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How to Overcome a Muddling Middle

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. For some authors, the beginning of the story gives them trouble as they grapple with whether to start a book in medias res (“in the midst of things”), when the reader and character are plunged into a crucial situation, or by conveying the protagonist’s everyday world so the reader bonds with that character…

Six Things Authors Should Know About Copyright and Contracts

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This is it. You’ve made it. You’ve gotten a call from an agent, or you’ve received a contract from a publisher, or you’re taking that step to put your books up for sale as an indie author. This is your moment to shine and take on the world! But wait … let’s hit pause for a moment. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that creative individuals allow our emotions to rule us so…

Including Native Americans in Writing

As writers we always hear, “Write what you know.” In light of that truth, it is important that any person writing about Native Americans know the people and the culture they are writing about. It is important to know the current situation of the Native American people one is choosing to write about. It is also important to recognize that some things cannot, or should not, be written about given…

Book Cover Trends in 2024

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As I turned to face the thousands of options lining my library’s shelves, I asked my librarian, “How do you pick which books to read?” I hoped that she might tip me off to a trade journal or confirm the importance of word-of-mouth recommendations. Her neck blushed pink before she paused and leaned toward me. “To be honest? I read books based on their covers.” A nervous laugh seemed to indicate …

You Got Your Rights Back: Now What?

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In the early days of my publishing career, I worked as an editor for a publisher based in Ireland. While it started as primarily a digital-first romance house, it quickly grew into a multi-genre powerhouse. During that time, two of my titles were accepted by the publisher. The first was a little military thriller called Stray Ally, a story about a not-so-great guy who meets a dog in the wildern…

The Scar’s the Thing: Tropes in Advanced Craft

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Tropes, characters, and story What do you think of when you hear the word trope? Do you think of a story building block? Or an overused concept? These days, we hear about tropes often, but the meaning is less specific. Some writers love them, while others loathe them. One constant is that tropes are a storytelling staple stemming from fairy and folk tales. Tropes are valuable storytelling build…