While You Were Sleeping—The Difference Between Narration & Internal Dialogue

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Yes, even WANA International is offering a Black Friday special. Cool thing is? No leaving home or getting in a fist-fight…unless you want to. I’ve killed three people this morning (though as writers. it’s ALL legal). I’ve asked Lisa Hall-Wilson to come chat with you guys about a serious sticky-wicket for new writers especially. We need to know what is going on in the minds of characters, but if they go around talking to themselves non-stop? Readers just roll their eyes.

There is a BIG difference between narrative and internal dialogue, and Lisa is here to clear up the confusion!

Take it away!

*throws glitter*

Stephen King wrote in On Writing about the writer’s toolbox. Tools like vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, showing not telling – those all belong in the top level of your toolbox, but lift off that top shelf and there’s a bunch of other tools that are very…

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All the Trimmings: Mouthwatering Food Blogs on WordPress.com

WordPress.com News

The holiday season is officially upon us: that special time of the year dedicated to friends, family, red-nosed reindeer, and—

Who are we kidding? It’s all about food! Glorious, comforting, yummy food. As millions of Americans are busy preparing for tomorrow’s turkey/turducken/tofurkey feasts, the food scene on WordPress.com is equally abuzz with recipes, food stories, and pictures that will make you drool over your screen. Here are some of our favorite food blogs — better not continue on an empty stomach…

Eating with your eyes

A picture is sometimes worth a thousand bites, and many food bloggers take their images seriously, pushing food photography to a whole new level. On cookinandshootin, for example, bloggers Tara Striano and Maria del Mar accompany the detailed recipes with crisp, bright photos. They make great use of Anthem‘s full-width content display to make the pictures pop.

Others follow suit:…

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Tips for Non-NaNo Writers: A November Survival Guide

Bare Knuckle Writer

As promised, part two of my Survival Guide to NaNoWriMo. Part One, for Participants, is over here. This time, pull up a sideline chair and get the popcorn. Here’s how to make it through the month when it seems like everyone around you is obsessed with plot bunnies and word counts.

1) Breathe. Don’t get caught up in the hype/panic. That shit is contagious. Hang around enough stressed out people and you’ll feel stressed even if you’re not doing anything. Avoid this bullshit—since stress is probably half the goddamn reason you’re not doing NaNo to begin with—and remember to take a deep breath. Or get a drink. Both help.

2) Do Other Shit. Not doing NaNo? This looks like a great time to reorganize your office. Or get a head start on your holiday shopping. Or finally make some headway on the ninja-training-for-dogs program. Bonus points: you get to brag…

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Redundant Writing

Writing Tips from Creative Writing Institute

The Same Ol’ Thing

by Ariel Pakizer, Creative Writing Institute Volunteer

Writing is tricky, but one rule is clear…readers, editors, and publishers like clean writing that is free of redundancies. No one likes to plod through oceans of verbiage. Redundancies slow the narrative and clutter the plotline. Remove them and make your work shine.

Replace, “He looked down at his shoes,” with “He looked at his shoes” or “He looked down.” Unless you‘re writing about aliens that wear shoes on their hands, readers will understand the character must look down to see footwear. Respect your reader’s intelligence.

Every word should hold a purpose, reveal new information, and/or push the narrative forward. Redundancies such as “whole earth” or “entire world” are unnecessary since “world” summarizes everything on earth. Other examples of lame writing are:

  • closed fist
  • future plans
  • brief summary
  • final outcome
  • armed gunman
  • advance warning
  • end result
  • exact same


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Hanging Writing Rules Out to Dry

Loved this blog, I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed lately with all the rules of the trade that I’ve stepped away from my work. I know, cardinal sin. This article made me feel so much better, I think I’ll go look things over again, maybe revise a little, maybe write a little, 🙂

Writers In The Storm Blog

Note: Congratulations to Jeannie Intrieri. She’s the winner of the giveaway from Chuck Sambuchino’s November 1 post.

By Kerry Lonsdale

First off, I have to credit Natalia Sylvester’s October 8, 2013 post at The Debutante Ball as the inspiration for this post. It was the first post I’ve read where an author confessed they don’t write every day.

Hallelujah! That post kicked a 50 pound self-inflicted guilt monkey off my back. Do I write every day? Heck no! I have a life that includes a husband and kids and more animals than I ever thought I’d adopt.

When I write I go deep in my head. It takes a lot of energy, and time, for me to write well. Even if my schedule permitted, I am mentally incapable of writing every day. While writing for me is a necessity—we’ve all heard the expression: writing is like the air we…

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Why I Choose a Digital Publisher Instead of Self-Publishing

great points made for seeking out a publisher rather than going Indie

Writers In The Storm Blog

WITS is happy to welcome Cynthia D’Alba. And psst, she has a giveaway . 🙂

Hi all! Cynthia D’Alba here. Today we’re going to talk about going with a publisher, be it digital first (such as Samhain Publishing) or NYC publisher (like St. Martin’s Press, Harlequin, Penguin, etc) versus Indie Publishing (do-it-yourself, aka self-publishing). I have one short story, Texas Two Step: The Prequel, that I indie published. The rest of my work is with various publishers (Samhain, Running Press, and Cleis.)

If you are relatively new to writing and the publishing world (like the last 2 or 3 years), you might not be aware of how much and how fast this world is changing. I’ve watched the world of “self-publishing” transform from a looked-down-upon sneer to “indie publishing” where writers of all levels of experience, from newbie to established, are exploring the new publishing frontier. Before digital became…

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How to Use Passive Voice Effectively

Writing Tips from Creative Writing Institute

Writing Passively 

by Laura Redden Erturk

Have you heard you should avoid passive voice in creative writing? Passive voice creates a weak sentence structure, but it can serve a purpose in different genres. Instead of showing you how to change passive voice to active, it might be more helpful to demonstrate how to use it effectively.  

For example, passive voice is useful when writing a laboratory report, as in The agent was mixed with the solvent, causing the test tube to explode. On the other hand, you could word it like this: I mixed the agent with the solvent, which caused an explosion of acid, gas, and glass. This sounds more interesting, but both ways are acceptable in a lab report. 

Passive voice can also come in handy when writing a newspaper article, especially when reporting on military action or highly politicized events. Passive voice, euphemism (substituting an agreeable…

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Look Away, Away – Creating Unforgettable Settings

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Kimberly Brock

I think writers of any ilk can benefit from a healthy appreciation of setting, but regional – particularly southern writers – are haunted by our connection to, love of, loss of, and clawing crawling, desperate journey back to – the land.

Oh, I wish I was in Dixie…away, away. Every song is a lullaby of going home. We close our eyes and dream of the old house in the valley. We contemplate a city skyline, thinking only of the ancient ridges that surrounded freshly turned lowlands where we walked a row as a child. That old scene where Scarlet O’Hara’s father warns her that land is the only thing that matters? We took that old man seriously and so, when we write our stories, do our characters. Their whole world, how our characters view their circumstances, why they struggle, why they rejoice – it’s all reflected in…

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Agent Wisdom, Volume II: More Advice For Writers From Literary Agents

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Chuck Sambuchino

Writing on PaperLiterary agents are full of great advice for writers. That’s why, whenever I am concluding an interview with an agent, I always end the encounter by asking “Is there any other piece of advice you’d like to discuss?”

This open-ended question often draws a fantastic answer, as the agent’s most passionate advice will pour out.

That’s why I’ve gone through a whole bunch of literary agent interviews and cobbled together some of the best writing tips that agents have passed on over the years. There was so much good material that I had to break it down into multiple columns. This is Volume II (and you can see Volume I here), and you can check out agents’ helpful and inspiring advice below—then leave a comment for your chance to win a free book.


“Stay true to yourself. Be aware of the conventions of your…

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