Let’s Talk About Writing – Creative Writing Degrees: Yay or Nay?

When you go to Google and type in “Are creative writing degrees…”, the very first auto-fill that pops up is “worth it?” And, it’s a legitimate question. If you’re going to go to college and spend tens of thousands of dollars on a higher education, you want to make sure you’re getting some bang for your buck, right? Because the last thing you want when you leave college is to feel like you not only wasted your money, but your time. I get it. And, having gone through four years of college to graduate with a BA in Fiction Writing, I feel pretty damn qualified to help you make that decision. So, with that said, let’s get started.

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Let’s Talk About Writing – The Shiny Thing

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post titled “The Allure of the Shiny Thing” in which I discussed how I was struggling to write one novel because ideas for a million other novels were vying for my attention. The phrase had been one I’d learned from a professor at Columbia College Chicago, and at the time I was adamant that pursuing the shiny thing was the worst thing I could possibly do. However, recently I actually did give in to the shiny thing. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

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Let’s Talk About Writing – Dust Off Those Vocal Chords

The title says it all. Dust off those vocal chords, because today we’re going to be talking about the benefits of reading your writing aloud!

“But Leighton,” you say, “why would I have to read my writing aloud? The whole point of reading is that it’s done silently.” To that, I say: Tell that to the audio book listeners out there. No, but seriously, this advice that I have to give you has nothing to do with whether your book will be read aloud someday or not (which, it totally will). It has to do with making your book the best it can be. That may also seem confusing, though. Like, how could reading a manuscript aloud make it better? Well, it helps in a few ways. Allow me to enlighten you.

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Let’s Talk About Writing: Cutting Your Manuscript Down to Size

Today we’re going to be talking about one of the most dreaded words to a writer: “Cut.” The word that makes us quake and hug our manuscripts tightly to our chests. “No, please, anything but the cut!” we cry. No matter how much we hate the word “cut,” though, I think we all realize that sometimes there’s just no way around it. Some things just have to be cut.

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Let’s Talk About Writing: Taking a Big Ol’ Info Dump

Info dumps. They plague the writing community, and nobody is immune. Amateurs and professionals alike can find themselves with a bit too much information to give, and when that happens the test of a talented writer is whether or not they can get that info across without leaving it in a messy pile at the reader’s feet. And that’s why I’m here! To teach you the best practices for avoiding the info dump, or for polishing up your info dump when you find there’s no way to avoid it altogether.

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When Great Ideas Collide

This is a phenomenon that has only happened twice in my life now, but MAN do I love it when it does. Basically, what happens is that I’ve been kicking a few ideas around for a while, with one that’s really been drawing my attention more than the others. Still, whenever I try to write it, I can’t seem to get words down, or at least not many. I tend to not even make it past the first page. Then, one day, I suddenly realize that combining a few of these less-developed ideas with my big idea is exactly what I need to make this story work. And then BLAMO! I’ve finally got something I can work with!

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Let’s Talk About Writing: How Much Power Is Too Much Power?

Let me set the scene. The main character steps up to his final showdown with the Big Bad. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. And as the battle starts, the Big Bad immediately gets a leg up on the main character, knocking the weapon from their hand… Except, wait, why is that a problem? The main character has telekinetic powers and can just summon their weapon back into their hand. In fact, why do they need the weapon at all? Can’t they just toss the Big Bad around with their powers? It isn’t like the Big Bad has any powers of their own, or at least not any more than the main character. Really, where’s the tension? This final battle kind of blows. Let’s go get Starbucks instead of watching this shit show…

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Let’s Talk About Writing: It’s All About the L-O-V-E

So everybody knows that this is the month of loooooovvveeee, right? I mean, it’s February. And even though only one day this month is actually about love, you’ll doubtlessly be bashed over the head countless times over the next few weeks about how in love you’re supposed to be and how lame you are if you are, in fact, a single pringle (like myself). Well, don’t worry. I’m not here to shame you for being single. I’m here to shame your characters being single. Because that’s better, right?

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Let’s Talk About Writing: To Prologue or Not to Prologue

Hello, and welcome to the newest series that will be gracing this blog once a month! If you enjoyed “31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep,” you’re going to love this series, because in it we’ll be discussing all of the topics I wasn’t able to squeeze into a month! And I’d like to point out that I’m absolutely open to requests when it comes to the topics of these posts, so feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a tweet or tumblr ask if you have something you’d like me to discuss! Also, if you’re more of an auditory learner, you can hop on over to my YouTube channel and watch the corresponding video to this post here.

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No “Right” Answer? More Debating Over Self vs. Traditional Publishing

I know, I know. We all thought I had my answer. Self-Publishing was definitely the way to go when it came to The Caspian Chronicles, right? Right? Well, maybe not. I don’t know. The last time I was so torn on a decision, I was trying to figure out if I should break up with my high school boyfriend or not (I did). That was three years ago… today, actually. Wow. Time flies. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that apparently this is the time of year when I question my decisions in life, and this year’s dilemma is the self vs. traditional publishing one.

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