Critique groups, beta readers, or editors–Which is best?

From Rick: Someone in a large online group that I belong to recently asked, “How many beta readers should one use?” The answers varied: 2-3, 5-7, a dozen or more, but the consensus was that too few may not give

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Is there a universal story formula?

One of the topics often discussed in general writing workshops is basic story structure and the elements of a story. Let’s go over those first. A story–and we’re talking a piece of fiction or mostly fiction–in order to be considered

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The Various Levels of Editing–Part 1

From Scott: Today, I’m going to talk about editing, or more specifically, the different levels of editing. Rick and I have mentioned before how important editing is to your work. Your readers expect a clean novel when they buy it,

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Writing great dialog–Part 4: proper dialog formatting

From Rick: In this post, I’m going to cover formatting dialog, which some new writers get wrong. For purposes of this blog, I’ll assume the American English style of formatting, that is, double quote marks, where British English may use

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We extracted the extraneous (part 2)

From Scott: In my previous post, I discussed the inclusion of unnecessary clutter in your novels and how this can be detrimental to the quality of your work. If you put emphasis on something in a particular scene, it’s generally

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Writing great dialog–Part 1

From Rick: As I mentioned in last week’s brief post, Scott and I lately have been quite busy. So, for a while, we’re going to reduce the length of our blog posts, dividing them into multiple posts when necessary, to

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