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Blog Posts

Does Your Dialogue Sound Realistic?

Posted by Maria Murnane on May 25, 2015 at 10:39am 0 Comments

Most of us read books because we love to escape (temporarily) from reality and immerse ourselves in alternate worlds inhabited by colorful, interesting characters whose lives are much more exciting than our own. That's certainly why I read! However, while the lives these characters lead might be less than realistic, it's important (to me, at least) that their dialogue is realistic. 

When I read a book with dialogue that doesn't ring true, instead of getting sucked into the story I find myself thinking, "Who talks like that? No one would say that." And as I've said a million times in this blog, you want your readers focused on the story, not on the problems with your writing.

(Note: I'm referring to contemporary fiction, not tales of dystopian societies, intergalactic wars, or Downtown Abbey-type romances. If you're writing any of the above, may the conversational Force be with you.)…

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Do Bookstore Events Sell Books? Who Cares. They're Awesome.

Posted by Kamy Wicoff on May 25, 2015 at 4:30pm 1 Comment

Last Wednesday, I took a 6:40AM flight home from San Francisco. Why so early? So I could land in New York in time to have dinner with my kids. (This month, I really needed the in-two-places-at-once time travel app I gave the main character in my novel!) In just four weeks, I'd been to Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, and had had my official launch party in New York. I'd stayed in one airport motel, but mostly on pull-out couches and in guest rooms, crashing with family and friends, hauling my roller bag from town to town. At one event, only five people showed up. At another, we had almost sixty. Book events are notoriously hard to make into a success. They are so hard to make into a success that…

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The Art of Submission: Creating a Submission Wish List

Posted by Emily Lackey on May 27, 2015 at 9:00am 0 Comments

One of the things that I often hear people talking about when it comes to submissions is having a "wish list," a list of journals and magazines you want to publish in, in order of difficulty. 

Let me be clear: I do not have one of these.

My M.O. is more to cobble together a "ranking system" from what other people have given me: a list of journals from my memoir professor, the BookFox Rankings that list journals in order of Pushcart prizes awarded, the Perpetual Folly list that does the same, and a list a friend gave me of journals she'd die to get into. 

Already you can see that my system is not perfect. Pile on top of all of those lists the fact that many journals have limited submissions windows, genres they accept, and lengths that they require, it…

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

Posted by Jill Jepson on May 18, 2015 at 7:30am 3 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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Community Blog

The Art of Submission: Creating a Submission Wish List

One of the things that I often hear people talking about when it comes to submissions is having a "wish list," a list of journals and magazines you want to publish in, in order of difficulty. 

Let me be clear: I do not have one of these.

My M.O. is more to cobble together a…

Wednesday Wonder: A Fly Geyser

Posted Wednesday Wonder, a look at a fly geyser in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

http://writingwithoutpaper.blogspot.com/2015/05/wednesday-wonder-fly-geyser.html

. these days .

are longer now, i feel younger now,

i am older. we do so many things.

we are no longer afraid.

make the best of summer days,

winter follows.

he remarked that it was

good enough for the

chelsea flower show.

sbm.…

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    Does Your Dialogue Sound Realistic?

    Most of us read books because we love to escape (temporarily) from reality and immerse ourselves in alternate worlds inhabited by colorful, interesting characters whose lives are much more exciting than our own. That's certainly why I read! However,…See More
    1 hour ago
    A blog post by Kamy Wicoff was featured

    Do Bookstore Events Sell Books? Who Cares. They're Awesome.

    Last Wednesday, I took a 6:40AM flight home from San Francisco. Why so early? So…See More
    1 hour ago
    A blog post by Emily Lackey was featured

    The Art of Submission: Creating a Submission Wish List

    One of the things that I often hear people talking about when it comes to…See More
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