What gets more attention? Description or action?

By Shelley Widhalm

If you want to keep readers turning pages, the key is balancing description with action. Readers get bored with too much description, and they get overwhelmed with all action and no breaks.

Action in a novel or short story keeps the pace moving at a rapid clip, while description can slow the movement within a scene. Description is what anchors a story and adds layers of meaning. (See https://wac.colostate.edu/resources/writing/guides/detail/

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Author Central

By Brian Kaufman

The most frustrating part of being a published author has to be marketing. Marketing your books takes two valuable resources (time and money) and offers no guarantees. Worse, for most authors, promotional efforts yield little in the way of results.

If you’re not a published author, you might think, Woe is you. I’d take that problem in a heartbeat. What you should consider is, when my work-in-progress publishes, how will I promote it? 

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Proper Care And Feeding of Your Inner Troll

By David E. Sharp

The writing journey is a hazardous one, full of setbacks and self-doubt. I remember asking myself why I thought I had a story to tell. I felt like a fraud. The sight of my manuscript in progress would put me into a tailspin of criticism and despair. I wondered if Amazon would deliver sackcloth and ashes to help me wallow. The memories are vivid. On the one hand, it feels ages ago. On the other—more literal—hand, it was last Thursday.






You need no introduction to your inner critic if you are a writer. It follows you around an inner voice, shaming you for your mistakes, pointing out all your failures, and scrutinizing your every decision. The inner critic can have a detrimental effect on your writing life. It lays the foundation for imposter syndrome. Inner critics are the bane of first drafts, harping on all their infantile flaws before they can grow into anything. They are unyielding perfectionists, draconian masters, and lousy roommates. But are they all wrong?

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Spur Your Writing

By Shelley Widhalm

As a freelance writer and former journalist, I’ve learned to live by deadlines.

And as an anti-procrastinator, I’ve made it my habit to turn in assignments before the due date because facing a ticking clock stresses me out. 

But when it comes to writing novels and not having a publisher demanding a first or final draft, deadlines sometimes become dead . . . on arrival.


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Nothing Up My Sleeve

By Brian Kaufman

Fantasy fiction employs magic—influencing events through supernatural means. The concept of magic dates back to the dawn of civilization. In Mesopotamia, ritual practices were developed to affect reality. Defensive magic was the accepted protection from demons and ghosts. Rites were used to purify a person’s sins. Another branch of magic involved love spells.



Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.




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Deadlines Made Me A Better Writer

By Katie Lewis

School is back in session, the spell of Pumpkin Spice Latte is in the air, and many of us are gearing up for NaNoWriMo. As someone who thrives off of writing deadlines, the key is to plan ahead. Back in March, I talked about how I set myself a weekday writing goal. Now let me walk you through how to prepare for adhering to a daily word count schedule.

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The Changing Seasons

By David E. Sharp

Another summer draws to a close. Soon the air will become crisp, leaves will get crunchy, and every food on the planet will be pumpkin flavored. For me, this marks the beginning of New Manuscript Season. It’s that magical time of the year when I will challenge myself to write a novel-length work.



Proving to all my friends and family: Yes, I am still quite unhinged, and I have written the book on it.



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NaNoWriMo: The Speed Writing Challenge

By Shelley Widhalm




Every fall, do you start thinking about NaNoWriMo’s built-in goal and deadline as a Yea or a Nay?

Like me, maybe you’re a veteran author who’s done it before, or possibly committing to writing 50,000 words during November is new to you. Divided up to a daily count, it is 1,667 words. A big commitment. Still, it also has many advantages as you try to complete the rough draft of a novel, memoir, or another project.

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ADVENTURES IN NaNoWriMo LAND

By Brian Kaufman

In 1999, freelance writer Chris Baty started National Novel Writing Month, gathering 21 San Francisco participants to attempt a singular goal—to write a novel in one month. Having realized the limitations of a July event, Baty moved the second year’s festivities to November to “take advantage of the miserable weather.” The second go-around gathered 140 participants, 29 of whom completed a novel. 



It’s not about the fancy fix.


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