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100 Best First Lines in Novels

The following is the second excerpt from my Critical Paper I compiled as part of my requirements for my MFA from Antioch University of Los Angeles. It follows the two sections I posted on Monday. GET A LOAD OF THESE: THE 100 BEST LINES IN NOVELS In January of 2006,…

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Firsts in First Lines

Some time ago, as part of my requirements for my MFA program, I had to construct a critical paper that focused on an aspect of the craft of fiction. I chose to do a critical analysis of the 100 best lines in novels, as comprised by the American Book Review….

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Originality is Three Deep

Often, as writers, we tend to take the path of least resistance. We’ll throw in a tired, worn-out cliché because it’s easier than actually thinking of an original description. The result is a lot of the same stories with the same characters and the same “plot-twists.” Unfortunately, nothing makes for…

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Finding Motivation When You Have None

I’m going to share with you one of my lowest moments as a writer. After finishing one of my first novels, The Bargain, I began work on my next project—an ambitious undertaking with high literary merit. At the time, I was still working on my MFA. I approached my mentor…

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100 Days to Write a Novel

A friend of mine has undertaken the task of writing a novel in 100 days. May I simply say, Bravo. I say this in a very complimentary way, but because she’s writing a daily blog about it, it reminds me a little of “Julie and Julia”. I’m a little ashamed…

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What I Look For as an Editor

Most readers, at some point, have read a novel (or memoir, or short story, or autobiography etc.) and wondered how it was ever published. The fact of the matter is someone—usually an acquisitions editor—saw something of value in the writing. And while it can be discouraging for an amateur writer…

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Interactive Fiction

Those of you who have been fortunate enough to not know me personally may not know the extent of my nerdness (nerdosity? nerdity?—only a super-nerd would debate the proper noun form of the quality of a nerd.) The branches of my nerd interests range from Star Wars and Star Trek,…

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Language of Fiction

My last post was about the first of two constants in fiction—tension. This post will focus on the second: Language. By that, I don’t simply mean English or Spanish or whatever language you choose to write in. Language is more a term that encompasses vocabulary, imagery, and figurative language. Though…

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