Stop with the “Strong Female Characters” Thing

Marie here. Whenever I read the phrase “strong female characters” I immediately imagine a huge, muscular woman wielding a battle axe or something equally threatening. I mean, is she a wrestler? A kickboxer? A soldier? Well, if your character is one of those things then this would be an accurate description. The thing is, people,Continue reading “Stop with the “Strong Female Characters” Thing”

Free-Flow Writing vs Edit as You Go

Marie here. I have often heard “successful” authors giving advice to novices that makes me cringe. One of those that kind of drives me up the wall is “Never edit as you go.” This is one of those things that falls into the whatever-works-for-you category. Some writers need to free-flow write. They need to sitContinue reading “Free-Flow Writing vs Edit as You Go”

CockyGate and Other Matters

Aurora here. By now, I’d venture most of the literary world has heard of CockyGate. In case you haven’t, the short version is that a certain romance author decided to trademark the word “cocky” in romance titles. If you want further information, check out #cockygate on Twitter. Many others have posted and compiled details. ThisContinue reading “CockyGate and Other Matters”

When Not to Kill Off Your Villain

Marie here. Most readers want some kind of closure at the end of a story. Some like the happy ending. Some like the we-aren’t-doing-great-right-now-but-the-future-looks-bright ending. Others, like myself, want a more realistic ending. Many readers were angry at the end of Allegiant. I was okay with it because it made sense. When it comes toContinue reading “When Not to Kill Off Your Villain”

Awesome, Great, Amazing…Blah

Aurora here. Awesome, amazing, great, excellent… What do they really mean in the context of a story? We know either the point-of-view character or the author either loves said thing or thinks said thing is better than mediocre. “The ice cream was great.” “The dress was nice.” While these words are fine in dialogue, asContinue reading “Awesome, Great, Amazing…Blah”

Why I Am A Beta Reader (And Why You Need One)

Marie here. Today I want to talk about beta reading and why you should have a beta reader for every single novel that you publish. A beta reader is a person who will read your unpublished manuscript and point out any issues the story has. Editing and beta reading are similar, but authors usually hireContinue reading “Why I Am A Beta Reader (And Why You Need One)”

What Makes a Likeable Character?

Aurora here. Is it a character who always does what’s right, is always kind, rarely makes any kind of wrong decision? Or if the character does make a bad choice, does it later turn out it was the right choice all along? The kind of character who often shows up as the protagonist of fantasyContinue reading “What Makes a Likeable Character?”

Why I Hate Calibri (And You Should, Too)

Aurora here. Calibri, a relatively innocuous sans serif, has trickled into mainstream use, caused in part by Microsoft Word making 11-point Calibri its default font. Many ignore the formatting guidelines and trust Word to make the selection for them, even though, more often than not, 12-point font is requested. When someone ignores the formatting guidelines,Continue reading “Why I Hate Calibri (And You Should, Too)”