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Vary Sentence Structure

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Saturday November 10, 2018

This past week I edited a novel written in a way meant to emulate the method used by a handful of successful mystery writers.

"He took the stairs down. He walked into the kitchen. He stood at the refrigerator. He got out a pitcher of cold water."

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5 helpful books for National Novel Writing Month

syracuse.com – Wednesday November 7, 2018

If you've ever wanted to write a book, this is the month to begin! November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo, as it is often referred to, is an artistic writing project online that occurs every November. People who participate in this write a 50,000 word manuscript during the month.

Take part in this project by visiting nanowrimo.org and learn more about it by checking out books from your local library or by logging on to www.onlib.org.

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How to Write Your First Book

inc.com – Thursday November 1, 2018

Here's a secret: Writing books never gets easier. I've written 23 of them, some best-sellers, some duds, and each one is as tough to complete writing as the previous one. You should take some comfort in this, as it won't get any harder than it is now.

If you have a book to get out of your system, then you have the examples of millions before who have succeeded. Here are some high-level suggestions.

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We're winning the war on Word, fellow writers. Enjoy the freedom

theguardian.com – Sunday October 28, 2018

In a grim political season, there are signs that journalists are successfully challenging at least one odious tyrant.

In Slate, Rachel Withers has reported that in newsrooms throughout the United States, Microsoft Word is finally giving way to other programs, including Google Docs.

Some of the journalists Withers interviewed mentioned costs – Word may have become cheaper but in straitened modern newsrooms it’s hard to compete with free.

Others mentioned Google’s superiority as a platform for collaborative work. This is true, and it hints at a broader truth – Word is no longer fit for the purposes that many writers and editors need it to fulfil.

Word was launched in 1983. Then it was quite a simple program, running in DOS, and it emerged into a rich ecology of programs designed for writing.

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How Writers Map Their Imaginary Worlds

atlasobscura.com – Tuesday October 23, 2018

One of life’s great treats, for a lover of books (especially fantasy books), is to open a cover to find a map secreted inside and filled with the details of a land about to be discovered. A writer’s map hints at a fully imagined world, and at the beginning of a book, it’s a promise. In the middle of a book, it’s a touchstone and a guide. And at the end, it’s a reminder of all the places the story has taken you.

A new book, The Writer’s Map, contains dozens of the magical maps writers have drawn or that have been made by others to illustrate the places they’ve created. “All maps are products of human imagination,” writes Huw Lewis-Jones, the book’s editor. “For some writers making a map is absolutely central to the craft of shaping and telling their tale.”

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How to Find the Perfect Time to Write

lifehacker.com – Tuesday October 23, 2018

If you dream of becoming a writer, you have to eventually sit down and write. Whether you’re doing National Novel Writing Month in November, or you dream of being a writer “someday,” the first inescapable step is making the time to do it. Here’s a 15-minute exercise toward that end that you can do today.

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How to write a novel by author & commissioning editor Phoebe Morgan

marieclaire.co.uk – Tuesday October 16, 2018

In the second instalment of our Writers Bloc series, we get the inside scoop on how to write a novel from commissioning editor and author, Phoebe Morgan

A commissioning editor by day and novelist by night, Phoebe Morgan is the author of The Doll House, published this month, and The Girl Next Door which is released in February 2019, both psychological thrillers. She is 28, and lives in Clapton, East London, with her boyfriend.

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Why can’t life begin after 40 for a writer?

irishtimes.com – Friday October 12, 2018

Last year, at a writing festival in rural Ireland about 60 attendees sat listening to presentations from publishers and agents. It was the kind of segment that has been popular on the writing festival circuit for quite a while now. The attendees hear a lot of familiar advice from people in the industry, both domestic and overseas. And there are occasional insights into the metamorphic and precarious state of the publishing industry.

At this particular event, there was a lot of advice about presentation, synopses and introduction letters, how authors should market themselves and their books, and the common mistakes made by aspiring novelists.

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How Do You Write A Short Story? 11 Easy Tips For Writing Your First One

bustle.com – Wednesday October 3, 2018

Today's the day. It's happening. You've decided to write your first short story. Maybe this story idea has been kicking around your head for the last 10 years, or maybe you just googled a list of writing prompts and want to give one a whirl. Perhaps you're an accomplished essayist looking to try fiction on for size, or it's possible that you've never written anything in your life outside of school assignments and Instagram captions. Whatever your level of writing expertise, you are perfectly qualified to write a short story. All you strictly need is willpower, paper, and a large cup of coffee. But here are a few extra tips to get you started, because staring at that empty page is the absolute hardest part.

First things first, though: what exactly is a short story? Typically, a short story is defined as a work of fiction between 1,500 and 5,000 words (although 5,000 is a bit long for some publications). Under 1,500 words is considered flash fiction, and under 350 words is sometimes called micro fiction. You don't have to start with a specific word count in mind, but make your peace with the fact that you probably won't have time for those twenty pages of exposition up top. If you want to write a true short story, then here are some suggestions for nailing both the "short" and the "story" aspects:

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Why we need an award for writers who start later in life

theguardian.com – Wednesday October 3, 2018

Sitting in a coffee shop just around the corner from the publishers, Canongate, of which Christopher Bland had once been chair, members of Christopher’s family and of the Royal Society of Literature were brainstorming a title for the new prize to be announced in his name. “Late writers” risked conjuring up the dead, while “older writers” raised the question of what, in an industry that is often obsessed with youth, would be considered old: Google this query and you will find writers over 30 bemoaning the fact that they will soon be over the hill.

In the end we opted for a prize in Christopher’s name, to be awarded to a first novel or work of non-fiction published when the winner is 50 or older. Not before, however, we had worried about the quality of future entrants: what kind of writer, we wondered, apart from Christopher, who published two novels while in his 70s, would be eligible for such a prize?

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