An Adoption Story

We’d like to share this adoption story with our readers.

When I was 5 months old, the two people who conceived me sat in an office somewhere and signed away their rights to raise me. They opted out of the chances to hold me, comfort me and watch me grow. They gave up the opportunity to know me. I don’t assume that was an easy decision to make, but they must have felt it was the right one. Whether or not they wanted influence in my life, their decision that day made a lasting impression. Learn more.

Nancy and Kelly

Improving as a Writer

Here’s a great article on how to improve as a writer.

In the poker-playing world, professional card sharks have a term for a novice player who inadvertently gives away the cards he’s holding through some sort of gesture or tick of which he is unaware. The pros call it a “tell.”

pokerIn the publishing world, professional editors and agents look for the “tells” of a novice writer whenever they scan a manuscript. With practice, we can almost always pick out the amateur from the pro from reading just a page or two. Here’s a list of 13 Common “Tells” of an Amateur Writer that may give you an inside advantage at the publishing table. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Book Ideas

Book ideas come from many different places. This article provides helpful tips for writers.

That very first book idea came out of a desire to rewrite an ending I didn’t like. I had the flu and was doing more reading than normal for a mom of two preteens and two little ones. Several of the books just didn’t end like I expected-or perhaps as I wanted-so I decided I would write a book that ended my way. How hard could it be?

For those of you who know the answer to that question, let’s all pause a moment until the laughter subsides. Read more.

Nancy and Kelly

Power Elements Of Character Development

Rebecca LuElla Miller has written a second book for writers. It’s called Power Elements of Character Development. It is available for free on Kindle Unlimited or for a small cost if you do not have that service.

We like to provide our readers with as many different resources as possible. Here is what the book is about.

Power Elements Of Character Development, second in the series Power Elements Of Fiction, offers practical instruction for fiction writers about how to create engaging characters. This manual covers such topics as the character arc, a character’s inner as well as outer goals, qualities that make a character compelling, how character development fits with plot, how setting affects character development, character flaws, character voice, well-developed minor characters, realistic antagonists, and more.

This guide provides helpful reminders to the seasoned author, tips to help the intermediate writer raise the level of his storytelling, and instruction for the beginner. The occasional writing exercises offer writers an opportunity to apply what they are learning to their own works in progress.

Finally, Power Elements Of Character Development includes a list of resources for authors who wish to dig deeper in any given topic.

In total, this manual is a succinct blueprint for fiction writers to create characters that intrigue, entice, and compel readers to follow their story. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Power Elements of Story Structure

Rebecca LuElla Miller’s new book is about developing story structure. She’s got a wonderful blog for writers. If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read the book for free. Otherwise there is a minimal cost if you don’t.

Power Elements Of Story Structure, first in the series Power Elements Of Fiction, provides practical help for beginning writers as well as reminders for seasoned novelists. This informative writing manual addresses important elements such as where to start a novel, openings that hook readers, backstory, creating tension, foreshadowing, and much more. Together with intermittent writing exercises, the instruction serves as a concise guide for writing a novel. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Repetition in Writing

Rebecca LuElla Miller has a great blog for writers. Hop on over there and read the article on repetition. It’s worth the trip.

Generally repetition in writing refers to the author’s use of a word or phrase more than once within a passage such as a sentence or perhaps a paragraph or scene. Unless used intentionally, such repetition can be distracting (See “Repetition And Redundancy” for a closer look at this type of repetition) .

However, repetition has more than one face. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Kelly and Nancy

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is a summer camp for writers. From home, writers can write the rough draft of a novel in a month. The next one is in July.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. Participants work toward the goal of writing a 50,000-word draft during the month of November. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

Camp NaNoWriMo is a more open-ended version of our original November event. We have Camp sessions in both April and July, and we welcome word-count goals between 10,000 and 1,000,000. In addition, writers may attempt non-novel projects. Camp is a creative retreat for whatever you’re working on! Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy


Has ‘dystopic’ become a viable word?

When in a recent post I referred to “Orwell’s dystopic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four,” a reader from the Czech Republic asked when the adjective dystopic should be used instead of dystopian.

After referring to my usual authorities and giving the matter some thought, my answer is: “never.”

That’s not to say that the form dystopic isn’t to be heard and seen. I think my use of it in the article may stem from frequent reading of film criticism. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Interview Questions

Cec Murphy is running a series on his blog about interview questions for writers. This one is about developing good habits as a writer.

Will you share a few personal habits that have helped you over the years to remain a productive writer? That question usually comes after the interviewer mentions the large number of books I’ve published.

Here are three personal habits. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy

Scrivener Article

Scrivener is a great tool for writers. This article provides some helpful tips for using the software.

Scrivener can also be a complicated tool to use. I doubt I even know half of what it can do. It’s one of those tools that you continually learn about and grow into over time.

Occasionally things can feel a bit cluttered. But, fortunately, you can fix that with a few strokes on your keyboard by minimizing certain screen areas or entering a fullscreen writing mode. It’s just as easy to set and check project targets or get help. All you have to do is remember a few simple Scrivener keyboard shortcuts. Learn more.

Kelly and Nancy