Bringing Your Characters to Life

By Andrea Merrell Certain movies and TV shows make us want to watch them over and over. In many cases, it’s not the story line; it’s because we love the characters. I personally love romantic comedies and mysteries, especially Hallmark movies. So why do I love them? Do they have a great plot? Sometimes, but…

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Don’t Let Speaker Beats Ruin Your Manuscript

By Andrea Merrell We’re taught the concept at writers’ conferences, read about it in helpful blog posts, and hear it consistently from our critique group: show—don’t tell. This key to writing well can make or break an otherwise good story.  Last week we talked about the difference between speaker tags and speaker beats. Today we’re…

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How to Craft Great Dialogue

By Andrea Merrell Dialogue can make or break a story—too much, too little, too stilted, or too corny. When we read, we want to see the characters interacting with each other. Whether they’re arguing, sharing secrets, or just getting to know each other, we want the communication to be real and flow in such a…

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The Quotation Quota – Assignment 2

By Andrea Merrell In my last post, we talked about the overuse of exclamation points and the need to eliminate them from our manuscripts unless absolutely necessary. But what about quotation marks? How many are too many? Most writers have their own personal set of bad habits, especially when it comes to punctuation. While some…

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Make the Most of Your 15-Minute Appointments

As conference time nears, conferees dig down and prepare to meet one-on-one with publishers, agents, and editors. The wonderful advantage of attending a conference is this “free-card” to meet face to face with industry professionals. The publishing market has tightened to the point of strangulation. Publishers are overworked and understaffed, so to meet with them…

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