How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)

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Melanie V. Logan

As a writer, you’re constantly honing your craft—reading widely, seeking feedback, and considering the constructive criticism of others. Part of this process is learning how to recognize your own writing strengths. But it’s not always easy to judge yourself objectively, so Writer’s Relief has put together five ways to recognize the areas in which you truly shine:

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From Slush Pile to #Editor’s Desk: Build Urgency From the Beginning

Ever hear the saying “you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression“?  This age-old advice applies to just about anything – books included.  So to hook the reader, the opening has to be attention-grabbing, and the momentum of interest should continue throughout the story.

In part two of Manuela Williams’ series From Slush Pile to Editor’s Desk, an editor’s perspective on building urgency is given.

Manuela Williams

While you can’t predict exactly what an editor will or will not like, there are a couple things you can do to ensure that your story has a fighting chance when you submit it to a literary magazine (and won’t cause anyone to scream and/or tear their hair out in frustration).

This is PART 2 of a multi-post series. For PART 1, click here.

Build Urgency From The Beginning

Lack of urgency is the number one reason why I turn down stories. The prose might be beautiful, but I can’t be sold on that alone. Your story needs to open with a bang and keep me hooked from sentence one.

If your story starts out with two characters discussing the weather, then I probably won’t read on (unless they’re talking about sharknados). Another pet peeve of mine: when a story starts off with a description of scenery. While this can…

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From Slush Pile to #Editor’s Desk: Submit A Story That Stands Out

In part one of Manuela Williams’ series From Slush Pile to Editor’s Desk, an editor provides helpful observations to make our stories unique.

Manuela Williams

Let’s say you’re the editor of a literary magazine. You have ten submissions to review before lunch, a looming press deadline and, on top of everything else, a full time job. What kind of stories do you want to read? The ones with typos, poor formatting, and a nonexistent plot? Or the ones with a compelling beginning, memorable characters, and prose that shines?

Simply put, editors are busy people. From managing the business side of their magazines to reviewing submissions, they have a lot on their plates. As a writer, your job is to make the editor forget about everything but your story.

While you can’t predict exactly what an editor will or will not like, there are a couple things you can do to ensure that your story has a fighting chance when you submit to a literary magazine (and won’t cause anyone to scream and/or tear their hair…

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Building Your #Writer’s #Brand – Sound Advice from E. Denise Billups

Writing can be easy…and hard.  The easy part is jotting down all the wonderful story ideas that float in our heads.  The harder part comes with editing and getting the finish product before the masses. Knowing what to do or how to do it can be frustrating.  But with great advice on brand building from fellow writers like E. Denise Billups, how can we ever fail.

E. Denise Billups, Writer

Indie authors are jack-of-all-trades. Not only are they writers, but also promoters and marketers of their finished product. This for most writers is difficult and for some an afterthought. Before you finish your book, you should have a well-defined marketing plan established and the first step is to create a mission statement.

In simple terms, a mission statement is short, concise sentence or paragraph describing your business and purpose (who you are, what you do, and your purpose or goals). This single statement is your marketing message, disseminating your brand, and the writer’s guide to reaching his/her ultimate goals.

Most people believe a mission statement is for major corporations or nonprofit organizations but for anyone building a brand whether you’re a painter, architect or writer, a mission statement is a crucial piece to crafting your image. For indie or traditionally published authors, a mission statement conveys your passion, your expertise, and…

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25 Reasons to Keep #Writing, No Matter What

Everyone needs motivation every now and then.  It can be a struggle juggling life and writing goals.  But there is hope!

Meg Dowell’s 25 Reasons to Keep Writing, No Matter What provides that needed reminder – like a writing coach on your screen.

Novelty Revisions

  1. No first draft is a good draft.
  2. There is no such thing as a perfect story.
  3. The only ways to write better are to write more, read more, and never quit.
  4. A day without writing is just a day without writing. A lifetime without it would just suck.
  5. If you don’t get this idea written down, you’re going to implode.
  6. It’s OK to be a little tired.
  7. Impostor Syndrome is real. It shouldn’t stop you from creating, though.
  8. People are mean. Keep writing anyway.
  9. People get jealous. Keep writing anyway.
  10. You’ve come so far. You still have so far to go.
  11. You have so much more to learn.
  12. You have so much to teach others.
  13. You have so many stories to tell.
  14. Someone out there thinks your words are amazing, even if you don’t.
  15. WRITING IS FUN!!!!….MOST OF THE TIME!
  16. You’re not you when you’re not writing.
  17. Writing puts into…

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Minor #Characters Don’t Believe They’re Minor

Developing the main character of a story can be interesting and challenging.  It gives the writer a chance to research and walk in the shoes of someone else whose life may be very different.  Along the way, a minor character may be introduced for the sake of progressing the story, and possibly to give depth to the shining star.  But should it stop there?

K.M. Pohlkamp gives us something to think on when writing about minor characters.

K.M. Pohlkamp - Author Website

As Constantin Stanislavski once stated, “There are no small actors, only small parts.” 

This adage transfers to writing as well. One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is to consider that a supporting/minor character may think the novel is actually about them.

This is certainly not the case for every side character, but the imagery of the thought helps me develop minor characters in an interesting way. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own motivations and baggage. The supporting character may believe their dialogue is the most important and that their actions drive the plot.

My advice: Allow your supporting characters to make bold choices and statements. Let them have their moment, and then move the spotlight.

However, maturing supporting characters is more challenging than the protagonist. The author simply has less words in which to develop their persona. Therefore, each appearance of the character needs to be considered to further the…

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How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)

As a writer, you’re constantly honing your craft—reading widely, seeking feedback, and considering the constructive criticism of others. Part of this process is learning how to recognize your own writing strengths. But it’s not always easy to judge yourself objectively, so Writer’s Relief has put together five ways to recognize the areas in which you truly shine: Continue reading “How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)”