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Adele Annesi's Blog

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Read from end to beginning to catch mistakes they might otherwise mis
Long time, no post. Hope all is well with everyone here. I've been working on an MFA in creative writing at Fairfield University, and am finally regaining my footing. So let's restart the editing engine with this post on revision. A method copyeditors use to edit nonfiction is to read from end to...
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While revising my novel to get rid of the unnecessary, I came up against that bane and blessing of the writer's existence—backstory. The problem in this instance wasn't so much literal backstory, meaning past events, but backstory in the sense of material that qualified more as supporting the story...
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I'm a morning person, but that doesn't mean morning is the best time of day for me to edit. Mornings are generally split into two types of time: writing on the train as I commute to work, and doing as much as possible as fast as possible on days I work from home. For me, the best time to edit is...
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"From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction,"  by Robert Olen Butler
The phrase "hatching a plot" once had a sinister connotation, usually in reference to criminals. Not so for writers. Compelling plots and subplots with the strong narrative pull described in "Created to Compel: The Use of Prologue in Water for Elephants" (2011 August 8) need...
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Janet Burroway's classic "Writing Fiction, a Guide to Narrative Craft"
There are as many cons as pros to the use of prologue, and telling a story's end at its beginning often works best in clever detective shows. Yet, Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen deftly manages both. How? Gruen uses prologue: As a framing device To raise key questions in the reader's mind...
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Fairfield University MFA in Creative Wriring
For years the idea of getting an MFA has been like a pebble in my shoe - I haven't always been aware of it, just when I stepped a certain way in the writing life. To help me make up my mind, I asked six writer friends what they thought. Their answers ranged from "I would never have gotten an...
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Fall back in love with writing
I recently heard a speaker remind his audience of the meaning of amateur, from the French "lover of" and the Latin amatorem and amator, "lover." Of the dictionary definitions, the following seem most applicable to writers, many of us, anyway: A person who engages in an activity...
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Author Jamie Cat Callan in Paris
Award-winning author and instructor Jamie Cat Callan tells about French secrets to joie de vivre in her latest book Bonjour, Happiness! Elizabeth Bard, author of Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes said, "With warmth and sincerity, Callan shares that most precious of French life lessons...
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Ask yourself questions to see your story develop
One of the many maxims we learn in journalism is to not just report a story, but to get at what the story is really about. The difference between the two perspectives is the difference between a cloud and solid ground. The principle applies to all nonfiction (see The Art of Nonfiction: A Guide for...
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In an always-on age where the appetite for content is voracious and insatiable, how is a writer to get and keep the creative edge? One way is to mix genres. The lines between creative nonfiction, memoir and essay have already blurred - and the trend will continue - so why not push the boundaries?...
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Covenant as Ethical Commonwealth, by author Perry Huesmann
Educator, cultural observer and lecturer Perry Huesmann has authored Covenant as Ethical Commonwealth, published by Italian Paths of Culture Press, on the concept of covenant and the possibilities for trust in society. In this guest post, Perry discusses what went into the writing of the book and...
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From the forest to the trees for plot
Ever have a spurt of inspiration reveal a new dimension of your plot or story? It could be a brave new adventure or a step off a cliff into the abyss. Here's a second post on how to vet inspiration - for plot twists and subplots. As an editor, I get queries from writers asking whether their idea...
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When your characters rebel
Ever have an idea ignite to suddenly reveal a new dimension of a character or story? It could be the light at the tunnel's end or an oncoming train. Here's how to vet sudden inspiration.  As an editor, I get queries from writers saying they were suddenly inspired on how to fix a complex character...
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French Women Don't Sleep Alone author, Jamie Cat Callan
Engaging author, instructor and happiness expert Jamie Cat Callan was inspired by her French grandmother to return to France and discover the secret to joie de vivre - at any age. She shares those secrets in her latest book, Bonjour, Happiness!, which serves up the latest adventures of one woman on...
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How Is It Made: Taking Writing Apart
Remember those cartoons where the guy (it's usually a guy) takes the car engine apart to see out how it works? Well, that approach can work for writing, too. Of course, just like that guy, you may end up with parts you don't need. But unlike that guy, you could end up better off without those parts...
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