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Tale As Old As Time

Musicians in The Cobblestone, Dublin, Ireland by Giuseppe Milo Recently I had the good fortune to listen to traditional live music at a bar in Dublin, Ireland. The fiddlers were in fine form and the whole bar was tapping along to the beat, myself included, although I didn’t recognize a single song being played. But then the leader of the band struck...

Self-Soothing is Really All about Micro-Tension

  It’s been a while since I’ve shared thoughts here, my dear Unboxers. I took a sabbatical last year for a chance to catch up on a deadline that I was horribly behind on after covid and a major family emergency. Ironically, the time off allowed me to enjoy so many more of your posts. You really are a brilliant bunch of writers. There are as many thought-provoking...

Taming the Haters: How to Handle Malicious Online Comments About Your Work

Please welcome guest author Emilie-Noelle Provost to Writer Unboxed today! Emilie-Noelle is an accomplished editor and writer, having held editorial positions with four magazines and written hundreds of articles over the years. She has a published book of middle-grade fiction, The Blue Bottle, and her first novel of adult fiction, The River is Everywhere–about...

To Warn or not to Warn: The Controversy around Trigger Warnings in Literature

Please welcome bestselling author Jamie Beck to Writer Unboxed today! Recently, Jamie asked the opinion of other writers over social media about trigger warnings on novels, and such a robust conversation evolved that it seemed obvious: This would make a great topic to explore on WU. Happily, Jamie agreed to write the piece. From her bio: Jamie Beck...

When Doody Calls (AKA A Telltale Sign of Writerly Procrastination, and What It May Reveal)

Please welcome author and book coach Mary McDonough to Writer Unboxed today! If the name Mary McDonough sounds familiar, it may be because she portrayed Erin on The Waltons for a decade. Mary chronicles her Walton family and life beyond the mountain in Lessons from the Mountain, What I Learned from Erin Walton. Her debut novel, One Year, was published...

Writer Unboxed Turns 17

Therese here. Today marks Writer Unboxed’s seventeenth year. Wow. I think that means WU is off to college soon. In other news, I just popped a new gray hair. A wee bit of history: Writer Unboxed was founded in 2006 by Kathleen Bolton and me. This was the same year Twitter was founded and Facebook opened its doors to the public. On the one hand, we’ve...

Honey I Shrunk the Plot! Learning to Love Synopses

The dreaded synopsis. Let’s be honest, we’ve all complained about writing it. And why not, when compressing a 100k-word novel into three short paragraphs can feel harder than a quantum physics exam? When I wrote my first book, I nearly cried when it came to writing the synopsis. It felt awful, trying to get every ounce of my plot into a snack-sized...

Flog a Pro: Would You Turn the First Page of this Bestseller?

Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page. Here’s the question: Would you pay...

Desmond’s Drops: Pacing

Welcome to a new edition of Desmond’s Drops! This month, enjoy three drops focused on one topic–pacing–each packed with great examples. Pacing Montage Compression Email subscribers, please click directly to writerunboxed.com to view, or visit all of Demond’s Drops on YouTube. Look for more of Desmond’s Drops in March! Have your own...

The Prologue is Past?

One of the more famous prologues, courtesy of Star Wars. I’m all for retiring outdated storytelling techniques.  I don’t miss the puzzle mysteries of the teens and twenties, where the characters were little more than props in complicated, contrived, often implausible mysteries.  Second person narration died with Bright Lights, Big City, and that’s...

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