What’s the big deal with word count?

I've been asked a writer question: Many writers obsess over word count because publishers require a specific number of words for manuscripts so they can plan for a specific number of pages to be printed and figure the costs involved to be sure they don’t lose money. A short story normally is approximately 4,000 words, …

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How can a writer avoid cliches when describing characters?

I've been asked a writer question: How to describe characters and avoid cliches? That’s a rather common question, usually by newish writers because writers with a lot of experience know that almost all fictional characters are either cliches or archetypes of real people. Every writer wishes to avoid cliches. Every writer hopes to have their …

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How to use action to break up dialogue without disrupting the flow of the story?

I've been asked a writer question: How to use action to break up dialogue without disrupting the flow of the story? It’s easy to do and hard to explain. The short answer is that you blend the two together throughout the entire story so there are few if any scenes that are entirely one or …

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Should an author have a writing portfolio blog?

I've been asked a writer question: Should an author have a writing portfolio blog? I suppose a writer can exist without writing credits to pull out whenever the occasion requires, but it’s a lot easier to show prospective clients and publishers what you can do if you have samples of your writing at your fingertips. …

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Is it possible to write about a situation very precisely without even going through it?

I've been asked:   Can you write precisely about something you’ve never experienced? Writers do it all the time and some of them do it very well. But there’s a caveat and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a big one. You can picture the situation and imagine what it would be like and then you …

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