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Win the character name game in style: 11 ways to dream up an original, effective name. Pt. 2

Think of super names for your characters and win the race on characterization at the starter’s gate. Your hero’s essential traits will strike readers before a single word is uttered. Let’s get right to the next three tactics to sharpen up your characters through smart naming: …

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Win the name game in style: eleven smart ways to dream up original, effective character names.

Have great names for your characters, and you get a head start on characterization from the firing of the starter’s gun. Your protagonists’ core characteristics will hit people before the first word or action of your stories, before …

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8 way to make your story stand out

Editors and agents see enough manuscripts in a day to make their heads spin, most of them with the same mistakes. If you want to forestall the “Not again!” reaction, follow these 8 steps to a more competitive story. 1. Make sure you base your story on some kind of action that propels it forward. …

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Avoid the info-dump debacle

Sometimes a writer needs to convey something that happened before the starting point of the story, and can find no other way than to have the narrator throw it on us in one lump that gets stuck in our throats. Readers may skim through it, or lay the story aside, as the main action of the work stops until the dump ends…

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The rules of writing

What are the rules of writing? Are there rules? Are rules made to be broken? Every writer lists the rules differently. William Faulkner said to get the character in your mind. Once he is in your mind…

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Can I start a sentence with a conjunction?

People ask me all the time about the no-nos of grammar, and do they fall under black, white, or some shade of gray?
The issue of placing a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence causes much confusion. Can we do it?

All style guidebooks agree…

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Avoid advice from non-writer friends

You’ve got that idea for a novel. It bubbles inside you. Or you make that big decision: You’re “going to be” a writer. Trembling with exhilaration, you dial up your normal confidante. What a blast to share the news, you think, and how great to have the support of someone who loves you.
Now, just you wait a minute, there. You’ll find plenty of evidence…

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Give your character that unique voice by letting her speak from the heart

“Should every character have such a distinctive voice that if one line is taken out of context, the reader will immediately know who said it?” Indeed. But how to achieve this? How should I make each character’s voice stand apart? The fellow scribe who sent me this question online struggled to create a different lingo for each of her characters…

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