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Past, Present, and Future

Past, Present, and Future: Your Characters—and You—Live in All Three

The writing you do today—every day—is an amalgam of the writing you have done every other day before it, the craft you have learned and studied, the experiences you have had, and countless other factors all firmly rooted in your past.

Most of us are doing it for a clear purpose in our future: to finish a full manuscript, to hit a deadline, to find an agent and/or publisher, to reach readers, etc.

And yet you are always writing in the now.

Most of your life is medium foxprint Tiffany Yates Martin

Most of Your Life Is Medium

Most of the actual day-to-day effort of our creativity tends to be medium-level satisfying. We’re not kissed by the Muse every day, but neither are we probably stinking the joint up on the regular. Although occasionally we may have transcendent days of flow or frustrating days of failure, generally our efforts fall somewhere in between—as far as both the joy we take in doing them and the result. Most of our writing days are okay.

Writing reveals in fiction

The Delicate Art of Reveals

Reveals are among the more challenging storytelling elements to pull off. An anticlimactic reveal can leave readers underwhelmed. An obvious one disappoints if readers feel they’ve outsmarted the characters or are a step ahead of the author. And a cryptic one can simply leave readers confused and frustrated, giving up on your story.

Embrace the Suck

Embrace the Suck

Sometimes we may start a project knowing exactly what we want to say and how to say it, and the words flow out of us like milk and honey in the land of plenty.

But other times we have to find our way to what we’re trying to convey, just keep pounding out the words and ideas so we can get a sense of what we’re thinking, start organizing it into some kind of coherence, get to know our stories and characters as we keep exploring them on the page, so that we can begin to form clear ideas of who they are, what they do, why it matters.

How Writers Revise

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