Writing tips
To maintain focus, revere your writing time
On April 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

I once took a screenwriting class, and in our first session the professor emphasized how important it is to make our writing time “holy.” When he said that, I found myself nodding in agreement. I thought of how easily I get distracted from my own writing because I don’t place enough value on the time […]

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How to build a character arc
On February 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

A character arc is the way a character changes or grows throughout the course of a story. The change can be physical or emotional, and it doesn’t have to be major, but you want your main characters, especially your protagonist, to experience some sort of transformation along their journey. At the beginning of your story, […]

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Shake things up to break writer’s block
On February 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Writer’s block is the worst. The worst! When it strikes and I find myself sitting at my desk, staring at nothing, I often feel like my white laptop screen is snickering at me and sending me horrible thoughts. You suck, Maria! Who are you to think you can be a writer? Why don’t you just […]

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Make it clear who is talking, but not too clear
On December 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

I recently read a novel that was heavy on dialogue without a ton of attribution (e.g. adding “she said”), which I like, because I don’t think a conversation needs that after every single sentence. However, the author of this book had a habit of going two or even three pages into a conversation without any attribution of […]

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Want to get some writing done? Disconnect!
On August 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

When I’m working on a book, or any writing project, I find that one of the most difficult things about the process—second only to coming up with the idea—is getting myself to sit at my desk and stay focused.  If I let myself stop and check my email, browse Facebook, etc., it’s amazing how quickly what […]

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Be wary of tangents that go nowhere
On June 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

When I was writing my first novel, I was so excited to see my own words on the page that I ended up with several scenes that didn’t have much at all to do with the main plot. After I signed with an agent she pointed out this tendency to wander and had me cut […]

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Writing tip: Break up long paragraphs
On June 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

 I once received an email from a new subscriber to my newsletter. The message was quite long and didn’t contain a single paragraph break—not one. I found myself confused as I read because all the various points he was making began to blur together into an enormous block of text. (He also didn’t capitalize any […]

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What inspires you to write?
On April 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

When people find out I’m an author, one of the questions they often ask me is, What inspires you to write? It’s an interesting question, and I think every author would answer it differently. I find myself most inspired to write when I’m already writing. That’s because for me, getting myself in a position to […]

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Writing tip: Create a “to include at some point” document
On September 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Each time I go through the process of writing a book, I find that ideas of things to include frequently pop into my head but not always at the right time. For example, I’ll be out to dinner with a friend, and she will say something funny that I might like to use in my […]

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Writing tip: Start before you’re ready
On September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

I’ll never forget when my older sister’s childhood friend Julie had her first child. She was in her early 30s at the time, and she said that even though she and her husband didn’t think they were ready for the responsibility of being parents, they decided to go ahead and do it because they realized […]

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