July 9, 2019
Does Your Art Imitate Your Life? If not, Why Bother?

In life, we never achieve anything meaningful without overcoming some fear or wound from our past and giving up some thought or behavior pattern that keeps us locked into one plane of existence. And it takes test after test, try after try, opportunity and failure after opportunity and failure before we finally throw up our […]

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June 8, 2019
Cristen's Wish List: Fiction Projects

I'm actively looking for thought-provoking and nuanced literary, upmarket, and Southern Gothic (grit lit) fiction projects. I help clients develop high-stakes fiction that moves: clear goals, conflict, strong character development, interesting protagonists, complex antagonists, and situations that drive the story. I’m particularly interested in nuanced stories with a strong sense of place, where setting and […]

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June 8, 2019
An Interesting Story Requires an Interesting Antagonist: Example from Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Underground Railroad, offers an excellent example of the relationship required between the protagonist and antagonist to craft a page-turning, stick-with-the-reader story. The Underground Railroad tells the story of (no spoilers ahead) a runaway slave girl's journey from the plantation she'd been forced to call home across the antebellum South […]

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April 2, 2019
Client Etaf Rum's Debut Novel Is a New York Times Bestseller!

I’m very grateful and proud to have been part of this project and hope that A Woman Is No Man opens hearts and minds and empowers all who read it. New York Times Bestseller   #9 Amazon Bestseller (#1 in Cultural Heritage Fiction, #5 in Family Life Fiction, #5 in Women's Domestic Life Fiction) 5/3/2019 […]

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June 5, 2016
Don't Rush the Plot

As a developmental editor, I look for many things when I evaluate a manuscript. Point of view (POV) and perspective Verb tense Rhythm and pacing Consistencies and inconsistencies Plot Story Character development Genre Length Marketability These are big picture things. Forests, not trees. All of these things are important, but this post is going to […]

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April 5, 2015
How to Develop Fictional Characters

HOW DO YOU DEVELOP FICTIONAL CHARACTERS WHEN YOU WRITE? Marlie Harris, a fellow Boise area writer, said and asked the following on one of her blog posts: “I would love to read your thoughts on characters, fictional or not, and how you search then find them. Are they memorable? Do you wish you could no […]

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recent blog posts

With few exceptions, I promote only my clients and their books. But when I have the opportunity to introduce you to true experts and scientifically

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Plant-Based Diet

This article was first published by Unbound Northwest who I thank for supporting my work.   The much-anticipated documentary “The Game Changers” hit theaters on

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This article was first published by Unbound Northwest who I thank for supporting my work.   The digital nomad, RV, and tiny house lifestyles are

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I work on a lot of self-help and personal and professional development books. One problem I see often is too much focus on the problem, forcing

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