Learning from Others

Another writer posted a question the other day to a loop I follow about chapter lengths. It got me to thinking about how I’d learned where to break chapters from Elizabeth Daly, a fabulous mystery writer, who wrote back in the 40’s (you really have to love stories where everyone stops for civilized cocktails at five). And that started me thinking about other writers I’ve learned from.

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Writing Muscles

Would you like to write ten pages a day–or more? Not ten throw away pages. Ten productive pages. Or even twenty! At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, and I’d like to lose five pounds, a few years and win the Pulitzer, too.” But fast writing is not a gimmick–there are some tips than can make any writer more productive.

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Writer’s Reference Shelf

If you do a search on Amazon.com for “writing,” over 50,000 books show up. That’s a lot and doesn’t even include the other great reference a writer might use, such as books slang, foreign phrases, and grammar. So I thought I’d share what’s on my writer’s reference shelf, the books I’ve found the most useful and helpful with craft and the inevitable questions that crop up for the odd bits and pieces sometimes necessary to create characters.

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What’s My Motivation?

No wonder most folks think they suck at plotting—they do. Lately, I’ve read implausible plots, overly melodramatic plots only missing the villain twirling a mustache, plots so tangled there’s no way you can get the synopsis to five pages and have it make sense, and complex plots where the romance (and the character) are lost in the action. How do you fix this? It all goes back to character.

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Writing and Meditation

Everyone needs to find ways to recharge. For some folks it’s a trip to the beach. I’ve always found that a bit exhausting, however. Too many people in summer, too much sand, and too much trouble to find a parking space, or to pack up and fly to a resort and get home again. Vacations are often more stress than regular life—a great change of pace, but not really the recharge I need.

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