Author Despair—What To Do When You Feel Like All Is Lost

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Stuck in a writing slump? Here’s help!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image courtesy of Eflon via Flickr Creative Commons Image courtesy of Eflon via Flickr Creative Commons

We have all heard the saying, The truth shall set you free. But what many people may not realize is the truth doesn’t set us free from others. It sets us free from ourselves.

Like our characters, we are often blinded by our own lies and since we aren’t facing the truth and admitting it, we can make no forward progress. Growth, change, and victory are all impossible.

This said, there are some dark places all writers go, but since we are ashamed to feel these things, we rarely fess up to feeling them and so they remain in the dark. Thus we remain in the dark and sink ever deeper.

It reminds me of that scene from The Neverending Story. We can become like Artax the horse—admit you cried TOO 😛 .

We sink deeper and deeper and deeper never…

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Hate the Editing Stage of Writing? Check Out These Helpful Tools

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Editing tools for the writer who hates to edit

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Hey guys, Today Nancy Lin is here to help us with what might just be THE suckiest part of writing. But part of being a great writer, is also learning to be at least a good editor. We all need professional outside eyes on our work, and Nancy is here to help you get the most bang for your buck.

Take it away, Nancy!

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Editing is a necessary part of writing, but not all writers are great editors. As a writer, I find it helpful to get a second opinion, because I’m not able to see every single error. And this isn’t just me.

You might think you’re the next Shakespeare (which are pretty big shoes to fill). Once you stop basking in your own ego, you can be more realistic about your writing ability. And chances are you’re not.

Professional editors are useful, and, in some cases, they’re…

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Are You Botching Your Dialogue?

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Dialogue no nos

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Today we are going to talk about dialogue. Everyone thinks they are great at it, and many would be wrong. Dialogue really is a lot tricker than it might seem.

Great dialogue is one of the most vital components of fiction. Dialogue is responsible for not only conveying the plot, but it also helps us understand the characters and get to know them, love them, hate them, whatever.

Dialogue is powerful for revealing character. This is as true in life as it is on the page. If people didn’t judge us based on how we speak, then business professionals wouldn’t bother with Toastmasters, speaking coaches or vocabulary builders.

I’d imagine few people who’d hire a brain surgeon who spoke like a rap musician and conversely, it would be tough to enjoy rap music made by an artist who spoke like the curator of an art museum.

Our word choices are…

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Symbolism & Setting—The Perfect Marriage

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Layering in symbolism

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Today I have two very special guests. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are here to talk about a more advanced concept in fiction—symbol. Take it way, ladies!

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We all want our writing to be layered. Like a gourmet meal, we want there to be more to them than just what is seen on the surface. In stories, this depth can be added a number of ways—through subplots, character arc, subtext, theme, and symbolism. Of them all, I think symbolism is one of the simplest methods to employ, and it packs a serious wallop.

Symbolism is important because it turns an ordinary object, place, color, person, etc. into something that goes beyond the literal. Babies represent innocence and unlimited potential, spring is synonymous with rebirth, shackles symbolize slavery, the color white brings to mind purity.

Symbols like these are universal in nature because they mean the same thing to many…

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First Chapter Sneak Peek: Love, Christmas Collection #Holidayromance #mgtab @MimiBarbour

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Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Love Christmas

First Chapter Sneak peek at our upcoming holiday collection: Love, Christmas!

This week’s contribution comes from bestselling author, Mimi Barbour.

Enjoy 🙂

Frosty the Snowman…pup!

Holiday Heartwarmers Book #4

By

Mimi Barbour

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Chapter One… (Sneak Peek – unedited version)

Ice shards blew against the Cessna’s windshield and vision became limited. The previously relaxed pilot suddenly changed to a man with a mission. Tension ramped up and the earlier warm atmosphere turned cold as fear constricted throats unable to swallow.

“We’re going down aren’t we?” Hali Gibson’s voice hadn’t risen from her normal tones. Not even a little. But inside, hidden deep in her emotions, lived a wild spirit that screeched and then whimpered. I don’t want to die! Not yet. Not now!

Clutching the leather panel in front of her as if by sheer want and personal influence, she could force the noisy plane back up into the blanket…

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Are Flashbacks Fizzling Your Fiction? Time as a Literary Device

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Flashbacks: To Do or Bot To Do

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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One of the most common blunders I see with new authors is they botch the “flashback.” Why? Well, for starters I don’t think subjects/techniques like these get talked about in depth very often (though I could write an entire book on just flashbacks alone). This is part of why I created this Friday’s class, So You Want to Write a Novel. All the lovely stuff English class never taught you 😉 .

Additionally, many writers are mimicking what they are writing off what they “see” in movies. Problem is? Movies are a completely different medium. Film is concrete. Black letters on a white page? ABSTRACT.

But another problem with flashbacks? In my POV, the term “flashback” is far too broad.

We can mistakenly believe that any time an author shifts time, that THIS is the dreaded “flashback” I am referring to and the one I (as an editor) will cut.

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Write About Inner Demons Without Boring the Reader into a Coma

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Plotting Inner Demons

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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One of the toughest concepts to grasp in writing fiction is this notion of “inner demons.” In all my years working with writers and busting apart countless manuscripts, the single greatest weakness I’ve witnessed with writers is a failure to truly understand how to plot. And before anyone breaks out in hives that I am encouraging detailed outlines, I’m not.

But the problem with inner demons is they are…well…inner. This means that our job as writers is to draw the demons out so they can be destroyed. It’s kind of like The Exorcist, though green puke and spinning heads is all your call.

You might laugh but if you have ever seen any movie involving an exorcism, what is the general progression?

The victim starts acting weird. Not herself. At first it might be written off as depression or lack of sleep or not enough caffeine. Then as the…

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When Reading Changed My Life

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The book that changed my life is JANE EYRE. What’s yours?

Word by Word

author 100 x 100What day, you ask. V-day? Anniversary? Birth of children? The day I sold my first story?

Way back in eighth grade, my English teacher had given us the assignment to read a book and present an oral review.

At those words, my insides had twisted into a hard knot. I was terribly shy and hated speaking in front of a large group. (Fortunately, I grew out of this.) And it had to be a book of an adult level. That stumped me because I hadn’t a clue about leaping to adult level.

I was fortunate to get the Scholastic newsletter. I’d poured over its pages, looking for an affordable and likeable book. I’d settled on one about a family with twelve kids, set in a time before me–Cheaper by the Dozen. The book was a fast read and I was enthralled with the family antics. So happily, I’d prepared my…

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Pirates and Pirating

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Pirates… Of Both Kinds…

Nancy's Notes From Florida

We have seafaring pirates, and we have book pirates. Let’s talk about the former type first.

Last weekend, my husband and I went to an exhibit at Plantation Historical Museum about Florida pirates. The seas off the coast of Florida have seen many shipwrecks along with pirates who’ve taken advantage of our broad coastline. I’ve a special fascination for these highwaymen of the seas as they play a role in Facials Can Be Fatal, my next full-length Bad Hair Day Mystery. This story delves into Florida history as described in my post below, Florida Escape.

After a grand introduction at the museum, the action went outside for a sword fight. Indoors were a variety of exhibits including these clever dioramas. I especially liked reading about the women pirates. Many of them disguised themselves as men and became quite famous. Today we have our modern version of seafaring pirates…

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