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NaNoWriMo: Midway point!

Amy Leibowitz nanowrimo National Novel Writing Month writing writing advice writing encouragement

Happy Friday, and happy mid-National Novel Writing Month to those who are participating.

This is “over the hump” day, the halfway mark where, for many of us, things begin to flow. We’ve figured out who the Big Bad is, or we know what our hero has to do to finish strong. We’ve had an aha! moment. Words pour out of us like water, and we’re ready to go the distance.

Maybe.

Or maybe we’re ready to scrap the last 25k words because they sound like nonsense, endless babble that goes nowhere....

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Can we use singular “they”?

Amy Leibowitz editing grammar writing writing advice

Ah, the ever-present debate: Is singular they/them grammatically acceptable?

Short answer: Yes.

And now for the longer answer.

It’s a bit more complicated than this, but use of singular they has been around for centuries. The context is different from how we use it now, meaning that probably very few if any English-speakers were using they as a personal pronoun. It’s safe to say, though, that this contemporary use is born from the long history of using it when gender is unknown or irrelevant. For example, “Someone left their umbrella here...

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Tips and Tricks: Audiobooks

Amy Leibowitz audiobooks writing advice

The rise in popularity of audiobooks is a great thing. Books we love are now more accessible to a wider audience. As someone who often prefers listening to reading, I’ve relied on my phone to read to me. Obviously this does not provide the nuances of having a live human do it and is less than idea.

Fortunately, many of my favorite authors offer audiobooks, and my library has a wide selection. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always include my favorite smaller-press and indie authors, as fewer have audio available.

This got me...

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The Dreaded Sex Scene

Amy Leibowitz Blog tips writing advice

This picture of LEGO stormtroopers holding hands amused me.

This may come as a complete shock (or possibly not), but I dislike writing sex scenes. Surprising, maybe, because a fair number (okay, all) of my novels have at least a few.

My method of writing them looks like opening Scrivener, adding a blank scene, and squinting at it for an eternity before closing it and deciding to try again another day. Take two is usually a few vague sentences about who puts what parts where. By version three, I’ve added enough detail to qualify...

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Writing tips: "show, don't tell"

Amy Leibowitz show and tell tips writing writing advice writing encouragement

Everyone's heard "show, don't tell" at least once. It gets passed around in workshops, classes, and critique groups. It takes other forms, too. Sometimes it's labeled as "spoon-feeding" or "info-dumping," depending on the genre. It's probably the most common piece of writing advice ever given.

It's also the most meaningless.

"Show, don't tell" has a somewhat unfortunate history. It may be anti-communist propaganda, and it definitely has

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