”

Mr. Big worked the old-fashioned way: no electronic submissions. As directed by his website, I sent a single-page query via snail mail. Six weeks later I got a one-paragraph reply in my mailbox asking for the first fifty pages, which I shipped immediately. Another six weeks went by before I got the request for the entire manuscript, and at least another six before I got a call from this agent’s assistant. “I loved your novel,” he said, “and so did my colleague, also a man. We’re sure the big guy will love it, too.” [Really, that’s what they called him.] “I…

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