This week’s top writing advice from around the web for July 18
I subscribe to dozens of writing advice sites and new advice articles come into my news reader at a steady pace. 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. Occasionally I include an RSS feed. To subscribe to an RSS feed, add the feed URL to your RSS reader app. The most popular is Feedly, which is the one that I use. It has a website and mobile apps, and it keeps track of which articles you’ve read, synched across all your devices.
How Romanticism Harms Novelists by Chris Winkle
This article is about one of my favorite topics because I, too, have fallen victim to the myth of the creative writer. I liken it to watching a magic show, deciding to become a magician, then when rabbits don’t magically appear in the hat deciding that you not a “real” magician. Or, if you fake the rabbit and successfully do the trick in front of an audience, you feel like a fraud because you’re not doing it with “real” magic, like all the other magicians. Of course, all the other magicians are faking it. But when you hear them talk about it in public, they all claim magical powers. Of course they do! Magic shows are all about the suspension of disbelief! The audience doesn’t want to know it’s all done with mirrors. Writing is also about the suspension of disbelief. You want to feel like the world the writer is talking about is a real world, and they were magically inspired to write about it, and the characters are real people who spoke to the writers in some kind of mystical way and the writer just wrote down what they said. Anyway, in this post, Chris Winkle traces this fallacy back to the age of romanticism. 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 at Mythcreants.com/feed. In this post, Winkle has some great tips for anyone editing their own work to make it more readable.
Building Age of Myth: How Sullivan Employs the Neolithic by Oren Ashkenazi
This is another post from Mythcreants, and is about the worldbuilding in Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan. Mythcreants contributor 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 Mythcreants podcast, is like getting a master’s in writing science fiction and fantasy.
Co-Creating With AI Writing And Image Tools With Shane Neeley podcast by Joanna Penn
Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn blog and podcast interviews data scientist and software engineer Shane Neeley to “co-create” written content. You can’t have an AI write a book for you yet, but there are some things that AI can already do, such as summarize research or create pieces based on writing prompts. You can read the transcript of the podcast here, . This is also one of my favorite writing advice podcast, and you can subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.
Selling Short Fiction, Part One: The Basics by José Pablo Iriarte
Science fiction and fantasy author José Pablo Iriarte was a guest columnist this week on one of my favorite writing advice sites, Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, where he offers some advice about finding paying markets for your short stories. He’s the Director at Large for the Science fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, but is speaking here personally, not on behalf of the SFWA.
Filter Words in Fiction by Crystal Shelley
I’ve been reading a lot about deep point of view lately — and collecting resources about it for a resource guide I’m putting together for this site — and this article is nice little set of tips for one aspect of writing in deep point of view. That aspect is filter words, also called distancing words. Worlds like “saw” and “felt” and “remembered” that put distance between the point of view character and the reader. Crystal Shelley provides editing services to self-published authors, and also works with traditional publishers as well. Her blog, Rabbit with a Red Pen, is well worth subscribing to, but I can’t find an RSS feed for it, but you can follow it on Twitter.
5 More Writing Tips We Love to Hate by Eldred Bird
Mystery writer Eldred Bird has a guest post on the Writers in the Storm blog, which is very well worth following on RSS. He talks about some common writing rules and when you should, and shouldn’t, be following them. It’s a sequel to a previous post, Five Writing Tips We Love to Hate, which he wrote for the same site in April.
Cliffhanger Meaning 101: What They Are and How Writers Use Them by Joslyn Chase
I like to end chapters on a cliffhanger, but am still learning how to do it right. In this post for The Write Practice blog, suspense writer Joslyn Chase talks about the various types of cliffhangers, and how to do each of them. For more advice like this, follow The Write Practice on Twitter, on Facebook, or subscribe to their RSS feed.
The 8 Types of Conflict (with Examples, Possible Resolutions, and Stakes) by September Fawkes
This is a nice overview of the different conflicts you can have and a nice starting point when first starting a story. September Fawkes is an editor and also serves as a writing coach on WritersHelpingWriters.net, home of the Emotion Thesaurus. For more advice like this, follow Fawkes on Twitter @SeptCFawkes or subscribe to her RSS feed at this link.
Fantasy author Janice Hardy runs my favorite writing advice site, Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. In this post, she warns against overusing the word “try” — and what to do instead. I wasn’t even aware of this before reading the article, but now that I have, I don’t think I’ll ever write the word “try” casually again. Hardy also has several must-have writing guides up on Amazon. You can subscribe to the Fiction University RSS feed here, or follow it on Twitter or on Facebook.
Twelve Story Ending Twists That Don’t Work by Rayne Hall
Some twists have been written to death. In this guest post for Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, fantasy and horror writer Rayne Hall writes about 12 endings you should avoid. There is some great advice here. Hall, in addition to having written more than 70 books herself, is also a publishing manager, short story anthology editor, and writing coach. You can get more of her writing advice on her website or follow her on Twitter.
This is the overview 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 Weiland’s 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.