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Channel: Meriah Crawford – Unleaded – Fuel for Writers
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The (Un)importance of Dental Hygiene

Let me be blunt: your characters should not brush their teeth. They shouldn’t shower (unless they have company, or Norman Bates is lurking in the shadows), they shouldn’t make the bed (unless there’s a...

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Grab a mouse by the tail

I popped open a friend’s dishwasher recently and saw a mouse scurrying for cover. My friend pulled the shelves out, and I saw the mouse trying to squirm out a vent in the side of the dishwasher. I...

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The Importance of a Good Frame Job

I’ve been helping to judge another writing contest this past week-this one for the VCU English Department. (It turns out I really enjoy judging writing contests.) It’s been a good experience–in part...

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I don’t want to make you tense, but when is it?

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at student writing this last week–catching up on my paper grading over spring break–and I’ve noticed a really common problem: tense shifts. It’s something I used to do...

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When Not to Change

One of the key rules to good story telling is that your character needs to change, grow, evolve over the course of the story. Epiphanies and desperate acts are called for; brave sacrifices are de...

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Writing Sex Scenes, Part 1: What Do You Know?

My creative writing class ventured into the bedroom (and the living room, and other assorted locations) over the last couple of weeks (on the page, of course), and boy has it been interesting. Overall,...

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What’s Your Name, Little Girl?

Naming characters is sometimes easy, sometimes hard, but always very important. I have a nasty habit of coming up with dull names like Jack and Tom. I mean, no offense if that’s your name, but I’ve...

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Let’s Talk About Your Sphincter

On second thought, let’s not. “Sphincter” is actually number one on my list of words that should never appear in fiction. I’ve noticed that a lot of male writers use this word when writing thrillers....

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Clichés are the Worst Thing Ever

A cliché is a phrase, plot point, character, etc., that is overused and overfamiliar. Clichés make your writing seem boring, unoriginal, and simplistic—all things that good writers strive to avoid like...

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What Can I Tell You? Setting and Description

My creative writing students often ask me how much setting and description stories or novels should have. The answer, of course, is: “It depends.” Some authors’ personal style is to avoid description...

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