Writing Coach

What is the Perfect Length for Short Stories?

short-story-lengthThe perfect length of a short story can be tricky to figure out. Make it too long and you exceed the reader’s attention span and nobody wants to publish it; make it too short and you have flash fiction on your hands.

Edgar Allen Poe described the proper length of a short story by saying it had to be something readable in a single sitting. I like that. It measures a short story by reading time, rather than page length or word count. But I think word count is the easiest way to measure story length.

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Self-Editing Checklist: 15 Innovative Ideas

SelfEditingChecklistIf you’re like me, you go through the same editing motions with every single piece of writing.

Why not change it up?

Consult these 15 innovative editing strategies and you’ll find a way to edit your book into greatness. 

By following these, you’ll strike the perfect balance between copy editing (grammar and spelling mistakes) and content editing (character and plot development). Though this article starts more copy-heavy and ends more content-heavy, I believe it’s important to integrate the two as much as possible even while focusing on one or the other. Not only does keeping an open mind foster creativity that will enhance your writing — it allows you to catch more of those pesky typos!

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The Magic and Mystery of Character Motivation

character motivationby Christian Sexton

There are three parts to a character: a personality, a backstory, and a motivation. These three things are what create your story. 

Most important of the three is the character’s desire, or motivation. A motivation has the potential to be the backbone of the entire story, create a character arc, or add a more complex dimension to your story. 

To create amazing character motivations, here are four rules. 

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Suicidal Writers and the Promise of Immortality

My BooksAre MoreImportantWhat would you do if a writer emailed you saying they were going to commit suicide?

It happened to Cynthia McCabe, a journalist at the Washington Post.

She was in bed one night, checking her email, and read an email from a complete stranger named Dennis Williams who said that he’d published one novel that no one had read, written 8 other unpublished books, and that he was committing suicide that very night.

Why? Because Williams had said all that he had to say. Because he considered his life work to be bound up in those 8 unpublished books and one published novel, and if no one was going to listen, he would commit suicide.

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“Turn a Negative Emotion Into a Positive”: Interview with Richard Cohen

Interview with Richard CohenWith his new Random House release, “How to Write Like Tolstoy: A Journey into the Minds of Our Greatest Writers,” author Richard Cohen shines a light on history’s greatest storytellers. This spectacularly written how-to is not your average road map to becoming a pro.

Throughout the pages of this delectable dish of writing advice, Cohen delves into the creative intellect of Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, and the like, serving techniques like character development, voice and point of view.

Based on outstanding research and a voice you can’t shake off, reading a book about writing has never before been this thrilling. Bookfox reached out to Cohen through email, asking a few burning questions.

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5 Ways to Write a Book Outline

d e v e l o p m e n TSome writers hate outlining while others think it’s a godsend.

Which kind of writer are you? And have you tried the other side?

Those who are against outlining usually say they enjoy the discovery process they experience as the story unfolds. They learn more about their story, their characters and their own selves as a result of experiencing the world they are creating moment by moment.

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A Crash Course on Writing Dialogue Tags

Dialogue TagsOne of the hardest things about writing is nailing dialogue, and many writers mess up dialogue tags.

How do you describe with mere words the complexity of a conversation? Unlike film, in which characters’ expressions and inflections can be clearly observed, in writing, the author has to paint these scenes without using a visual image.

High school English teachers and lazy writers will tell you to primp your dialogue using a slew of adverbs, excessive italics, or obscure verbs in place of “said.” But more experienced writers know that less is always more. You can write everything necessary to vividly depict a conversation using more delicate methods.

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10 Crowdfunding Platforms for Writers

CrowdfundingforWritersWhy not get people to support you while you write your book, instead of waiting until afterwards? 

This is called crowdsourcing or crowdfunding, depending on whether you are using the crowd for money or for support. 

But how does one go about crowdsourcing? There are many ways and the steps are simple.

First, determine what kind of “crowd” is right for you. Consider your readers, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, or any other group who is ready to help you flesh out new creative content. For instance, if you are looking to grasp your reader’s attention, you might consider reaching out to authors and/or bloggers in your genre who would offer you insight.

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Steamy yet Sophisticated: How to Write the Perfect Kissing Scene

Kissing SceneOne of the most difficult scenes to write is a kissing scene, or really any scene when when things get hot and heavy.

Writers worry about being too obscene (will my mother read this?), or even worse, not vulgar enough (no one wants to be labeled a prude). 

Humans are private creatures when it comes to lust, and illustrating an intimate scene can still make the most seasoned writer nervous.

The perfect kissing scene is found smack dab between these two adjectives in the title — steamy and sophisticated — as it is the balance of coy and crude that can develop into a beautiful scene.

In order to craft the perfect kissing scene, it is important to look back on the work of others in order to see what works. I’m going to give you two examples and explain why both of them work.

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How to Get Your Novel Published (And Spark Bidding Wars)

How to get publishedCongratulations! You’ve put together a wonderful collection of words, and now comes the scary part: can you get it published?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple 5-step plan to publication, but there are great guidelines that I’m going to reveal to you that will help you on your way.

Pick Your Sub-Genre and List “Comps”

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What Content Do You Want on Bookfox?

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20 Independent Publishers Who Won Literary Awards

The BestIndepdentPublishersMany writers, after having published a book with a big house, prefer to publish with independent publishers. You get more individualized attention with independent publishers, and you don’t get lost in a huge cog of a corporate machine.

In fact, there are actually many reasons as to why looking for an independent book publisher might be the better option. For example:

  • Potentially shorter process
  • More creative control
  • Higher Royalties

If that doesn’t convince you, here are 20 independent publishers who are very successful and won literary awards.

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23 Gold-Mine Grants for Writers

23 bestAs writers with a whopping-size project in our lap, sometimes we need to get the green before we can make the green. Only how? Let’s face it: writing may be feel absolutely liberating, but it’s not a money-making machine; most writers fulfill their dreams because they can’t think about doing anything else. The reality of filling up our piggy banks just slips into the back of our minds.

So when you find yourself weighed down by a time-consuming writing project, your passion for the written word alone might not get you off the couch. That’s when organizations throw you a lifesaver of a writing grant, so you can pursue your passion while also saving your budget.

Below are 23 great grants for writers to help you fund your writing project.

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Which Short Story Writer Are You? (A Quiz!)

 

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Don’t Write Every Day: The Benefits of Binge Writing

BingeWritinghow toby Garrett Calcaterra

1. I Don’t Write Every Day

The writing advice you most often hear is something to the effect of, “If you want to be a successful author, you need to write every day.”

I don’t.

I mean, I work as a freelance writer and editor, so yeah, I write something every day, but not my own creative work. Sometimes I’ll go as long as a couple of weeks, maybe even a month, without writing anything that’s my own.

2. When I Do Write, I Binge

The longest writing session I’ve ever had was 27 hours, but that was back when I was a good deal younger.

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14 Literary Agents Currently Seeking Clients

14 Agents (1)After years of grueling work, avoiding distractions, and breaking through writer’s block, you finished your novel. Now what?

Even though some jump straight to submitting it to publishers, for many writers, the next step is finding a literary agent. Literary agents help writers find publishers, as well as negotiate the deal and sales of the book.

But some agents who have been in the business for years get north of 10,000 queries a year, and only sign 1 or 2 clients. Those are terrible odds. You need to find a new agent who is the lookout for new writers, and this is exactly what this list gives you.

As of July 2016, all of these literary agents are seeking clients.

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20 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

It stares you down in the form of an empty word doc and a blinking cursor. Its existence is hotly debated. It is any storyteller’s biggest fear: the dreaded Writer’s Block.

However, have no fear! I’ve racked my brain for fail-safe strategies to conquer Writer’s Block, tactics that have put me back on track and saved my writing journey from becoming a dead-end. Take a look below.

high-grass-1504284_960_7201. Take A Walk

Not only does this get your legs moving and your lungs breathing in crisp air, but also taking walks can provide inspiration—you just need to know where to look. From mysterious initials carved into a tree trunk to a trail of candy wrappers on the sidewalk, you never know what you will find on the simplest walk.

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