Plot Holes Take the Bite Out of Your Story!

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Originally posted on Sound Bites with TyCobbsTeeth:

Tweet, Tweet — Twiddle, Twiddle, here comes another plot with a hole in the middle.

If you fail to explain how A connects to B, or state something that doesn’t make sense (without explanation), then you have left a plot hole.

You want your readers to get swept away in your story and be completely immersed. A plot hole can destroy that experience. If the reader drops out of the ride, in order to examine something that doesn’t make sense, you’ve lost them.

You may be too close to the story to see the holes. As you read through it, those gaps may be appear bridged, since the story did come from your head. The answers to those questions are in your noggin, so it doesn’t seem off. Have someone else read through your book, to make sure you didn’t leave any plot holes.

Remember, the reader badly wants to…

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the Movie ‘Tangled’: Mother Does Not Know Best

Originally posted on The Invisible Scar:

Editor’s Note: Upon reading this post, some readers may say, “Oh, ‘Tangled‘ is just a movie!” Indeed, “Tangled” is a movie, but not just one. Stories, whether in books or movies or television programs, teach us about ourselves, about what we value, about what we love, about what we hate. No “real-life Rapunzel” or “real-life Mother Gothel” may have existed, but for the myriad daughters with NPD mothers, the story itself is not too unlike their own stories.

* * *

Quick, name the cruelest Disney villain… Did you name Mother Gothel? As a parental figure with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), Mother Gothel rates high on the list for her twisted, abusive and relentless treatment of her “adopted” daughter, Rapunzel.

I recently re-watched “Tangled” and took note of the destructive NPD characteristics demonstrated by Mother Gothel. (Spoilers abound from this point on.)

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Showing vs. Telling

Originally posted on A Writer's Path:

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If there was one piece of writing advice I disliked most as a new writer, it certainly was “Show, don’t tell.” Initially, I had no idea what it meant. Self-help writing blogs often toss this phrase around without examples. I even had a critique done on my writing once, and the person critiquing said this phrase several times but offered no help on what showing actually meant.

Finally, I stumbled upon a quote that changed my outlook on writing forever.

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Dialogue tips: the fastest way to improve any manuscript

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Originally posted on onewildword:

In this 30-minute video below, author Joanna Penn interviews author and writing teacher James Scott Bell about his book on dialogue, “How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript.”

Bell gives some great tips to make your dialogue sing and catch the eye of an agent, publisher and reader:

  1. Characters shouldn’t be feeding each other information they already know. Example: Brother to sister: “Look sis, our mom, Linda who is a school teacher is home.”
  2. Don’t hide exposition or backstory in dialogue. Readers are savvy, will pick up on it, and won’t be happy. Bell says if you must convey the information, try turning the exchange into a confrontation. More information tends to be exchanged when people are confrontational.
  3. How do you differentiate dialogue between characters? Bell suggests keeping a voice journal for each main character. For more on this, see my earlier post, “Use a…

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Ownership

Originally posted on Adventures in Juggling:

Working this week on me being the sole proprietor of my thoughts, my memories, my words, my opinions with my therapist has been hard. A lifetime of being told these are not mine, not real, not true, not worthy of being shared takes it toll. It’s one of the reason why I stopped writing decades ago, much to the disappointment of a high school writing teacher who just recently reconnected via Facebook upon discovering that after high school I stopped writing altogether. I did stop, until I started blogging more than ten years ago. First in secret. Then with a faceless audience who seemed to like the words and thoughts I put out there. Then it grew and grew as did the audience some who know me very well and some who like to imagine that they know me even better than I know me and now, well sometimes it’s…

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Are You Ready to Pitch Your Manuscript?

Originally posted on Cindy Fazzi:

“Meteor Sprite” by Nina Fazzi. Copyright © 2014 by Nina Fazzi. All Rights Reserved.

“Meteor Sprite” by Nina Fazzi. Copyright © 2014 by Nina Fazzi. All Rights Reserved.

If your answer is yes, then get ready for #PitchMAS, an online pitch fest that gives you a chance to present your work directly to participating agents and editors.

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The Writing Process

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Originally posted on Andy Mckendry:

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A story doesn’t just fall into your lap. Instead it comes to you in stages and you wrestle with it. It’s something that you love, that means a lot to you but you can end up hating it. You need to understand the creative process before you start writing. That way you can rest assured that you’re not the first writer to go through any storytelling pangs.

It’s all about perspective, about practice, and about relaxing. Storytelling can be an art form but it’s something that we all do on a daily basis too. Find your beginning, your middle, and your end and you’ll likely find that the story takes shape almost by itself.

Let’s look at the creative process then and define the stages a little more clearly.

A fleeting thought

We’ve all had that moment. The one where we think, “That would make a great story.” Often we…

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Literary Agent 101: Behind the Scenes

Originally posted on CJC Writing101:

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It goes without saying: In order for an author to publish their work majorly (meaning to the Big House Publishers), one must acquire a literary agent.

But what does a literary agent actually do?

Well, a few things (and hopefully this will shed some light about this whole process):

Literary agents provide that gap between author and editor.

The main reason authors have literary agents is so that your work can get to editors in the Big Houses who will then read it. Editors rely on agents to send them a manuscript submission rather than the authors themselves. A long time ago, authors could send unsolicited, unagented work to publishing houses. Nowadays, this method is starting to fade away because publishers realize how disorganized this can become: manuscripts and submissions get lost in the mail, organizing and shoveling all that mail gets tedious, and more than most of the time, authors…

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8 Ways Joining a Writers’ Group Can Improve Your Craft (Without Showing Anyone Your Manuscript)

Originally posted on That Blinking Cursor:

Showing what you’ve written can be a daunting experience. I still feel a twinge of doubt every time I click publish on a new post or show someone a new novel passage. We put our hearts and souls into our writing and when the time comes to send it out to the world like a child on their first day of school, we’re tempted to feel protective and reluctant, not to mention fearful of what others will think.

We can all learn from each other, the way we act, think, write, and there are many ways that joining and participating in a writers group can help improve your writing craft. I have listed eight, and none of these things require you to show your manuscript to anyone… until you’re ready!

1. You Meet People. Writers, as a general bunch, are fairly quirky people. We have to be to actually enjoy…

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