The Art of Misdirection: How To Keep Your Readers On Their Toes

As fiction writers, one of the most important tasks we have is to keep our readers wanting more. One way to do that is through the use of surprise. But what happens when the surprise becomes too predictable? We’ve all read novels where we could easily anticipate what was coming and found ourselves disappointed when…

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Let It Snow and Let It Go

“Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.” – Jo Harjo In my fiction writing, I examine the complexities of familial love, usually as it relates to the bond between mothers and daughters and how it can be fraught with challenges, maybe…

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Writing Contests – Good Idea or Waste of Money?

During a podcast interview last week, my guest remarked that, though she’d won two prestigious awards for her women’s fiction debut, she wasn’t sure she’d enter any competitions for her next book. Since most awards charge a fee of between $50-$150 per category, she questioned whether that was a wise use of money. And there’s…

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How to Get Your Money’s Worth from a Book Publicist

Why does one book achieve robust sales while another struggles to gain traction? While the ultimate test of a novel is what’s between the covers (the quality of the writing, the intricacies of the plot, the fascinating characters), there is no doubt that if a reader is not aware your book exists, they aren’t going…

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What Makes a Great Antagonist

Every novel needs conflict and the best way to do that is by creating a unique real-life antagonist, a flesh-and-blood character who stands in direct opposition to your protagonist and has to be conquered before your hero can achieve his goal. If you’re not sure how to create an antagonist that’s compelling and well-developed, here…

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Once the Party’s Over

I thought I’d prepared myself. I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. My novel, Truth and Other Lies, released into the world in early March. It was a labor of love for four long years. I lived through fifty agent rejections before signing with a small press which then proceeded to go bankrupt. I dusted myself off,…

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Seven Components of a Successful Novel Opening

Writing a compelling opening for your novel isn’t optional, it’s essential. That initial half-page of Chapter One is the first impression agents, publishers, and most important, readers get of your writing style and skill and often determines whether they’ll purchase your book or not. The good news is most people will give you a few…

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Stop Writing Nice Stories

You encounter your new next-door neighbor when you’re out walking the dog and they tell you how the movers still haven’t showed up, which meant they spent their first night in an unfamiliar house sleeping in their clothes on the floor, huddled together in their sleeping bags. Then the two of you talk about how…

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Three Ways Wordle is Like Writing

Have you caught the Wordle bug yet? Each morning The New York Times posts a new Wordle puzzle up on the internet and you have one day to solve it. The answer is a five-letter word and you get six tries. Each guess must be a valid five-letter word. After you type in your guess…

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Naming Your Baby

You finally type those final two words – THE END – and sit back in your chair, put your hands behind your head, and let out a deep sigh. The manuscript is done. You’ve revised the plot, you’ve deepened the characters, you’ve proofread each line and corrected the typos and the dangling participles. But believe…

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