53: Nature’s Realm – Set the Stage (2)

This is part 2 of a 6-part series on Worldbuilding entitled “Natures’ Realm: Set the Stage.” Discover ways to exploit the setting of your story for plot points and sources of conflict to make your novels more engaging and immersive.

Accompanying YouTube video: https://youtu.be/_dl7rvWseqg

Question of the week: How does the place you set your stories add to the plot and enhance conflict?

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Links:

WritingPursuits.com

Instagram: @WritingPursuitsPodcast

Three Story Method Certified Editor

KathreseMcKee.com

Mailerlite (affiliate link)

YourFirstChapter.com

Transcript
Kathrese McKee:

This is the second of a six part series on

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world building. Last week, we talked about building better

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worlds and why it matters. So I hope you can go back and find

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that episode. It will also be in the show notes. Today we'll be

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talking about nature's realm, set the stage and make sure that

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you tune in for next week for society's rules, bend them,

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break them, because I know you're going to enjoy that. This

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is kind of a side note to that, setting us both time and place.

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Today we'll talk about place for next time, it's more about when

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a story is said, and what that means for your story. So if

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you're an audio listener, I'll do my very best if you're more

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of a visual learner, I hope you'll tune into the YouTube

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channel to watch because I have some visual cues for you, I will

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do my best to be descriptive and clear a writing precedes

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authors. Welcome back to the podcast. To those of you who are

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new, I want to extend a special welcome. My name is Kathrese.

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McKee. And I'm glad you're here. If you are a writer seeking

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encouragement, information and inspiration, this podcast is for

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you. Let's get to it. world building Series Part two natures

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realm where we're setting the stage. And basically we're

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talking about environment and its impact on your story.

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Because there is a wealth of plot ideas, conflict, and all

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kinds of ideas that you can glean from the environment that

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you choose for your story. And I know that this is all about

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Earth. I'm talking mostly about Earth examples. But most of

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these things can be applied to fictional worlds as well. So

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environment includes landforms water features like oceans,

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lakes, and rivers, ponds, streams, and so forth. Eddie's

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grottoes atmosphere, whether it's a breathable atmosphere or

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not, or clean or polluted, and space, and I included that

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because we're not limited anymore to just the atmosphere

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of Earth. So we have to think about what it might be like in

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outer space, our landforms on Earth span the gamut. We have

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deserts, which are just very difficult survival situations,

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lack of water possible, intense heat and cold and just a nice,

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easy way to get lost as well. Not very many features to keep

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your eyes on and not very many resources to use for survival.

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So you just have to be really good and well prepared. And then

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we have forests, we have swamps, which are full of creatures and

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hidden peril. We have, like I said, forests like in the

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Northwest, and jungles like at the equator, open fields and

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plains rocky outcroppings like the Rocky Mountains, and the

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Grand Canyon, we have the Arctic with the Northern Lights, and

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more more nighttime than daytime at points in the year. And then

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we have under underwater, perhaps your story is set in the

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ocean depths. One of my favorite stories growing up was Jules

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Verne, and 20,000 leagues under the sea. I love that book.

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Because it was even though we already had some rains, by the

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time I read it, I just felt like he did such a great job of

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imagining it, or the Alps. And then finally there's outerspace,

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which is the final frontier, right? So you have to think

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about what all these environments have to do with

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your story and the great amount of natural plot points you can

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draw from your environment, both conflict related hardship

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related, just things that spring naturally, from the natural

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realm. several aspects come directly from the environment,

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and one of the first ones is climate. So if you are in a

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forest in the northwest, you're going to be subject to lots of

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rain, there's going to be a lot of cloud cover green as you can

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get, but maybe not a lot of sun may be kind of cool, always

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needing a sweater, needing shelter the West Plains of

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Texas, you're going to have lots of wind, sometimes it's going to

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be very cold. Sometimes it's going to be very hot, but

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there's incessant wind, and I have a tumbling Tumbleweed here.

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People ask if that's real it It certainly is. You might be in

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the Arctic Circle and have a lot of darkness. And that would be

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part of the climate. You're always having to have light and

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maybe protection from the cold. You might be in a rainy

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environment or be subject to flooding or it could be the you

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know everybody's ideal is a tropical island with the clear

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water and the swaying palm trees and the wonderful sand and then

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finally again, you might have the perils of space because

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space is full of radiation. It's cold. Of course it is void For

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breathable air, so you always have to think about that that is

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part of its climate it let's keep thinking about what that

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means because then that immediately dictates habitat. So

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in space, you're going to have to have a habitat to stay alive

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or you could be like the Anasazi who had their cliffs dwellings

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which are very fascinating in the the creativity they use to

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build these very fantastic dwellings up in the cliffs of

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New Mexico. We have stories that are set in vast caverns, I

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remember in particular, Eragon had a vast cavern, city

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stronghold sort of thing. I'm talking about humans generally.

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But remember that this could apply to non human characters as

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well. And humans dwell anywhere from little, quaint little

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villages, and in Britain, and small towns and Texas to castles

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and temples in Asia, and giant cities that are vast and spread

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out and light, the night sky, all of those things have

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something to do about your story, they will influence your

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story. If you set your story in LA, that is way spread out. Or

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in New York, which is crammed together in a very, very tight

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space, it will change the story, depending on how you have set

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your story. It's freeing directly from your environment,

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your natural environment, climate, and so forth are

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potential natural disasters, it might appear in your stories in

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particular, like if you're in an earthquake zone, you're going to

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have volcanic eruptions, you're going to have tsunamis, you're

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going to have of course, earthquakes, there may be

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avalanches, if you're in a mountainous zone. And if you're

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on a coastal plain, you may be subject to frequent flooding.

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And then we're all subject to something we don't talk about

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much an electromagnetic pulse or a solar flare, that could

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definitely rock our world. So all of these things are

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potential natural disasters. And another one that is very current

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right now is tornadoes and spring storms hurricanes in the

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middle of the summer. And so just mind those potential

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disasters as a great way to build plot for your story

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directly related also to environment is natural resources

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and natural resources have driven conflict throughout human

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history, something we should be very aware of. So even if you're

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in outer space, many of the stories in science fiction are

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set around trying to mine natural resources from like

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asteroids, and other planets, trying to bring that build

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wealth in that way, or bring rare elements to earth, then we

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also have to think about other resources, like what we're going

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to eat grain and leaves and so forth, how we're going to feed

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ourselves and raise animals. And then we might be also logging,

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as in creating, you know, lumber for homes, a building, or fires,

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and so forth. And then also mining for minerals, and

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crystals and rare earth materials and pumping oil or

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deep sea fishing, we might also have the natural resource that

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we don't even think about running water for hydroelectric

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power. So all of these things are are things to consider is

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especially if you're building a world that you need to think

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about what are the natural resources? And why do people

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strive for them? How are they important? What can they do to

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lend conflict your story because I guarantee you most of the wars

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in history have been over the natural resources, who's going

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to get rich, and how they're going to be distributed? So

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think about that. Writing pursuits is run by Kathrese.

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McKee, who has been trusted by fiction authors since 2014. To

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take their writing to a new level of excellence. Guthrie's

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is a three story methods certified editor who specializes

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in story diagnostics, coaching, and line editing to help you

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prepare your story for the journey ahead. For more

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information, go to writing pursuits.com.

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The link is in the show notes. And now, back to the podcast.

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coming right out there with your natural environment is the life

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forms on your planet. The first one of course is your humans. We

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come with so many varieties don't we endless, endless

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possibilities just with humans. But there's many other life

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forms that can add color and richness to your story. Among

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them are plants and animals of course and don't forget the

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bacteria. We have Andromeda Strain. We have the virus it

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just ravaged our planet and it continues to do so and many

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others that are also of concern. We have plants that are both

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beneficial and poisonous. We have medicinal plants and those

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that are poisonous. We need to think about where our food comes

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from the grains, the berries, the seeds leaves, and so forth

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that we eat the roots. And you have to think about these things

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for your planet, also, your world, what is common in your

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culture, what is common in the place that you set your stories

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in. And then don't forget other kinds of life forms that are a

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little less common and may not actually exists anymore, such as

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dinosaurs, or orcs, or fairies, or, you know, let's see vampires

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and werewolves, all the horror story characters. And then we

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have dragons which we wished existed, but um, we're glad they

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don't. And so that's kind of what I wanted to talk about

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today is just a quick overview of the natural environment you

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might set your story in and some of the things to think about. So

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today we talked about environment landforms, water

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resources, space, we talked about atmosphere, habitats,

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climate, potential natural disasters, we also talked about

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life forms, including humans, but also to include plants and

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animals, bacteria, and other natural life forms like that.

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And then maybe supernatural creatures as well. Things that

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don't exist anymore that are imaginary and wondrous and

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great, great ideas for your stories. Anyway, those are all

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sprang from the natural world, natures realm. So that's all I

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have for today. Until next time, keep writing. Thank you for

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joining us today. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a

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comment and follow the podcast. If you're new around here. I

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hope you will sign up for the weekly newsletter writing

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pursuits. Tips for authors that link and all the links mentioned

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in today's episode are in the show notes at writing

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pursuits.com. Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and

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keep writing my friends. Keep writing

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