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Be Great

Robert Russell said that there’s no secret to being great. You simply do little things in a great way, everyday.

What are the little things that writers can do in a great way, everyday?

For starters, we can learn to master the scene. It’s the basic building block of story and, relative to the size of a novel, is fairly small.

But we can drill down even further. Each scene is made up of five elements which Shawn Coyne, the creator of Story Grid, calls the five commandments of storytelling; the inciting incident, the progressive complications (which build to a turning point), the crisis, the climax and the resolution.

What would happen if we took the time to write these little things in a great way, everyday? How would the quality of our writing improve? How would that help us be great at what we do?

Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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