Tagged With creative writing

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Stories have shapes. Any story you tell works best if you recognise its shape, then strengthen that shape. This applies to a story of any length, whether you're putting in your 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month 2017, or honing your favourite party anecdote, or even marketing something, including yourself. It even applies to Hemingway's famous six-word story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

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This past month I participated in National Novel Writing Month (also known as "NaNoWriMo"). It was fun, exhausting, stressful and, at times, miserable. But it was also one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned regarding time management and creativity.

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National Novel Writing Month is all about putting your head down and cranking out as many words as you can, but it can still be fun to make it a social experience, too. A write-in is just what you need to keep you and your fellow scribblers motivated. Here's how to set one up.

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Julian Gough, Irish novelist, memoirist, poet and playwright, gives densely packed advice in his essay How To Edit Your Own Lousy Writing. He explains the "job" that a first, second and third draft each do, editing a hypothetical scene as a concrete example.

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One of the best things about NaNoWriMo, or any terrifying deadline, is that it forces you to write quickly. (Hello, procrastinators.) If writing quickly is your stated goal, then you don't have time to do the number one thing that interrupts your writing flow: Think about whether what you're writing is good.

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The ability to write creatively is a skill not many people possess. While typically linked to the arts, good writing is also fueled by a surprising amount of science. Exploiting this knowledge can help take your prose to the next level. With that in mind, here are seven scientific ways to improve your writing.

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So you want to self-publish your book? You're in good company. Plenty of authors have gone ahead of you, working to prove that high-quality books can hold their own in the marketplace without the support of a traditional publisher. Amazon, of course, has changed the entire publishing landscape, but authors have been taking control of the publication process as far back as Charles Dickens, or the Brontë sisters. Self-publishing works, if done well -- and for the right reasons.

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In a world where people tell their stories on film from ideas that start on paper, there are two powerful platforms that provide all the tools budding screenwriters need: Final Draft and Celtx. One is the entertainment industry standard. The other is free for all to use. But this Sunday, only one can be the best in the biz.

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Spelling and grammar are the cornerstones of professional writing: but that's only half the battle won. To really make your writing shine, you need to avoid cliches, fluff, nondescript adverbs, redundant phrases, purple prose and filler words. This infographic from GlobalEnglishEditing lists 23 phrases you need to pull back on, along with suggested alternatives.

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Whether it's catching up on email, or working on a novel, the early morning or late hours of the night is when a lot of people finally start pecking their keyboard. But if you can help it, skip the late night sessions and save yourself some embarrassing mistakes and editing.