Create a Strategic First Impression of your Characters

What’s your first impression of Jackson and Elliott, two characters in a novel? Jackson: intelligent—industrious—impulsive—critical—stubborn—envious Elliott: envious—stubborn—critical—impulsive—industrious—intelligent If you are like most of us, humans and readers, your first impression of Jackson was more favorable than that of Elliott. Even … More

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Perhaps the world’s best FREE writers online course

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The free courses are for both poets and fiction writers. The resident and visiting faculty are deeply involved in Iowa University’s International Writing Program. I participated in the 2014 How Writers Write Fiction course along with thousands of enrollees. Eight … More

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Wake-up Sex and Other Hacks to Improve Your Life and Creative Writing Output

SexArtNo joke. This concept is right out of the latest issue of Psychology Today, the February, 2015, issue. I recommend the piece to writers of both fiction and nonfiction. It’s titled “Building the Perfect Day,” and the author, Holly Pevzner, promises to help you discover how to set up a daily routine, hour by hour, to get the most productivity and creativity out of yourself. Continue reading

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217 Weird Writing Tricks I Learned at the Iowa University Online Fiction Course

Read a sample of Prison of the Soul as a Kindle book by clicking the link at right

Read a sample of Prison of the Soul as a Kindle book by clicking the link at right

That right there in the headline is the first thing I learnedQuit trying to cram so much into so little space. A piece of writing that tries to teach 217 things isn’t a blog post, it’s a book — make that an encyclopedia. Likewise, an exercise of only 400 words can’t be filled with every detail and nuance of a novel in excess of 100,000 words. And no weird tricks, if you please. I give you . . . Continue reading

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Voice-Writing — It’s Not Just about the Typing (Part 2 in a series)

Bike on Blue wll PNGIn the opener to this series, I promised to talk about Early Adopters and Power Users of voice-to-text software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking. And I made a big deal over “It’s not just about the typing.”

So, if not the typing, what is it about? Answer: Voice-to-text is a technology that could boost you to new levels of freedom, productivity and creativity in your writing, your work, and your never-ending quest for peak performance.

Bottom Line of this Blog Post:

If you’re serious about voice-writing with voice-to-text software and would like to get the ideal package, buy and use Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Premium Edition, with a compatible digital voice recorder and accessories. Those three reasons again:

Freedom – Productivity – Creativity  Continue reading

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Take a Run at Voice-To-Text Technology like Dragon NaturallySpeaking (First in a series)

I’m voice-writing this blog post while walking past the graveyard, not whistling, but talking to a microphone clipped to my jacket, a digital voice recorder in my pocket. The four miles will go by in a flash, and when I get home, I’ll plug the recorder DragonLOGOinto my PC, download the MP3 file and walk away while my software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Premium Edition, converts my spoken words into text files — the very word you’re reading now.

Okay, I admit, I didn’t write the polished version of this post while plodding across the prairie landscape of Montana. I spent some time voice-editing at the computer, too, adding and deleting words, moving around the text with little reliance on keyboard and mouse, mainly using voice commands. Continue reading

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Bracketing Tool for Finding Creative Words

Word Cloud in green is from this post

This is a little exercise from The Writer’s Little Helper to demonstrate how you can stimulate your own genius, hack into your own head, if you will. If I ask you to give me a dozen possible responses to filling in the blank in the phrase, “Thin as a __________,” you’ll do fine for the first two or three responses, thin as a dime, thin as a toothpick, thin as a broom handle. Like that. Try it and see how you do. Continue reading

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Let’s explore creativity together, shall we?

I’ve been out of blog-touch for far too long. The career as writer, editor, photographer and all-round flunky at a magazine that has been an utter passion for me became a too-demanding mistress. But now I have retired from her to catch up on your world, the world of writing. With this whole new digital publishing locomotive barreling down the tracks, I feel like one of those guys running alongside an empty boxcar. But I’m going to make the leap. Continue reading

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How-to writers should practice what they preach

How-to writers should practice what they preach…I’m talking about me.

I don’t want readers of YCWAN to think that I have a set of writing rules and practices that they should live by, while I live by another. That’s for parents of young children. And politicians. So, to demo how I work, I’m going to show you the thought process I’m now using to revise the next novel that I submit. I’m going to show you how I revised the opening segment of my Opener. Continue reading

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Unleash creativity using Genius On Demand

Remember when you went from handwriting your manuscripts to composing them at the keyboard?

It’s the same kind of leap to go from keyboarding to talking to a digital audio recorder or to your computer. Lots of factors involved, but the thing that slows you down most is watching the screen – as I am now, while dictating this – to make sure no mis-recognitions get in there. Continue reading

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Interview with author Janet Skeslien Charles

My interview with author Janet Skeslien Charles, whose novel is mentioned in YCWAN Continue reading

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Advanced Participation Technique

You can learn a lot from reading books that don’t target writers. One of the best is The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. I love the subtitle: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. It’s by Carmine Gallo a columnist at BusinessWeek.com. From McGraw-Hill, 2010. Continue reading

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Is Digital Publishing for You? Me? Who?

The Kindle and the Kindle app on my iPad seem to be telling us something. We know it can be done. But is it only for people who already have a name? How in the heck can you market your digital book to get through the clutter of every dang fool who can paste up 200,000 words and call it a book? It’s a topic I’m exploring.

Love to hear ideas. Continue reading

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Remember writing doesn’t love you.

Great site for you to visit and see rules for writing, like that one, from Al Kennedy, whose bio says: Al Kennedy is a novelist. Continue reading

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Writing Secrets

The secret to writing that sells

What is great writing? In my book, any writing that makes money for you is great writing. That’s not as glib as it sounds. “Wow, look at the size of this check,” means one thing. But. Beyond that literal sense, if your writing makes money for you, it also means an editor liked your writing well enough to pay for it. Readers, too, plunked down some cash. Continue reading

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