The 2022 Wrap Up: What Are Your Goals for 2023?
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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3w ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy It’s a new year, and time to take a look back on what we accomplished, and set new goals for 2023. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are starting off 2023 with new vigor and purpose. As for me, well, I feel kinda bad for 2023. I have such expectations for it. It’s unfair of me to put so much pressure on it to be a better year than 2022 (or let’s be honest here—better than the past five years), but I’m doing it anyway. I’m ready for more positivity and optimism in my life, and I’m hoping this new year will arrive with some ..read more
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On the Road: 3 Easy Tips to Help You Revise Your Novel
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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1M ago
I'm guest posting over at Writers in the Storm today, chatting about ways to revise your novel. Come on over and say hello! Here's a sneak peek: 3 Easy Tips to Help You Revise Your Novel While there’s something exciting about writing a first draft, I always look forward to the revisions. It isn’t until I see how my story unfolds that I fully understand where I can make it stronger, and turning that literary lump of coal into a diamond is quite rewarding–and a lot of fun. I won’t lie, it’s also a lot of work, but well worth it. The list-maker in me has a whole folder filled with revision tip ..read more
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3 Ways to Connect Your World to Your Story
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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2M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Your story’s world can create unique problems for your protagonist. Every story starts a different way—not in the “Once upon a time” aspect, but in how the idea first comes to you. Maybe it’s a line of dialogue, or a character, or a puzzle that needs to be solved. Something flashes through your brain and ignites a spark of imagination that you just have to explore further. For my novel, The Shifter, the idea of a boy who could shift pain came first, and a world where that would be a problem. It quickly led to the creation of pain merchants who bought and sold p ..read more
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How to Make Readers Care About Your Protagonist—and Your Plot
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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2M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy If you’re struggling with a lagging story, a lack of character agency might be the reason why. A helpful-yet-brutal piece of critique feedback is “Why should I care?” Why should readers care about the character, the conflict, or the story in general? Why should they read this novel you’ve worked so hard to create? “Because it’s my novel and I love it” might be true, but sadly, no one outside our friends and family accept that as a reason. And sometimes, not even then if we have honest critique partners. Potential readers are lost every day to novels that might ..read more
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5 Ways to Revive a Manuscript That Doesn't Work
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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3M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Difficult manuscripts often need tough love and hard choices to make them work. Last year, I had three manuscripts for novels that didn't work. They were all stories and concepts I loved, but the drafts got less-than-stellar feedback. But I wasn't willing to give up on those stories, because I believed in them, even while they tried to kill me and my muse. Some of them have been waiting years for me to figure out how to fix them. It took me a while, but I have a good feeling about all three of them now. Idea #1 I threw out and started over from scratch. I even ..read more
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The Catalyst for Character Change: The Dark Night of the Soul
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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4M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy The worst moment for your protagonist is one of the best moments for your reader. A character who truly earns their victory—whatever that may be—is one readers will root for and remember. That’s often why they read the book in the first place. They want to watch a character struggle and overcome their problems and learn something from the experience. Even if that something is, “the best weapon to put down zombies.” Typically, the change is more character-focused and draws from the protagonist’s emotional core, but a Dark Night of the Soul happens in plot-heavy ..read more
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Take the Work Out of Writing a Scene
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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5M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Don’t try to write the whole scene at once. Last week, I was having a bit of trouble writing a scene for a new book. I’d been away from writing in general, and this book in particular for a while, so I was no longer in the writing flow. I had my outline summary, I knew what the scene entailed, I just couldn’t start it. So I did what I always do when a scene doesn’t want to start. I took my summary and turned it into the individual moments that made up the scene. This is as easy as just hitting a hard return after a line, and turning my summary into something c ..read more
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How Writing a Novel Is Like Gardening
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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5M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Grow your novel into something beautiful. For every orchid or African violet that takes meticulous care and stringent rules to thrive, there are wildflowers that bloom along the side of the road that just wound up there, blown on the wind. Each flower is beautiful, but every one found life through a different path. Novels are the same way. They usually have to grow into beauty, often from a steaming pile of, um…fertilizer. Luckily, even if you’re a terrible gardener (like me), you can still write a great novel. Because… Not every (story) seed requires the sam ..read more
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Fiction University Is Back from Hiatus
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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5M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy With some changes and updates, and more on the way. Life is a funny thing. I went on hiatus last November to deal with my husband’s health issues, fully expecting to be blogging again by summer of 2022. I also thought the downtime would allow me to update the site, and do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do with it for years. That totally didn’t happen. Happy Cancerversary! Mostly, because it took a whole lot longer to physically and mentally recover from “The Worst Year of Our Lives” than I thought it would. But that year officially ended on Ju ..read more
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Fiction University Is on Hiatus Until 2022
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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1y ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy This is the last post for a while.  I've been struggling with this for weeks now, and finally accepted that I needed to close up shop and go on hiatus for the foreseeable future. As of today, there will be no new posts on Fiction University.  Don't worry though--the site will still be here and you'll be able to read any of the 3,000+ posts on it as usual, I just won't be posting anything new, nor will I be keeping up with guest authors or the weekly diagnostics. I'll likely be slow to answer emails and comments, though I'll do my best. I had hoped t ..read more
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