January 10, 2024

Five New Year’s Resolutions Every Writer Should Embrace

By Paul Goat Allen

A new year is the perfect time to set some new goals, or establish better habits that will improve and enrich your life. Writers, in particular, are very much goal-oriented, self-motivated people who thrive on setting lofty goals and striving to achieve them. For those of you hoping to make […]

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November 2, 2023

Two Reasons to Avoid the Info Dump Trap at All Costs

By Paul Goat Allen

Let’s get right to it. Info dumps are called “dumps” for good reason—using them is a sure way to turn the commercial viability of your novel into garbage.

It’s one of the most frequent criticisms of our BlueInk reviewers—and has been for years—but writers just don’t seem to grasp how […]

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September 26, 2023

Truth Bomb: Talent Has Very Little To Do with Writing Success

By Paul Goat Allen

I watched a presentation recently given by Mike Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he said that talent has very little to do with success in football. “It’s not what you’re capable of, it’s what you’re willing to do. I know plenty of people that are capable. […]

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September 6, 2023

Too Much Information! Two Big Reasons Not to Over-explain Your Novel

By Paul Goat Allen

Over-explanation in storytelling is always a big red flag—in large part because it reveals to the reader one of two (very bad) things: either the author doesn’t have confidence in their own writing ability, or they don’t think that their poor ignorant readers will understand the brilliance of their own […]

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June 14, 2023

The One Mistake that is Guaranteed to Tank Your Novel

By Paul Goat Allen

As a reviewer—and a graduate writing instructor—my biggest red flag, the one thing that warns me of a truly terrible reading experience ahead, is the inundation of grammatical errors.

It makes my blood boil just thinking about it.

Ever read a novel that includes hundreds of grammatical errors? Shocking, […]

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May 17, 2023

The One Big Evolutionary Step in Writing that You Need to Know!

By Paul Goat Allen

In the almost three decades that I’ve been a book critic, and the 50 years that I’ve been a hard-core reader, I’ve seen genre fiction—and fiction in general—evolve in radical and remarkable ways. Watching the rise of genre fiction hybridization (novels that blend together seemingly disparate genre fiction elements) has […]

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November 21, 2022

Why Your Novel’s Cover Art is Even More Important Than Ever

By Paul Goat Allen

As someone who has been in the self-publishing business for decades—from purchasing titles for a national book chain to reviewing thousands of self-published titles for Kirkus, BlueInk, etc. to interviewing countless self-published authors for various sites—I’ve seen cover art quality for self-published titles increase exponentially over the last few decades […]

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November 9, 2022

The Ending is Everything! Is Your Novel’s Conclusion Strong Enough?

By Paul Goat Allen

Straight from the files of Stating the Obvious comes the next BlueInk blog about the monumental importance of a novel’s conclusion. It’s a no-brainer, right? Your novel needs a memorable ending in order to have any chance at commercial success.

But then why do so many novels have weak conclusions?

[…]

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