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Web Links for
Dreamtime: what to do before you write your novel

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I wanted to share this article with you.

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If you're missing this in your life, I invite you to join the Smarter Artist Facebook community.

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If you have a five-day streak or a two-day slump, let the Smarter Artist FB community know; they will cheer you on or encourage you to keep going.

This article from The Huffington Post, "Just Knowing These 8 Facts Will Make You Way More Productive," is full of helpful information to improve your productivity.  Also this article from Steven Pressfield is quite valuable.

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Today, make time to watch this video and gain a deeper understanding of why I so whole-heartedly embrace this approach (and why you should, too).

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An author could use method writing, similar to method acting, to get into the heads of her characters with whom she has little in common.

An interview with authors Philippa Gregory and Wayne Johnston, in which they discuss writing historical fiction.

Two-time Man Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel discusses her approach to writing historical fiction.

Seven tips on achieving accuracy and authenticity in historical fiction.

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For an overview, check out Wikipedia's description of the subgenres.

A membership in Romance Writers of America (RWA) is well worth considering if this is your genre of choice.

And here's a Goodreads list of the top romance books of all time.

When your manuscript is reaching its final stages, RWA's annual conference may provide you with the right contacts for you to land a traditional publishing contract, if that's your goal.

101 Paranormal Romance Story Starters provides you with a plethora of jump-starts into this popular subgenre.

Nothing makes a writer feel awkward like those first attempts at a steamy sex scene. Get fantastic tips on making your erotic scenes sing in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance.

In Writing the Bestseller, top romance authors talk about reader expectations and how to fulfill them.

Leigh Michaels' On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel that Sells is thorough and extremely helpful to anyone writing in the genre.

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Here's a list of modern Christian fiction authors.

The Christy Awards honor excellence in modern Christian fiction. Check out the recent winners, here.

Here's a Goodreads list of popular Christian fiction.

Deborah Heal discusses how not to write Christian fiction, here.

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If you'd like more information about the upper limit, there is a great article here or you can read The Big Leap.

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You can find more information about literary fiction here and here.

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Ready to be scared silly? Here's Nightmare Magazine's list of the top 100 horror books of all time.

Of course, crafting a tightly woven thriller is easier said than done. Jody Renner's Writing a Killer Thriller explores the components of the genre and how to craft them.

Think writing horror is for you? This compilation of craft essays might be a good fit for your toolbox.

And, while it's not specifically geared for horror, I'd be remiss not to mention Stephen King's excellent craft book, On Writing.

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For an in-depth discussion of what speculative fiction is, check out this article.

Here's a lovely place to start if you want to explore the genre: top science fiction writers choose their favorite science fiction book.

Writers of any flavor of speculative fiction might want to consider membership in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which is, much like Romance Writers of America, a reputable and thriving organization chock full of great resources and contacts.

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 Here are tips for writing children's stories, including theme, plot, structure, characters, and setting.

In this post, a children's author describes her process of creating a children's picture book.

Here are 10 things you might not know about Maurice Sendak.

And here, 10 memorable quotes from Dr. Seuss.

Finally, more quotes about writing for children.

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For more, here's NPR's list of the top 100 young adult books of all time.

This concludes our tour of the genres. To recap, here's a fantastic overview of the genres from Writer's Digest.

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Take all the time today to read through this list of Self-Care Ideas and then choose one or two to experiment with.

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This list of the strangest fact about each U.S. State is bound to inspire a story or twenty.

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This website has the sound of waves, a calming picture, and a two-minute timer.

Read this post featured on Writers Helping Writers.

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Take a look at this collection of outlines to see the variety of approaches to road maps for famous books.

If you want help with this, put aside an hour or three to spend on TV Tropes.

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I love this perspective.

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Every Sunday, PostSecret publishes a new collection of secrets sent by anonymous scribes via postcard.

If you're interested in how all these secrets came into being, check out this captivating TED Talk from PostSecret's own Frank Warren.

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For a deeper investigation of how to ensure your premise is story-worthy, check out this article.

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Setting contributes to where characters fall on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and thus, what they fear and what motivates them.

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Take five-and-a-half minutes right now and watch this TED-Ed video in which author Kate Messner explains how to build a fictional world.

Here is a helpful article, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding."

Additional information and NSFW opinions and wisdom from Chuck Wendig can be found in 25 Things You Should Know About Worldbuilding.

Saladin Ahmed's perspective on world building can be found here.

Start building the fictional elements of your world. Follow this link to SFWA's "Fantasy World Building Questions" by Patricia C. Wrede and answer as many questions as apply to your big project.

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Found Magazine posts pictures of notes, receipts, doodles, and other items that its contributors find out in the world.

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If you need some inspiration, read this story about just such a message.

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Check baby naming sites like Baby Name Genie if you need some inspiration. 

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Check out this website with several links to different questionnaires for uncovering such details.

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To explore the Enneagram and its use in fiction, check out this article. To take a test as your character (or yourself), visit this site. For more information on the Enneagram, visit this site.

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Check out these six easy stretches to relieve overworked arms, five wrist exercises for writers, and tips to prevent hand pain from excessive writing.

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Here is a helpful article that covers the use of past perfect and other tenses for extended flashbacks or remembrances within a flashback.

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Watch this short video of Kurt Vonnegut on the shape of stories.

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Robyn DeHart created a method to develop a character-driven novel that is helpful to both plotters and pantsers.

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Choose three elements from this Periodic Table of Storytelling Elements and craft a suspenseful scene.

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Read this article to help you get you started.

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You can use an actual calendar if your story takes place in real time (here is a perpetual calendar that creates a calendar for almost any year in the past or future).

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Spend some time figuring out what happens in the great swampy middle of your story before you figure out the beginning or ending.

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Check out these stories from FlashShot to see what writers can do in 100 words.

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Check out these pictures from the Topography of Tears, choose one as inspiration, and write for fifteen to twenty minutes.

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To learn more about this method, check out Ingermanson's site here.

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For inspiration, check out Chipp Kidd—one of the industry's foremost book designers—in his brilliant TedTalk "Designing Books Is No Laughing Matter. Okay, It Is."

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Read this story about a reclusive heiress and her empty mansions.