Archive | Writers Toolbox

Working On Multiple Projects

I’ve never been the kind of writer who writes best with multiple projects cooking at once. Some of my friends are at their happiest and most productive when juggling at least two different stories simultaneously, but I prefer to work on only one book at a time. Once I get that book to the end of whatever stage it’s at, whether it’s drafting, big-picture revisions, or line edits, and I’m waiting on feedback, that’s when I […]

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A New Method for Antagonists

I’ve had the pleasure over the past few summers to teach at Duke Young Writers’ Camp. One of my favorite courses was a Dark Fiction class for middle grade students. It was an opportunity to walk young writers through fiction that really pushes the boundaries. Unsurprisingly, many of my young writers go a little too far. One infamous story featured a villainous assassin targeting a list of grandmothers. It was a great opportunity to talk […]

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“Fun” With Spreadsheets: Tracking Your Writing Progress!

This is obviously a generalization, but I’ve noticed that quite a few of us writer-minded folk are not big fans of math and numbers. Building vast imaginary empires? Doable. Engineering a heist involving spaceships and intergalactic monsters? We got this. Figuring out that perfect alchemy of a hate-to-love relationship between characters? No problem. Looking at our royalty statements, i.e. twelve pages scattered with numbers, decimals, and percentages? *screeching horror violins from Psycho* (In all seriousness, […]

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Plotters, Pantsers, and Bill Murray

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are two types of writers— plotters and pantsers— and all writers love to talk about which ones they are. It’s a writing conversation starter. A softball. Are you plotter or a pantser? Nobody is wholly one or wholly the other, but the lines are drawn somewhere between— do you largely create outlines and stick to them? and do you largely discover the plot as you go along, preferring […]

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The Querying Process Tool Kit

I’ve been watching a lot of Bob the Builder. My son loves anything with wheels. I’m a fan of British accents. The show works for both of us. One thing the show does very well is that it explains the importance of having the right tools for the job you’re doing. It’s common sense, but I still love that they explain the role each machine plays in completing the larger task. Querying can be that […]

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