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Top 10 of 2012

I almost didn’t think about doing this here, but since I love data, I was really interested to see which of my posts from 2012 were the most popular. I’m pretty pleased with the results, since I worked pretty hard on some of these!

10. Everything you ever wanted to know about character arcs
Why characters need to show growth, and how to do it in each phase of your story

9. Fixing the top 10 gesture crutches
Strategies for replacing, removing or strengthening the most overused gestures (including smile, nod, shrug and more)!

8. Goals in fiction, on every level
Characters need goals on all levels of the story, from the whole story to the scene. Find out how to get more out of those goals (and set them in the first place!

7. Tracking your blog: using Blogger or WordPress.com stats
I have to admit, I’m pretty surprised that only one Marketing Monday post made the list—and doubly surprised that it was this one. (Can I just say that Google Analytics is a more robust, complete option for tracking your blog?)

6. Handling multiple POVs: Third person
With more than one POV character, it’s important to make sure our transitions between narrators are both clear and smooth. Read up on quickly orienting your readers (and you!) in a POV character’s head!

5. Plotting a novel with a beat board by Ali Cross
A guest post from my friend Ali Cross, and an addition to my most popular series on plotting, this method uses a classic film beat board outline and Blake Snyder’s beat sheet to create a visual plot.

4. Writing crutches: How to avoid overusing the most common gestures!
Those overused gestures—smile, laugh, nod, shrug, sigh, etc.—can sap the power from our writing. Learn the basic methods of how to avoid them! (Or fix them in revision with #9!)

3. Mass editing with Word Macros
You can harness the power of Word to help find all those gesture crutches, too. Instead of clicking “Find” fifty thousand times, this little bit of code automatically pulls all the sentences using whatever words or gesture crutches you specify into a new document. Then you can read, search, look for patterns and edit! This (and the class that generated it) was my biggest writing lesson of 2012!

2. Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat plotting method by Ali Cross
Another guest post by my friend Ali Cross! She introduced me to Blake Snyder’s work and I’ve learned a lot from reading his books. It was only natural that Ali be the one to write up his beat sheet outlining method!

1. Plot Driven vs. Character Driven: I do not think it means what you think it means.
You can use the terms however you want, but technically, “plot driven” and “character driven” don’t have much to do with which one you thought up first or who’s “running” the story. Learn more about these frequently misused terms!

Also cool in 2012!

The awesome Trisha, frequent commentator here, named me one of her top blogs of 2012!

Next week, I’ll pass this award along to my favorite writing advice blogs!

What was your biggest writing lesson in 2012?? Come join the discussion!

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