What I Wish I'd Known

Showing Off

Most of us like it when people are impressed by us. Whether it’s from a feat of strength, dexterity, or mental acuity, it feels good when people respond with cheers, ooo’s, and aaah’s. For writers, we impress people with polysyllabic words, obscure knowledge, and robust scenes. But sometimes, our drive to be impressive can pull a reader from the story to think, “You wrote this scene just so you could use ‘pulchritude’, didn’t you?” But…

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What I Wish I'd Known

You’re Going To Fail And That’s Okay

We all fail. It comes as naturally to us as thought and has always been our strongest learning tool. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, sometimes we simply can’t move on from that failure. Sometimes it’s the failure itself, having put your heart on a string. Sometimes its the article of rejection, i.e., the manuscript itself. Whatever the form of failure, oftentimes it can turn into a heavy anchor. It’s not personal. I don’t know…

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What I Wish I'd Known

Should I Prologue?

A quick search through the internet will give you the same basic responses: yes/no/depends on the story. Obviously only the last one is right since there have been a plethora of prologued publications. But the simple response—does the story need it/can it be told without it?—seems too arbitrary for me, like some sort of political talking point. Caveat: this is primarily aimed at initial prologues, i.e., in a series. Prologues often occur in stories that…

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What I Wish I'd Known

Your First Novel Will Probably Suck

It’s true. But think about most of the first things that you’ve attempted in your life that involved creativity or skill. Think about the first picture you drew, photo you took, essay you wrote… Mine firsts were all crap. Cute, I’ll admit, earning many “aw’s” and chest-clutching mommy smiles as she showed my hand-painted hand-turkey to her friends, but none of those grammar school masterpieces made it into a museum. And I’m okay with that.…

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What I Wish I'd Known

Creating Interesting Characters

Create interesting characters with relatable conflicts. That’s the basic advice I’ve heard or read from most podcasts and websites. It seems simple enough. So when I created a character for my first book and gave him all the qualities for an interesting character (citizen of the empire, poor son of a baker, can use magic, awakens in a slave-village and helps start a revolution to overthrow the empire he once loved) I was surprised that…

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What I Wish I'd Known

Website/Blog Niches

As I was writing a different blog, trying to find inspiration…I found it! I’d been listening to an archived podcast of The Creative Penn (one of the three podcasts I subscribe to, including Writing Excuses and I Should Be Writing) and decided to follow a successful writing blogger’s advice—create your niche. So, I opened my blog and asked myself, “What does it mean to create your niche?”, immediately followed by, “One more thing I wish…

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