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Writer's Digest: 2013 Best Writing Websites (2013)

  • By Victoria Mixon

    You know that we talk here all the time about why we do this work we do, what inspires this madness, how writing makes our lives so much more alive.

    So this month let’s talk specifics.

    We’ll start off with the things you know that no one else knows:

    1. What it’s like to be transported

      . . .to a parallel universe of incandescent vision through your own small words.

    2. How it feels to unravel

      . . . the mystery of all human endeavor into a web of light that pulses delicately in your hands.

    3. Everything poignant and heart-rending

      . . .about your protagonist’s’ childhood, which doesn’t fit into the story you have to tell today.

    4. What shadows lie

      . . .in your protagonist’s heart that makes them gesture so gracefully, lie so effectively, turn their head with such sudden tenderness.

    5. Where your villain has been

      . . .to make them burn so deeply, grasp so strongly, care so powerfully about destroying everything that’s ever been against them.

    6. What really occurs

      . . .when the secondary characters go in the other room while the protagonist is watching out the window for the villain.

    7. What hilarious jokes

      . . .those secondary characters are telling in the background during the pivotal bar scene.

    8. All the subtle and complex

      . . . minor subplots going on between the secondary characters that would only distract your reader from following with bated breath your protagonist’s driving agenda.

    9. How every single detail

      . . .looks in every single room in every apartment or house, down to the patterns on the upholstery and the type of wood the coffee table is make out of.

    10. Your protagonist’s favorite

      . . .books and movies, the ones that helped shape their relationship with their world so that their life expands into all those stories that have taught them what it means to be alive.

    11. Your villain’s favorite

      . . .books and movies, the ones that turned these normal people into only partial humans, those who can no longer empathize with the lives of others.

    12. What great or bizarre or utterly distinctive

      . . .clothing your protagonist is wearing in every scene. And why.

    13. What your villain knows

      . . . about hatred and malice that you wish you didn’t know.

    14. In exactly what way

      —although it would disrupt your reader’s epiphany for you to spell it out in so many words—your protagonist and villain understand each other in the final moment, when they face each other across the abyss of their irreconcilable differences.

    15. What lies beyond the hill

      . . .in that panoramic view in front of which your characters enact their mesmerizing climactic scene.

    16. How their dark figures against that view

      . . .epitomize everything you know and feel and believe about the vividness of living.

    17. What your protagonist means

      . . .when they say, “I’ll just let you wonder.”

    18. What your villain means

      . . .when they say, “I don’t have to.”

    19. Where your characters go

      . . .when they walk off the last page.

    20. Just how your protagonist felt

      . . . before it all fell apart, when they were lying in the arms of your own imaginary beloved.

    21. Where your villain hid

      . . the steak knives.





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    Seattle P-I

    The Art & Craft of Fiction
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    A. VICTORIA MIXON: Freelance Independent Editor

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Authors


MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world's expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .


BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by PanMacmillan. Read more. . .


LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .


SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .


STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield's second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .


ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny's debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .


TERISA GREEN, represented by Dystel and Goderich Literary Management, is widely considered the foremost American authority on tattooing through her tattoo books published by Simon & Schuster, which have sold over 45,000 copies. Under the name M. TERRY GREEN, she writes her techno-shaman sci-fi/fantasy series. I am working with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .


GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans' fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .


JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .


LISA MERCADO-FERNANDEZ writes literary novels of love, loss, and friendship set in the small coastal towns of New England. I edited Mercado-Fernandez' debut novel, The Shoebox, and her up-coming The Eighth Summer. Read more. . .


LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star, which agents had told him to throw away. Read more. . .


JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff's abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .


In addition, I work with dozens of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this literary art and craft.

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