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Show vs. Tell: A Rewrite Analysis

Show vs. Tell: A Rewrite Analysis
show-vs-tell
Photography by Jason Koons

Show vs. tell is one of the most difficult things to learn as a young writer. One of my novel mentees came to me with some excerpts to examine for the dreaded telling pitfall. This lovely writer had spent hours scouring the internet for advice, but found herself becoming more and more confused.

My method of mentoring often involves examples — partially because I learn by doing the thing, so I have to try it before I can fully explain it. I took her paragraph and spent about 15 minutes rewriting it in my own…Continue Reading

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Story Graphics: How to Assemble Your Cast

Story Graphics: How to Assemble Your Cast

cast-graphics-2I was recently telling someone I’ve been novel-mentoring about creating graphics, and how it can be a great way to break writer’s block. She was like, “Huh?” And I was like, “Oh, I guess this isn’t the most obvious.”

So, we already talked about visualizing characters with photo collages. Today we’re going to talk about assembling our casts. This used to be something I just did for fun, but it’s become a necessary part of my drafting process. In fact, for Eleventh Trade I had to stop writing and take a day just to pull together my cast.

Making…Continue Reading

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Dear Past!Self: Some Advice

Dear Past!Self: Some Advice

Dear 24-Going-25!Self,

Hey, kid. It’s me, 25-going-26!Self. How you doing? I know the answer, but I thought I’d ask to be polite.

If your math skills aren’t working (it happens, I get you), I’ll just clarify: I’m writing from the end of your 25th year on earth. Kind of crazy. There are a few things I’d like to tell you, things that might make this coming orbit of the sun a little better. Maybe.

This year’s going to be nuts. You thought 24 was a ride, but this is a whole new level. You’re going to have amazing highs. You’ll sign with a literary agent, finally, about two months into 25. Your dear friend is going to get an…Continue Reading

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How to Visualize Your Character (With Photoshop)

How to Visualize Your Character (With Photoshop)

Story graphics are one of my favorite parts of productive procrastinating, and one of my favorite types of story graphics is creating character concepts. I got this idea from my sister, Laura Hollingsworth, who uses it sometimes to brainstorm ideas for her webcomic, The Silver Eye.

Though I’ll be using Photoshop for this tutorial, you can really use any photo editing program that lets you adjust layers and occupancy. (GIMP is a good, free alternative to Photoshop!)

How to Make Character Concepts in Photoshop

Step 1: Find a Base Image

Find an image that basically looks like your character. This…Continue Reading

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17 Autumn Books to Read Before Halloween

17 Autumn Books to Read Before Halloween

Fall has filled the air (finally!) here in Virginia. It’s the season for warm drinks, scarves, and boots. It’s also the season for catching the last warmth of the sun by reading on the porch, or staying dry with good books during the October rains.

Below are seventeen books I love to read around this time of year, with their publisher’s description included. They mostly fall under the umbrella of YA, MG, and fantasy, because that’s what I love. It’s ordered roughly by age range. Enjoy!

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

serafina-and-the-black-cloakSerafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture…Continue Reading

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Beautiful People: Luc

Beautiful People: Luc

I’ve just turned in my new draft of Illuminate so I wanted to participate in Beautiful People as my reward! The character I’ll be talking about this time is my darling romantic interest, Luc. Sweet child.

What is Beautiful People?

Beautiful People is a blog meme hosted by Sky @ Further Up and Further In and Cait @ Paper Fury. Every month, they post ten questions to help writers get to know their characters better.

How do I join?

Just jump in! Snag the September questions, post them on your blog, and come back to add your link! I also recommend checking out the posts of the other participants. It’s a great way to make new friends.

Beautiful People: Luc

[gallery…Continue Reading
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20 Prompts to Uncover Characters’ Hearts

20 Prompts to Uncover Characters’ Hearts

Characters! Those cheeky fellas. I love seeking out my characters’ hearts. Finding the deep-down stuff that really makes them tick, and then bringing it out in the story. Normally I’ll spend a lot of time brainstorming this in the early side of my drafting, but I also like to revisit the basics when I hit a roadblock and stall out. Often when I’m stuck, it’s because I have stopped listening to my characters.

Here are some questions that can help you explore your characters and gain new insights. I’ve written them addressed to your character directly, and recommend answering them in your character’s voice (i.e. first person). This is a great way to really get in their head.

20…Continue Reading

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The Homeless Man

The Homeless Man

I made a storify list of my tweets last night, because this encounter hasn’t left my mind since it happened. My heart is heavy and I’m longing for change after this brief interaction.

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The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway: WINNERS!

The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway: WINNERS!

The blog’s first giveaway has ended! Thank you everyone who entered – there was a great turnout and I’m excited for more giveaways in the future!

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, because 1) It’s Deadline Month and 2) We all know why you’re really here.

The Prizes Were…

1 Month of Writing Mentorship:

I’ll reach out to you via email and get to know a bit about your writing project and your goals for the month we’ll be working together. From there, my job is to hold you accountable to your targets with regular check-ins, help guide you through any hitches (whether you’re unsure of a plot move or unsure how to avoid “infodumping”), and give you a short…Continue Reading

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The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway!

The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway!

Welcome to this blog’s first giveaway! I’m super excited for it!

To celebrate my manuscripts taking a magical journey to far off publishers at the end of the summer, I want to share some editing joy with you guys. This giveaway features critiques, consultations, and even mentoring.

I tallied it up, and as a freelancer the whole bundle would normally cost my clients almost $500! But for you guys, it’s free!

(Well, mostly free. I mean, you don’t have to pay to enter or anything. Just, you know, pick some of the options below and go at it.)

Here’s a bit more about the giveaway prizes:

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