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A Satisfactory Ending

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 18, 2014

The end is nigh. You've been burning the midnight oil to get to that point in your novel where you can crack your knuckles and finally type "The End." The problem you're having is you're not quite sure if it's time to end your story. Is the ending you're offering truly satisfying? Will your readers celebrate your name or curse it once they read the last page?

 

Your first order of business is to forget your readers. If you try to craft an ending that will please them, you will most likely miss the mark badly. As writers, we love readers. They are our greatest partners in the storytelling process, but their participation can't influence the path your story needs to take.

 

With the reader not a consideration, what should be your guideposts to a satisfying ending to your novel? Here are three elements to consider when writing an ending:

 

  1. Tone - If you've written a dark horror story that's managed to include one terrifying passage after another, you're not going to wrap things up in a nice little cheery bow. Your ending should match the tone of the rest of your book. A romance novel will most likely end on a high note. A mystery will end in triumph for the protagonist. The type of book you're writing has a lot to do with the ending.

  2. The ending belongs to the main plot - Not all of the unknowns have to become known at the end of your book. You can leave unanswered questions, but what you don't want to do is abandon the main conceit of the story at the end of a novel. The primary thematic element of your book has to come to a conclusion in some way on the last page. You may have introduced secondary plots throughout the book, but the time to address those is before you're ready to end your story.

  3. Open or closed - That conclusion can come in open or closed form. It is possible to answer a question in a way that creates more questions. You may end a mystery with the good guy killing the bad guy. The closed version of that ending is the good guy has all the evidence he needs to prove the shooting was justifiable. The open version of that ending is the good guy has no evidence that the bad guy was even the bad guy. He just has an unwritten confession. In this case, you've concluded the main conceit (Who's the bad guy?), but you ended with an unanswered question (How will the good guy avoid getting in trouble?). Open endings can be great catalysts for sequels.


If I were to include a fourth item to this list, it would be that your own personal style has bearing on how you end a story. That style is something you will develop over time and after writing more books.

 

How do you end a novel?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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When to Say "I Don't Care"

Does Writing Change the Author?

3,896 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, ending
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

 

Books/Publishing

 

 

Reaching Readers: Lessons Learned from Blog Tours - Self-Publishing Advice

Are blog tours worth the time and money? One author shares her experience.  

                           

Why Books Make Us Laugh - Huffington Post

While our minds may distinguish between fact and fiction, our brains do not.      

 

Film

                                                        

Independent Filmmaking - Finding Your Style - NoHo

The only way to know what kind of filmmaker you are is to make a film.    

                                          

Stabilize It! - Raindance

How to shoot smooth moving shots on a budget. 

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Learn How to Sing Nature's Way - How to Sing Better

There's the wrong way to sing and then there's nature's way.

 

INFOGRAPHIC: Anatomy of Songs - Perfect Porridge

A fun little series of graphs that reveal the components of a song by genre.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- August 1, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- August 8, 2014

2,004 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: music, movies, writing, recording, filmmakers, independent_film, singing, blog_tour, music_production, funny_books
0

Makes Some Noise

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 13, 2014

I follow well-known author Cormac McCarthy on Facebook. I should clarify: Cormac McCarthy never actually updates his status letting us know what he had for lunch, nor does he post cute cat videos. He never posts anything at all himself. There is a Cormac McCarthy consortium that posts on behalf of the reclusive author's brand.

 

Today, Cormac McCarthy's Facebook feed featured a status update about how he doesn't write about his books. He thinks it's bad form. He believes if you're talking about a book, you're not writing it. He's very old school.

 

My philosophy is the polar opposite of Mr. McCarthy's, and it's painful to admit because I am such a big fan of his work. I talk about my books as I write them. I devote blog posts to word count updates, and I upload videos about plot points and current character development. I express my excitement if I have a good day of writing, and I publicly curse the days when I struggle to get the words on the page.

 

I do this not because I think so much of myself that I believe everyone should know. I do it because I have found there is a direct correlation between the noise I make about what I'm writing, to the number of books I sell of existing titles on Amazon. In short, my brand isn't on as solid ground as Cormac McCarthy's. He has earned the luxury of remaining reclusive. I have not. Who knows? In a few more years, maybe I'll have a consortium posting for me on Facebook.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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The Recluse in the Age of Social Media

Social Networking Sells Your Brand

2,233 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self-publishing, writing, social_networking, social_media, marketing_ideas, marketing_advice
0

We've all heard the saying "you need to spend money to make money." The same applies to book marketing. Giving away books now can help you sell books later.

 

Offering a free copy of your book can crack open some doors that otherwise might remained closed. For example, you might send a copy to:

 

  • A prolific reviewer on Amazon (one who reviews a lot of books in your genre)
  • A book blogger (similar to the above criteria)
  • The manager of a book club
  • An author you admire

 

The above people are in a position to help you, but if all you do is ask them to read your book, you will probably (albeit inadvertently) rub them the wrong way. However, if you reach out to them with a friendly note and offer to send them a copy of your book, how could they possibly be offended? Of course, they might decline, but they might accept. Book marketing is a numbers game. You have to contact a lot of people, because the majority of them are going to shoot you down. But not everyone will. The key is not to give up. Knock on enough doors, and eventually someone will give you a chance.

 

You also can send out a digital eBook. You can buy just one digital version and lend it out, which is what author Nikos Vlachos recently did for me. The important thing is to make it as easy as possible for people to say yes to you. You never know what might happen when you do. I bet Nikos didn't think he'd end up in one of my blog posts, but here he is!

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Giving Books Away: A Strategy that Still Works

Remember to Say Thank You

3,248 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writers, branding
0

I've talked about failing on this blog; now it's time to talk about succeeding. Just as there is a lot of misunderstanding that goes into what it means to fail, success is largely misunderstood as well.

 

We've all seen the glamorized version of success in publishing. Become a bestseller right away and sell a couple million copies, right? It's the pinnacle of publishing, or the assumed pinnacle of publishing. Reaching those heights immediately is rarified air. Only a handful of books do it, and when they do it's not usually by design. By and large, such results greatly exceed expectations.

 

If you want to succeed in indie publishing, you're going to want to do it in steps. In other words, don't make your goal to sell a million copies or bust. Make your goal out of the gate to sell 50 books, and design a strategy around that number. Once you've reached or exceeded it, up the ante. With the next goal reached, kick it up a notch, and so forth and so on. You have a novel that will never go out of print unless you decide otherwise. Use that fact to your advantage. Don't frontload a strategy with all your resources in an effort to sell as many books as you can right off the bat. You'll find yourself swimming against the current.

 

Achieve success in increments. Set small, achievable benchmarks that will allow you to accumulate momentum, build readership and increase sales over time. This strategy can result in exponential growth, and it will boost your confidence and your knowledge of the market along the way.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Setting Goals for Your Brand

Selling Books Out of the Trunk of Your Car

2,092 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, writing, book_sales, publishing_success
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

Know What You Write - AuthorCulture

When researching a book in this day and age, you have to be at the top of your game because readers have a world of information at their fingertips to fact-check you.   

                           

Surprising Self-Publishing Statistics - Publishers Weekly

An interesting look at the state of the ever-growing and increasingly influential indie publishing industry.       

 

Film

                                                        

What I've Learned from Making Three Feature Films by Patrick Creadon - Film Courage

Director and writer Patrick Creadon discusses the films he's made and how they have shaped his career.    

                                          

5 Ways to Succeed as a Modern Filmmaker - Filmmaking Stuff

How to get out of your own way and make a movie.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Music Marketing Ideas: Are These Too Outrageous? - Bob Baker's TheBuzzFactor.com

Are these marketing strategies too outside the box?

 

How Singer-Songwriters Can Maximize Their Career Potential When Using DJs and Producers - Musicgoat.com

Make sure you're recognized for your original material.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- August 1, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- July 25, 2014

2,002 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, writers, directors, writing, films, producers, filmmaker, music_marketing, musicians, filmmakers, songwriters, djs
5

The Rush to Publish

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Aug 6, 2014

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I may have matured over the years. I'm not talking about my appearance. I'm referring to the recent decisions I've made concerning publishing and writing, namely the timeline that goes into crafting a book for retail.

 

My biggest problem, as someone who was once new to the indie publishing world, was not properly managing the absence of restraints. The prospect of getting a book to market was so exhilarating that I rushed to get a book written and published. I've learned now that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it immediately.

 

This rush to publish has been my biggest mistake in my career as an author. I'm fairly certain I'm not alone. Typos and various editing errors are obvious issues with a "hurry up and get it to market" mentality. What isn't so obvious is the story you're publishing isn't exactly the story you originally intended to publish. A rewrite or two is really needed to flesh out a pivotal character. The ending isn't quite up to your expectations as the writer. Something is just off about small details throughout the story.

 

These details most likely would have been corrected if the desire to publish had not trumped the wisdom to honor the rule of patience – that rule being to step away from the computer and allow the thrill of completing a novel to subside and morph into the thrill of making it perfect.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Living the Indie Author Dream

Elements of a Page-turner

2,403 Views 5 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writer's_block, timelines, publishing_timelines, author_tips, writing_timelines
4

The other day my mom, from whom I inherited my attention to grammar, sent me an email with a subject line that said "THIS CAN'T POSSIBLY BE RIGHT, RIGHT?"

 

I clicked to open the attachment, which was a photograph of a newspaper article about a sports team. The article said that "the team had sort of went down the drain over the season." Wow. I can't believe grammar that bad made it to publication in a major newspaper, but that's another story.

 

Here's how the verb "to go" works:

 

PRESENT TENSE: I go to the store.

PAST TENSE: I went to the store.

PRESENT PERFECT TENSE: I have gone to the store.

PAST PERFECT TENSE: I had gone to the store.

 

Under no circumstances is it appropriate to say "I have went to the store" or "I had went to the store." Unfortunately, however, I'm starting to hear this usage more and more, just as I often hear "I" used when "me" is correct. (Click here to read my blog post on the difference between "I" vs "me.")

 

This may seem like a minor error, and you may be wondering why I'm so hung up on grammar, but I'm not the only person who cares about it. (My mom does too! Ha.) The truth is that to a trained ear/eye even small errors jump out and overshadow everything else, and you don't want that to happen. In a previous post, I gave an example of the impact a minor error can have. Whether it's your manuscript, your author bio, your book description, or any of your other marketing materials, it's important to keep them free of errors so your readers can focus on the most important thing: the content.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Misuse of Pronouns

More Grammar Pet Peeves!

2,246 Views 4 Comments Permalink
3

Has this ever happened to you? You sit down to write, and just as you start pounding out words, your mind drifts to that driver that cut you off on the freeway. You pull yourself back and redirect your thoughts onto your story only to drift back to that driver's smug face as he grinned at you through his rearview mirror. Still, you carry on. You write because that's what you do.

 

The next day, you return to your computer and read what you wrote the day before. It's off. The tone is different. The dialogue that's meant to be sweet and tender has a bitter current running through it. You wrote how you were feeling, not how your characters felt.

 

What do you do when you're writing and life gets in the way? You do something mindless. A mindless task will cleanse your thoughts of all those things that fill you with angst and worry. I personally do something that makes me break a sweat before I start to write. My goal is to physically exhaust myself so I'll be too tired to be concerned with the little bumps in the road of life.

 

Whether it is exercise, cooking or cleaning the kitchen, there is an activity within your grasp to clear your head and put you in the right frame of mind to contribute useful words to your story. Think of a mindless task as an inoculation against ineffective prose. When the day hasn't gone your way, doing something that doesn't require much thought may be the perfect solution to worry-free writing.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Should You Write Daily to Write Well?

Rewrites: Make the Hardest Changes First

4,034 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, writing
0

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

5 Things You Should Know about Working with Beta Readers - Beyond Paper Editing

Beta readers are becoming new spheres of influence in publishing today. 

                           

Building Your Website: Researching Your Marketplace - Marketing Tips for Authors

All you need is a search engine and keywords to find out how other authors are building their brands.       

 

Film

                                                        

Why the Greatest Writers and Directors Will Always Focus on the Subtext, Not the Text - Noam Kroll

The implied meaning of a story can make a good film great.    

                                          

Film Schooling: Insider Insights on Indie Filmmaking - Be Decisive in Production - Bleeding Cool

How to navigate the chaos of a film shoot.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Technique vs. Style - How to Sing Better

Style equals genre and technique equals voice training.

 

Can Music Heal? -Maestro Musician

Music sounds good, but can it make you feel and think better?  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- July 25, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- July 18, 2014

2,042 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, movies, writers, readers, directors, researching, marketplace, musicians, singing, technique, target_audience, indie_filmmaking
4

Much has been written about what reading a novel does to the brain. One study featured by The Atlantic showed that reading certain words associated with odors can trigger the part of the brain devoted to smell. Another study showed that reading a novel can change the structure of a brain. For example, reading about riding a bicycle can activate the parts of a brain that are used when physically riding a bicycle. In short, reading a novel can open the reader up to experiencing a kind of non-physical reality that is completely created by the author.

 

 

If reading can have that kind of effect on the reader, imagine what it can do for the writer. During my best writing moments, I slip into a trance that in many ways makes me feel removed from this world, a kind of Fringe-like alternate universe. The structure of my brain must be constantly under construction as if it's the Winchester mansion adding wing after wing with no end in sight.

 

 

Personally, I feel like my worldview has expanded a great deal over the years that I have followed the stories in my head. Some would argue that it's a natural process of aging and maturing, and while I can't say for sure that writing is what changed me, I lean in that direction. For no other reason than I know of, we are shaped by our experiences and thanks to my writing, I have experienced things that I haven't physically experienced. It's a wild concept that can leave you a little dizzy.

 

What about you? Do you feel your writing has changed you in any way?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Thank the People Who Help You

Make Your Own Rules

2,290 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, publishing, writing, reading, craft, author_brand
2

Why Grammar Matters

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 29, 2014

I recently began watching "The Wire" (yes, I realize I'm 12 years late), and I love it! So far it has lived up to the hype. It also gave me a good idea for this blog post. In one of the early episodes, one of the main characters (a police officer) spends a lot of time preparing a report about possible criminal activity at a housing project in Baltimore, and then presents it to a judge in hopes of gaining authorization for a wiretap. In this particular scene, we see the police officer sitting anxiously in his chair, so proud of all his hard work, just waiting for a pat on the back from the judge for following a very specific list of legal requirements to get what he really needs to stop the bad guys.

 

What does the judge do after reading the meticulously prepared report? He points out that the police officer repeatedly confused "then" and "than" and proceeds to give him a lecture on the difference between the two.

 

The police officer is incredulous. He's spent weeks working the streets gathering the evidence he needs to combat a violent drug operation, and the judge is correcting his grammar?

 

Yes.

 

This is why grammar matters! No matter how great your content is, errors jump out at an educated reader and get in the way of the story. The above scenario is a perfect example of this. Mixing up "then" and "than" has nothing to do with the magnificent police work that went into that report, but the mistake was what caught the eye of the judge, who is the person in power in the equation.

 

When it comes to a book, the reader is the person in power because he or she is the one who can spread the word about it. You want readers to love your story and tell all their friends about it, so don't give them a reason to focus on anything else.

 

-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Quick Lesson on Hyphens

"Myself" Is Not a Substitute for "I"

5,466 Views 2 Comments Permalink
1

Wonderful Failures

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 28, 2014

To motivate you to pursue your dreams with reckless abandon, I'd like to share an inspirational message that centers on failing. You read that correctly. I'd like to focus your attention on what it means to fail. In short, failure has gotten a bad rap. It's not the insurmountable obstacle it's been made out to be.

 

This past graduation season there were two commencement speeches that brilliantly delved into the arena of failing. You may have seen the video(s) floating around the social networking-sphere. Actor Jim Carrey touched on this topic during his speech at Maharishi University. Actor Charlie Day also invoked the notion of failing in his commencement address at his alma mater, Merrimack College. I encourage fellow authors to watch both videos. The one-sentence pitch for both speeches is essentially the same: Failing while doing what you love is much more fulfilling than failing while doing something you hate.

 

Angst and stress are byproducts of doing something that doesn't fulfill you. It doesn't come from the actual act of failing. Writing, publishing, and even building a brand are rewarding endeavors for indie authors because they are a calling. And, when you devote your passions to your calling, not even failure can derail you. In fact, it should embolden you to dive back in with even more enthusiasm and vigor.

 

Just as enrichment doesn't necessarily bring monetary riches, failure doesn't mean a painful end. Your writer's soul will thrive as long as you're in the game no matter what the end result may be.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Say Yes!

Sensitive Topics

2,142 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writers, wonderful_failures
1

Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice, and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

What Is a Perfect Ending? - Writer's Digest

A panel at this year's ThrillerFest discusses the best way to end a novel.

                           

5 Reasons You Procrastinate on Getting Your Book Done: What Is It Costing You? - The Future of Ink

How to overcome all those excuses that are holding you back.     

 

Film

                                                        

Email Marketing for Movies (Why You Need To Start Now!) - Filmmaking Stuff

Is your email marketing campaign as crucial as your filmmaking strategy?    

                                          

How Do You Co-direct a Film? - Projector Films

The only thing harder than directing a film may be co-directing a film.

                                                                                                                                              

Music

 

Crowdsourced Songwriting - Musician Coaching.com

The role of emerging artists and the current state of the music industry.

 

3-Step Process to Singing in Tune: Listen, Mime, Sing! - Judy Rodman

Using active listening can help train your voice.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup- July 18, 2014

Weekly News Roundup- July 11, 2014

2,002 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, music, filmmaking, writing, directing, writing_process, musicians, craft, songwriting, singing, ending, movie_marketing
1

Word Count Paralysis

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jul 23, 2014

Sometimes staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen can make it morph into a stop sign and prevent you from holding a thought long enough to tap it out on your keyboard. It can be an unintentional panic signal that freezes your fingers in place and fills you with heaping helpings of writer's doubt. Your focus shifts from what you want to write to how many words you must write before you will allow yourself to stop for the day. Gradually, you fixate exclusively on that word count goal, and you're unable to type a single solitary word.

 

I call it "word count paralysis," and there's really only one way to prevent it: Ditch the daily word count goal. In the end, it doesn't really matter how many words you write in a day. Your only goal is to make some sort of progress; big or small, it doesn't matter. The only thing that does matter is that you advance from where you were the day before.

I've talked before about my own word count philosophy in previous blogs. My goal while writing a book is to write one word a day. Not only have I never come short of my goal, I have far exceeded that one-word-a-day benchmark every single time, occasionally by as much as 6,000 times.  

 

Daily word count goals always have been the bane of my writing existence. They have served as arbitrary roadblocks that fill me with dread. As long as I ask myself to contribute only one word a day to a story, I am relieved of that pressure that leads to word count paralysis.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Writing a Word a Day

Unblocking Writer's Block

4,495 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: books, author, writers, writing, draft, writing_process, word_count, chapter_length
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