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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Oct. 10

By Maria Korolov
(Illustration by Maria Korolov based on image via Pixabay.)

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.

You can see all the previous writing advice of the week posts here and subscribe to the RSS feed for this writing advice series here (direct Feedly signup link).

This week, I’ve decided to divide the list into three categories.

The first, for the beginning writer, is about getting the writing process down. Finding time to write, discovering your own writing rituals, learning how to overcome your inner critics, fighting writer’s block, and how to finish what you start. Experienced writers sometimes hit these speedbumps as well, but they can kill a career for a new writer before it even starts.

Second, for the writer who’s already started getting the hang of the mechanics of getting the words down on paper, is improving the quality of the writing. Of course, you can’t improve writing if you don’t have any to improve, so the previous step is critical. But once you’re getting words down, you can start asking yourself if they’re the right words, or maybe you can find better words. And you can even start thinking about sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters, plots, character arcs — all that stuff that goes into writing readable work. And even experienced writers probably have areas where they can improve, or new things to learn.

Finally, for the writer who’s finished stories or books that are ready for the public, there’s the question of finding your publishing platform, producing the actual book, finding copyeditors and cover artists, marketing, and advertising. For beginning writers these are mostly theoretical questions, but for experienced writers, they are critical for success. And the answers keep changing as the industry changes, so staying on top of things is critical.

So here we go.

Productivity, mood management, and battling the demons inside

6 Unique Ways to Think Up Story Ideas by Ryan Lanz

The trick is to coming up with story ideas is to be ready for an idea when it comes — not just ready with a pen and notebook, but mentally ready to recognize that arandom thought could be a useful idea, says writer Ryan Lanz. If you want more advice like this, follow him on RSS (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath. He’s also the author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller.

Writing and the Creative Life: The Virtues of Spacing Out and Goofing Off by Scott Myers

Some of the best ideas or solutions to story problems arise from unfocused moments, says Scott Myers, the editor of Go Into The Story. For more advice like this, follow Scott Myers on Twitter at @GoIntoTheStory and on Facebook at Go Into The StoryGo Into The Story is the official blog of the screenwriting community The Black List and was just ranked as one of the year’s best screenwriting websites by Writer’s Digest. Also check out his other article this week, Writing and the Creative Life: Your characters want you to tell their story.

Some more articles this week with motivational advice:

The art and craft of writing

Five Stories That Break Their World’s Theme by Oren Ashkenazi

Worlds that feel slapdash make suspension of disbelief harder to achieve. Oren Ashkenazi is a speculative fiction manuscript editor at Mythcreants, my all-time favorite writing advice site for fantasy and science fiction. Reading this site, and listening to the Mythcreants podcast, is like getting a master’s in writing science fiction and fantasy. Get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter @Mythcreants and on Facebook at @mythcreants.  Also this week, check out his other post, Do I Need Religion in My Fantasy World?

Archetypal Antagonists for the Crone Arc: Death Blight and Tempter by K. M. Weiland

Earlier this year, K. M. Weiland wrote a series of articles about Archetypal Character Arcs which quickly became one of my most referred-to articles of the year. Now, she’s doing a new series, about the villains that go along with each of those arcs. Again, I’m betting I’m going to be coming back to these posts over and over. Weiland is one of my favorite writing advice people, and the award-winning author of acclaimed writing guides such as Structuring Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to her blog, Helping Writers Become Authorsvia its RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link). You can also follow her on Twitter @KMWeiland and on Facebook @kmweiland.author.

Sequel Structure According to Swain by September Fawkes

September Hawkes continues to break down scene structure according to Dwight V. Swain, as found in his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. Hawkes is a freelance editor. If you want more advice like this, follow her on her RSS Feed (direct Feedly signup link), follow her on Twitter @SeptCFawkes and on Facebook at September C. Fawkes. Her website is SeptemberCFawkes.com.

The Power of Dilemma in Stories by Stavros Halvatzis

Wherein lies the power of dilemma in stories? What makes for the best dramatic conflict? The two questions are related, says Stavros Halvatzis, a writer and writing teacher. For more writing advice, check out his website at StavrosHalvatzis.com.

Some more articles this week with writing advice:

The business side of writing

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Book Genre for Indie Authors by Nat Connors

Understanding the genre you want to write in is one of the most important elements of being an author. It helps you craft books closer to what your readers want, it helps you be more marketable and hopefully sell more books. But what do you need to know and where do you go looking for that market information? Today, the Alliance of Independent Authors AskALLi team welcomes partner member Nat Connors from Kindletrends to explain how to understand your book genre. The AskAlli team is the group behind Self Publishing Advice, the advice center of the Alliance of Independent Authors. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).

What is Upmarket Fiction? And Book Club Fiction? Are They New Genres? by Anne R. Allen

ookstores don’t have a section designated “Upmarket.” And you’re not going to find it as a category on Amazon, but Anne Allen says it’s a hot genre right now. Allen started her career at Bantam and knows her way around the publishing industry. Allen also writes mysteries and how-to books about writing. For more advice like this, follow her on Twitter at @annerallen, on Facebook at @annerallenauthor, or subscribe to her blog’s RSS feed (direct Feedly link).

3 Shockingly Simple Ways to Improve Your Author Platform by Penny Sansevieri

Some ways to improve your marketing process, using fonts and colors, social media, and book covers.Penny Sansevieri is the CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, an adjunct professor at NYU, and a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Follow her on Twitter at @Bookgal and on Facebook at @therealbookgal. Her book, How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, has just been updated for 2021 and is in Kindle Unlimited.

Some more articles this week with business advice:

New videos

If you prefer to get your writing advice in video form, check out these new video releases on YouTube.


Am I missing any useful writing advice sites or video channels? Let me know in the comments or email me at [email protected].

MetaStellar publisher and news editor Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist who covers artificial intelligence, extended reality and cybersecurity at her day job. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter here. Email her at [email protected].