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grin and bare it

A blog by Matthew Dicks

Two. Period.

By Matthew Dicks | May 19, 2009

In the recent debate over how many spaces should come after a period, I unequivocally come down on the side of two. In the words of this blog’s author, “Taking the extra space away from…

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Bad dialogue

By Matthew Dicks | May 18, 2009

Each time I sit down in front of the laptop, one of my goals is to craft crisp, well-paced, realistic, and original dialogue. A daunting task depending upon the day. I’m much better at this…

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Abbreviated

By Matthew Dicks | May 17, 2009

Another amusing Twitter application: Converting classic novels into 140-character tweets. From the Guardian comes an article about this new medium and this treatment of Pride and Prejudice, one of my wife’s favorite books: Woman meets…

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The good and the bad

By Matthew Dicks | May 15, 2009

I think it’s essential for writers to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Awareness allows writers to take advantage of their strengths while mitigating their weaknesses. In this spirit, here are my three most prominent strengths…

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Fiction set in real life

By Matthew Dicks | May 13, 2009

I read a piece in The Guardian about Project Bookmark Canada. Its mission is to “place permanent markers displaying text from stories and poems in the locations where they take place.” What a novel idea…

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Old man

By Matthew Dicks | May 7, 2009

In her latest series of notes on Unexpectedly, Milo, Taryn indicated that I use the phrase old man quite a lot. Scoffing at the suggestion, I used the Find feature in Word to count the…

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In good company

By Matthew Dicks | May 6, 2009

A while ago, I wrote about Timequake, the last novel by Kurt Vonnegut that I have yet to finish. I’ve been purposely reading the book at a snail’s pace for the past few years, in…

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I pity the publisher…

By Matthew Dicks | May 5, 2009

My agent, Taryn, informed me that after my fourth New York Times bestselling book, I’m allowed to write an entirely character-driven novel without any thought or concern for the plot. This makes Taryn the perfect…

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Characters and their names

By Matthew Dicks | May 4, 2009

Last week, a student asked me for a lesson on creating strong characters for his fiction, including tips on how to generate the names of characters as well. I tried my best to answer some…

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Not acting my age

By Matthew Dicks | April 29, 2009

One added benefit of my recent mention in USA Today was the printing of my age, 38. Many of my friends and colleagues thought that this was a misprint, assuming that I was much closer…

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