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Run a Google search for “character profiles” and you’ll pull-up lot’s of character worksheets and questionnaires. Some of them are really basic, asking your character’s favorite color or if he ever had a pet. Others delve into character background – sometimes tracing steps all the way back to the character’s immigrant great, great grandparents.

But what if we took a real world approach to character profiles?

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Are you pitching your book to an agent or publisher at a writer’s conference?

A pitch is a short, private session with an assigned editor or agent. You’ll probably get about five minutes and you’ll want to be organized. So how do you prepare? Here are three actions you can take to be ready to make a strong, memorable impression.

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Writing a mystery is fun, but tricky. It takes some planning. Think about it. When a real criminal rushes into murder, he ends up getting caught. A mystery novel’s equivalent to getting is caught is the reader figuring out whodunit before the sleuth. And when that happens, it’s not just the victim that winds up dead – so does your book. So how do you keep your book out of the morgue? It takes thorough planning. (a.k.a. The Outline)

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Dear JC,

I am a beginning writer that is trying to do a final edit on my novel, and I have a question and would like honest advice. What is the most efficient and effective way of doing a final edit before I publish it? I don’t have the money to hire a professional editor, so I’m looking for something I can do on my own.

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Sometimes I feel more excited about the reviews on my books than the checks from Amazon. To an extent, I’m sure every author feels the same way. However, it can be tough getting readers to write one. Personally, it looks like my numbers for ‘Prey of Desire’ are one review in twenty sales.

So if you’re like me and looking for a way to increase reviews, here are a few tips I’ve found that work:

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I just found this book and I want to know where it’s been hiding. It’s a brainstorm of ideas for creating unique, interesting characters. And, as you know, I always say, “Readers may open the book for the plot, but they stay for the characters.”

‘Writer’s Guide to Character Traits’ is written by a practicing psychiatrist and writer, Linda N. Edelstein Ph D. I have the second edition (which is available on Amazon for under $16 by clicking here). Honestly, I can’t put it down and I’m now trying to come up with stories to put some new character ideas into

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Hi JC,

Have you ever written a bad review for someone’s book? I only write reviews on books I like and say nothing if I don’t like it. However I think I just finished the worst book ever written. This book is a case study in how NOT to write a novel. The author in me says, “It’s not my place to say something bad about another author’s work.” The reader in me says, “Warn people not to spend $2.99 on this mess.”

So what should I do?

Confounded Critic

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I’ve been reading some Indie novels in a GoodReads review group and I’ve noticed several common writing mistakes. Some of them seem very remedial for published authors, and I wanted to call them out on it. Instead, I held back. So, I’m going to post them here.

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We all know that suspense builds as danger approaches. Expanding on that concept, a suspenseful story puts characters that the reader cares about in jeopardy. It makes for a great scene or, even better, a page-turning chapter. Now, to create suspense in the novel as a whole, the author must gradually turn-up the heat. There’s an arc that leads the plot upwards on the Bad to Worse to Impending Disaster escalator. So, if the Princess […]

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Hi JC,

One of my goals this year is to start a website – I just purchased my domain name on a whim, but… now what? I thought by purchasing my own domain I could just hook it up to a FREE online website builder software, but when I go to the usual recommended ones (web.com, wix, weebly, etc.) it looks like I still have to pay a monthly fee to use my own domain? I thought the point of my already BUYING a domain was so I could set up a site for free?

Am I misunderstanding this? HELP!

Sincerely,

A Muddled Muggle

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