Posts tagged Guest Teaching Post
Anatomy of a Romantic Comedy: Seven Essential Story Beats

They’ve hit the scene in an incredible way, from the slew of Netflix films to the rise in rom-com fiction (sometimes called “chick lit”) in both Adult and YA. But rom-coms never really went away. They simply faded for a time, with new books and films releasing at a slower pace — a great example of what can happen in the ever-shifting market.

With rom-coms once more on the rise, I’d like to break down the anatomy of the genre using the structure outlined in Billy Mernitt’s Writing the Romantic Comedy. (Note: Buy this book. Seriously. It’s a sharp tool in your writing arsenal. Mernitt explains each of his seven story beats with brilliant examples from existing rom-coms. It’s a must-read.)

In The Anatomy of a Romantic Comedy, Mernitt takes the classic three-act structure (e.g. Conflict, Crisis, Resolution) and renames each point to set them into a rom-com frame: Meet, Lose, Get.

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The Secret to Crafting Believable Characters

Readers today want to get deep into our characters rather than being told what they are feeling. Which means our characters must feel, react, emote, and process in natural, believable ways. Deep POV has become the norm across genres.

“Show, don’t tell” is the golden rule of fiction. But it’s easier said than done. If we show too much, we risk boring our readers (and ourselves) or overwriting. If we show too little, we risk failing to adequately reveal the character’s emotions and, hence, fail to evoke any emotional response in our readers. 

As we balance narrative, backstory, dialogue, action, and direct thoughts, we have to be mindful of the overarching purpose of all of it: to artfully show the character’s emotional state through her mind-set, thoughts, behavior, dialogue, and body language. It is not easy to do well. The saying “Easy reading is hard writing” is a truth seasoned authors know well.

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The Power in Finding Your Writing Team

In the aftermath of the USWNT’s World Cup victory, some of Ashlyn Harris’s Instagram stories showcased the team’s celebrations in the locker room. In them, champagne is spilled, trophies are kissed, players show off ridiculous dance moves and laugh at each other. But there’s one video among this bunch that stands out. And no, it isn’t the twerking video. It’s the one with Megan Rapinoe entering the locker room with the caption, “When you’ve been waiting for pinoe to be done with press conferences.” 

It’s clear as Rapinoe arrives that this locker room is the one place in the world she most wants to be and that the entire team wants her there, too. And it struck me as appropriate—humane, even—that the team gets to celebrate without the media watching. That after so many hours in the spotlight on the world stage, with such pressure and focus, they get to unwind with each other. They get to let down their guard—their public selves—and share their joy with the only people who fully understand it. 

There’s a lesson here for writers.


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How Introverts Can Thrive in The Online Writing Community

The online writing community can provide a world of support and encouragement in your writing journey.

But socializing and networking with fellow writers can be a daunting task, even for chatty extroverts. As a writer who leans more toward introversion, I’ve had to learn how to engage in the online writing community in a way that is comfortable to me — but that also but pushes me out of my comfort zone in a healthy way.

Today, I’d love to share with you, my fellow introverted writers, how I’ve made the most of engaging online…

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Are You At The Helm Of Your Writing Success?


When you decide to be an author, you will encounter strangers, people you consider friends, and even family who will — with the best intentions — gasp, “you should focus on your kids” or “that ship has sailed.” I’m here to tell you that ship, your ship, is docked in the harbor. It only needs three things to get you to the write destination: a captain, a fierce wind, and a push.

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Seven Tips for Writers Living With Depression

There are so many things in a writer’s life that can make finishing a novel difficult. For writers living with depression, this is especially true.

Depression can make your focus cloudy, make you feel apathetic toward things you care about, make it feel impossible to get out of bed, and altogether make your writing aspirations seem like pipe dreams. Even if writing is something you enjoy, depression can make it a miserable task, which can whittle away at your desire to do it at all. I should know. I’ve lived with depression since I was eight years old and was eventually diagnosed at fourteen.

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How New Writers Can Conquer Six Common Creative Struggles

Beginning your journey as a writer is challenging.

We’ve all faced obstacles in our writing lives — whether it’s rejection, self-doubt, criticism, or something else. We’ve all thought, “What if my novel just isn’t good enough?”. When we read great books with complex characters and fantastic plot arcs — books so engrossing we can’t put them down — we compare our novels to those amazing books. “Why would someone read my story when that author’s book is so much better?”

But that’s the thing. If you look at those authors, they’ve been writing for what — ten years? Now they have a publishing contract, an editor, beta readers, and others to support them in their work. But when they first started writing, they had the same doubts and fears. They all faced struggle. Today, let’s tackle those doubts, fears and struggles head on.

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How To Write Flash Fiction (and why you should!)

What is flash fiction, and why should you write it? I’ll tell you. But first, can I ask a question?

Are you reading this blog post on your phone? I’d bet money your answer is yes. Most of us spend more time pointing our noses at screens than buried in books or magazines. Rather than fight this, the modern writer should ask, “How do I best take advantage of this medium?” (A question that would likely horrify Ray Bradbury, God rest his soul.)

Content abounds on the internet, and when readers’ options are limitless, it stands to reason that shorter content has a better chance of being read. As fledgling writers, we want to get our names out there, right? That’s why the short, impactful form of flash fiction is an optimal way to showcase our writing chops to casual readers.

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Five Tips For Finding Writing Motivation

You can only call yourself a writer if you actually write, right?

Often, we writers have the best intentions to make time for our practices, but those plans fall through. Day jobs, family, social lives, and making dinner have all been known to make us go from thinking “I’m going to write today!” to “Maybe tomorrow…”

So, how do you make sure you actually sit down to write instead of continually postponing it?

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How to Overcome The Fear of Submitting Your Fiction

So, you’re fearful of putting your writing out there into the world…

Well, you’re not alone. Every writer experiences anxiety about letting other people read their work. Every writer fears rejection and criticism. Today, I’d like to help you overcome these fears by sharing insights gained from my own submission experience.

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How to Find Your Writing Rhythm Using The Snowball Effect

So there you sit. Again. Be it electronic or physical paper, the anxiety-inducing blank page stares back at you for the umpteenth time.

You’ve read plenty of articles explaining that most writers deal with this same situation all the time. All you need to do is push through the writer’s block, right? So you sit and sit and sit, waiting for inspiration to strike. Only it doesn’t. The longer you wait, the more frustrated you become. Finally you walk away, vowing to “try again tomorrow with a clear head.”

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Five Simple Tips for Conquering Creative Burnout

You’re excited about your novel idea. You want to write it, and you know you should be working on it, but life keeps getting in the way. When you do have time to write, you find yourself too physically and mentally exhausted. Burnt out to a crisp.

No matter where you are in life, you likely balance so many commitments that coming home to stare at a computer screen after a long day of school or work can seem like just another chore. Taking a break feels counterintuitive. Doesn’t that make the problem worse? How can taking a break from your passion prove refreshing?

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Seven Tips for Submitting Your Fiction For Publication

Over the past two years, I’ve been working towards turning my obsession with writing into a serious business.

During that time, I’ve developed several strategies and techniques that may benefit other writers, particularly new or emerging writers who haven’t yet developed writing systems of their own. Are you eager to get serious about your writing business as well? You can use the following strategies together or separately to increase both your confidence and word count:

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Five Tips & Four Myths About Preparing To Edit Fiction

Editing a short story or novel is its own craft, using a separate skill set from writing. It’s a different approach and needs a different mindset. This isn’t to say that editing can’t be creative; it’s creating solutions to problems. Through editing, you’ll identify problems in your story and figure out the best solutions.

As you make the mental shift from writing to editing, you have to be able to look at your own work with a level of objectiveness in order to make your story the best it can be. In this post, I’d like to offer suggestions to help you gain perspective on your manuscript.

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How to Beat Writer's Block

Writer’s block is a fancy-schmancy term for getting stuck. It is a misnomer, and it's time we take our power back and beat writer's block together.

Writers, being somewhat eccentric and moody, vulnerable to imaginary worlds and people that actually exist in their work, accidentally gave getting stuck power when they named it "writer's block." In the words of Mike Wazowski of Monsters Inc., "You're not supposed to name it. Once you name it, you start getting attached to it." Seriously, it's like naming the stray kitten you found on the street.

And getting stuck happens in all areas of life. People get stuck on how to decorate a room, how to build a storage unit, how to bake a cheese soufflé, what to do with that stray kitten on the street…

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Seven Submission Tips From a Literary Agent’s Slush Pile

I’m an aspiring author. That means that every day I write, edit, query, and write some more. It means I attend conferences, network, and sit in crowded rooms “speed dating” with agents, hoping that one will choose to represent my work.

I’m also a Literary Agent Intern. That means that I watch as other people are chosen for representation while I keep querying each and every day. It means that I slog through hundreds of emails a month from the slush pile, hoping I can make another author’s dreams come true. It also means that I see the realities behind publication — that it takes work, grit, and a willingness to accept a few honest truths.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned while playing on both sides of the publishing fence:

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An Easy Outlining Method for Writers Who Don't Enjoy Planning

My personal journey as a writer has been a lonely and meandering one.

For as long as I can remember, a thousand fantastic worlds have lived in my head, the safe places I went when the real world was too painful or quiet to bear. About the time I began to understand myself as an individual, around eleven or twelve, I started writing down these worlds and the stories that took place in them. It was a carefully guarded secret, something that only happened when the mood struck.

As one might expect with such an organic and aimless writing practice, progress was slow. In retrospect, I realize that I was attempting to write about five stories under the guise of one. When I grew frustrated with the inconsistencies and difficulty in plot progression, I split this one story into three set at three different times within the same world, which, sadly, did nothing to clean up the confusion.

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How Writing Creative Essays Can Improve Your Fiction (with guest writer Piers Golden)

Hello, writers! Kristen here. Today, I'm thrilled to welcome fellow writer Piers Golden to the blog.

 

Piers is currently a master's student in journalism at NYU, and today he's here to share the many ways in which writing creative non-fiction essays can prove to be a fresh way to exercise your fiction writing skills.

If you enjoy his article, make sure to connect with Piers and check out some of his other articles over on Facebook. Now, without any further ado, I'll let Piers take over his discussion on today's topic!

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Three Simple Ways to Combat Your Writer's Ego (with guest writer Emma Welsh)


Learning to let go of silly dreams can be tough, but it's all too necessary if you want to succeed. 

Whether you realize it or not, your writer's ego may be standing between you and the writing life you crave. On Monday, writer Emma Welsh stopped by the blog to share all about what a writer's ego is, why it's dangerous, and how you can spot the signs that your own ego may be taking over.

Today, I'm thrilled to have Emma back to discuss how we can combat our egos and keep our writing goals within sight. Make sure to check out Monday's article first, then come back here to dive into Emma's best ego-crushing tips!

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