Some articles may include Amazon affiliate links. All proceeds go help us pay for original stories and support writers of speculative fiction. Read more here.
This week’s top writing advice from around the web for July 11
I subscribe to dozens of writing advice sites and new advice articles come into my news reader at a steady pace. Feedly, is the most popular feed reader, available for all platforms, and the one that I personally use, so when I mention an RSS feed, I’ll include the Feedly link as well.
You can see some of my favorites at my Writing Advice Sites resource page.
Here are the best writing advice posts from this previous week.
Procrastination vs. Real Writing Crisis: How to Tell the Difference by Colleen M. Story
This article was actually published on Writers Helping Writers more than a week ago, on July 1, but I didn’t do this column last Sunday, and this article is really good, so I wanted to include it. Colleen Story is a writing coach. Her latest release, Writer Get Noticed!, was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and Overwhelmed Writer Rescue was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018. Subscribe to the Writers Helping Writers RSS feed on Feedly or another RSS reader so as not to miss anything.
Changing Your Reader’s Perspective by Becca Puglisi
Becca Puglisi is one of the founders of the Writers Helping Writers website and the author of the Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, which has sold over half a million copies. In this article, she talks about how to make an unsympathetic character or idea more sympathetic by having other characters in the story like them. I have a morally bankrupt protagonist in some of my stories, and this post caught my attention because I can probably put this advice to use right away.
This article is a good reminder by author and The Write Practice contributor J. D. Edwin on how to focus on the basics: structure, characters, description, and dialogue. She also offers some practical advice on how to improve those skills. If you want more advice like this, follow J. D. Edwin on Twitter. You can also follow The Write Practice on Twitter, on Facebook, or subscribe to their RSS feed.
How to Become a Successful Writer: 5 Productivity Tools by J. D. Edwin
Another useful overview by J. D. Edwin. The five tools she talks about are having a plan, having a schedule, having a word count goal, using the right writing software, and having a writing support team. Good advice on all counts. I particularly need to work on having a schedule and having word count goals.
Five Simple Ways to Make Your Prose Easier to Read by Chris Winkle
Chris Winkle is the founder and editor-in-chief of Mythcreants, one of my all-time favorite websites for writing advice specific to speculative fiction genres. Get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link). In this post, Winkle has some great tips for anyone editing their own work to make it more readable.
Six Signs of a Weak Throughline by Oren Ashkenazi
This is another post from Mythcreants, and is about how stories are structured. Along with Chris Winkle, Oren Ashkenazi also edits spec fiction manuscripts and the services are in high demand — they currently have a four-month waiting list. Reading this site, and listening to the podcast, is like getting a master’s in writing science fiction and fantasy.
Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 22: How to Use Archetypal Character Arcs in Your Stories by K. M. Weiland
This is the conclusion of a multi-month series of articles by K. M. Weiland about all the major and minor character arcs you can have in a novel. I’ve been following this series closely since her first post back in February: Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 1: A New Series. These articles are a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to get beyond the standard hero’s journey character arc. You know, the one where the hero is offered a quest, the hero refuses the quest, then something happens and the hero goes on the quest anyway, hero works on his personal issues and is thus able to complete the quest, and then the hero goes home. Weiland quite literally wrote the book on the subject: Creating Character Arcs. I recommend the book highly and it’s currently just $3.79 for the ebook version — it’s normally $10.79. You can subscribe to her blog, Helping Writers Become Authors, via its RSS feed, on Twitter, and on Facebook.
How to Stay Motivated and Keep Writing by Laurence MacNaughton
Laurence MacNaughton was a guest columnist this week on one of my favorite writing advice sites, Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. MacNaughton is the author of more than a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories. Check out his website at www.laurencemacnaughton.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter. This article has some great advice about staying motivated, and you should follow the links to the other resources he suggests. For example, I really liked his post about why writers should carry index cards around instead of notebooks. And you can subscribe to the Fiction University RSS feed here, or follow it on Twitter or on Facebook.
5 Steps to Creating a Unique Character Voice by Janice Hardy
Janice Hardy herself hasn’t been idle this week either. In this post, which she guest wrote for the Writers in the Storm blog, she talks about how to make characters sound memorable when they talk, something I’m always struggling with. Writers in the Storm is very well worth following on RSS.
4 Tips for Writing Fantasy Romance by Jennifer Estep
I love Jennifer Estep’s urban fantasy books so I clicked through to this article despite not being a big fan of the mushy stuff. One of the tips she’s got for adding romance to a fantasy book is to have the two characters have similar goals, but be on different teams. I mean, if you have to have romance in a book at all. You can visit JenniferEstep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, BookBub, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter. This post was a guest column for Writer’s Digest. For more advice like this, follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest.
On Pacing: Faster than the Speed of Thought by Donald Maass
Book agent Donald Maass is the author of one of my favorite writing advice books, Writing the Breakout Novel. The guy speaks from experience — a lot of experience — about what makes books sell. In this post, he talks about pacing your writing so that you’re always a step ahead of the reader. If you like his writing, follow him on Twitter and subscribe to the Writer Unboxed, a writing advice site where he writes a monthly column alongside a bunch of other industry luminaries, via their RSS feed or on Twitter.