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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Oct. 24
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.
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
3 Tips From My Failure As an Author by Kelsie Engen
In this guest post for A Writer’s Path, authors are sensitive creatures and constant self-comparison only leads to depressed feelings and thoughts of inadequacy, says writer and editor Kelsie Engen. For more about her, check out her website, KelsieEngen.com. And if you want more advice like this, subscribe to A Writer’s Path via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath.
Want to Know How to Be a More Creative Writer? Get a Hobby by Megan Tyson King
In this guest post for the Barefoot Writer, Megan Tyson King suggests that if you don’t have a hobby, you might want to get one because it can make you a more creative writer — among other benefits. King is writer, coach and speaker. Follow her on Twitter at @youradventurous, on Facebook at @youradventurouslife, or check out her website, Your Adventurous Life. BarefootWriter is an online community focused on helping people make money with freelance writing, sponsored by the American Writers & Artists Institute. Subscribe to their RSS feed (directly Feedly link here), or follow them on Twitter at @BarefootWriters or on Facebook at @BarefootWriterMagazine.
The Benefits of Writing SMART Goals by Ellen Buikema
In this guest post for Writers in the Storm, Ellen Buikema explains how to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Buikema writes non-fiction and YA fantasy. For more about her, check out her website, EllenBuikema.com or follow her on Facebook at @ecellenb or on Twitter at @ecellenb. Writers in the Storm is a great site for writing advice, with a group of regular contributors and guest writers who post frequently. It is very well worth following on RSS (direct Feedly signup link).
In this guest post for Kiingo, Lucie Ataya suggests that limiting the use of social media can help writers improve their mental health. Ataya is the author of a dystopian thriller and the founder of The Indie Writers Collective, an initiative dedicated to promoting indie authors and their work. Kiingo is a writing and storytelling school with online courses, how-to articles, and the book The Structure of Story. Follow them on their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter here, on Facebook here, or support them on Patreon. Also check out Ataya’s other post this week for Kiingo, Social Media for Writers: The Writer Life and Instagram Burn-Out.
If we approach a creative task from someone else’s mindset, we minimize whatever pressure we typically bring to bear on ourselves, 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 Story. Go 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.
In this guest post for diyMFA, fantasy writer Angela Yeh offers some tips to overcome procrastination and get started writing, such as giving yourself some time to play. Follow her on Twitter at @thatpluckygirl. For more advice like this, follow diyMFA on Twitter at @DIYMFA and on Facebook at @DIYMFA or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link). DiyMFA offers classes, advice articles and other training materials for writers.
What Are the 6 Different Types of Editing? by Tiffany Yates
When you reach the editing phase of your manuscript, it’s important to know what kind of editing you’re looking for in particular. In this guest post for Writer’s Digest, author Tiffany Yates breaks down the six different types of editing. 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.
How to Self-Edit Without Being Overwhelmed by Elzevera Albada Jelgersma
Self-editing coach and NaNoWriMo guest author Elzevera Albada Jelgersma offers a few tips to surviving the self-editing process, including taking lots and lots of breaks. For more advice like this, check out her website, Willow Editing and pick up a copy of her free self-editing checklist. NaNoWriMo is the official website of the National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November.
How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo: 7 Helpful Resources by Nicole Bianchi
Author, copywriter and writing teaching Nicole Bianchi shares a lot of resources in this post, including links to other blog posts, exercises, videos, and writing app reviews. For more like this, subscribe to her YouTube channel, check out her website, NicoleBianchi.com, or follow her on Twitter at @NicoleJBianchi or on Facebook at @nicolejbianchi.
I Found My Voice by Blogging to an Audience of Two by Meg Dowell
In this guest post for A Writer’s Path, freelance writer Meg Dowell says that for the first year of her blog, she only had two readers, but the blog still served a purpose, in that it helped her find her writing voice. Dowell is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow her on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things or check out her website, MegDowell.com. And if you want even more advice like this, subscribe to A Writer’s Path on RSS (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath.
NaNoWriMo: Making the Most of Community by Moriah Richard
Books, much like children, sometimes take a village. In this post for Writer’s Digest, managing editor and WriMo participant Moriah Richard offers tips for engaging with your online and in-person NaNoWriMo community. 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.
Stacking projects by Scott Myers
One key to the screenwriting craft is learning how to manage several projects at once 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 Story. Go 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 post this week, The Curse of Shiny Object Syndrome.
6 Ways Tabletop Gaming Can Help Improve Your Writing by Whitney Carter
In this guest post for A Writer’s Path, fantasy author Whitney Carter says that being a dungeon master or tabletop gamer can help improve your improv skills, build characters, and build worlds, among many other things. And if you want more advice like this, subscribe to A Writer’s Path on RSS (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath.
Some more articles this week with motivational advice:
- There are no screenwriting rules by Scott Myers
- “Don’t think… feel” by Scott Myers
- Mistakes to Avoid During NaNoWriMo by Cali Keys
- Plot Twist Story Prompts: Big Deception by Robert Lee Brewer
- Clarity if the key to great writing by William Zinssner
- Your Character Needs a Goal by Margo Dill
- When Do You Stop Writing? by Cinelle Barnes
- The Dynamics of Creative Procrastination by Joy Samuel
- Is Writing a “Muscle”? Should You Write Every Day? by Lev Raphael
- How to Prep for NaNoWriMo: 7 Ways to Make Sure You Crush Your Goals by Jackie Pearce
- What Doom Patrol Taught Me About Storytelling by Michael Gallant
- A Writer’s Greatest Super Power by PJ Parrish
- When Writing Stops Being Fun by Alta Krige
- Writer’s Burnout: 6 Helpful Ways Any Writer Can Use to Overcome Burnout by J. D. Edwin
The art and craft of writing
Character Karma by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock
Character karma is the invisible force that makes it feel like characters deserve good things or bad things, and it’s important to understand if you want a satisfying ending to your story. In this podcast, Mythcreants’ Oren Ashkenazi and Chris Winkle discuss what character karma is, how it’s generated, and why Data made dramatic mistakes, even if he didn’t make literal ones. Chris Winkle, the founder and editor-in-chief of 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.
The Problem With Multiple Viewpoints by Chris Winkle
In theory, using multiple viewpoints allows writers to benefit from the immersion of close limited narration without giving up the opportunity to narrate the thoughts of side characters, says Mythcreants founder and editor-in-chief Chris Winkle. By including a character’s viewpoint, writers can help their audience get to know that character more intimately and understand where they’re coming from. But in practice, she says, multiple viewpoints have become synonymous with multiple stories thrown into the same book for very little reason. Mythcreants is 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.
How symbolic ascension makes your story universal by Stavros Halvatzis
How Useful Are Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing? by Oren Ashkenazi
Writers love to offer lists of rules for writing, especially if they’ve got a book to promote. Elmore Leonard has a list, but only five of the eleven rules in his book, 10 rules of writing, are even somewhat useful, says Oren Ashkenazi, 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.
Relationship Thesaurus Entry: Service Provider and Customer by Becca Puglisi
This is a detailed description of the relationships between service providers and customers, and all the different ways they can be instrumental in advancing a story by adding conflict or challenges, creating allies, or exploring themes and symbols. 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. I own a copy and refer to it nearly every day. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to the Writers Helping Writers RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), follow them on Facebook at @DescriptiveThesaurusCollection or on Twitter at @WriterThesaurus.
What Is a Cli-Fi Novel and What Are Some Examples? by Marjorie B. Kellogg
The literary landscape is as changing as our physical landscape—and one genre gaining momentum is looking to start conversations around that change. In this guest post for Writer’s Digest, author fantasy Marjorie B. Kellogg defines what climate fiction is, and offers some examples that suggests the cli-fi novel has been around for decades. 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.
Spellswords, believability and understanding how to use powerful characters by Michael Schwarz
So, “believable,” and “overpowered,” are two entirely different, independent considerations, says Michael Schwarz of How to Fight Write. The site offers advice on how to create realistic fight scenes and characters from a third-degree Black Belt. This site is mostly in an Q&A style, with more than 500 fight-related questions answered. If you like the site, you can support them on Patreon. Their RSS feed is here (direct Feedly signup link).
Some more articles this week with writing advice:
- A Few Foundations of Fear in Fiction by Bonnie Randall
- Stick the Landing: How to End a Horror Story by Peter Derk
- Three Aspects of “Revision:” Reworking, Refining, and Revisioning by Barbara Linn Probst
- A Checklist for First Chapters by Debby Giusti
- Writing: Don’t Be Captain Obvious by Linda S. Clare
- Creating that “Killer” Character by Georgio Konstandi
- Mindmapping for writing – what people get wrong by Daphne Gray-Grant
- Writing in Both Directions by Dave King
- The Novelty Effect Can Help In Improving Your Writing by Derek Haines
- The First Rule for Writing a Modern Novel by Lynne Stringer
- Novel editing insights: 9 big lessons from critique by Jordan
- How to write a book in 30 days by Emily Martin
- Symbols – how they operate in stories by Stavros Halvatzis
- Subverting Expectations in Satisfying Ways by Jessica Thompson
- How Should I Depict a Character in a Wheelchair That Transforms Into a Monster? by Fay Onyx
- Failure, Conflict, and Character Arc by Becca Puglisi
- How Does Internal Conflict Fit into the Character’s Arc? by C. S. Lakin
- How to Make Your Character’s Choices More Difficult by K.M. Weiland
- 4 Tips on Research for Writing Novels and Stories Beyond Getting the Facts Right by Blake Sanz
- How to Work With Beta Readers by Hope Ann
The business side of writing
The one where MC Gebhard A/B tests her novel chapters by Elle Griffin
Elle Griffin interviewed MC Gebhard about what has and hasn’t worked along her self-publishing journey. Specifically, about how she writes different versions of her chapters and see what works best with her readers. Is her new members-only website the future of fiction? Extremely interesting article, and thought-provoking, and a little scary. Is this how we’re all going to be writing? Elle Griffin is writing a gothic novel, which she’s currently publishing as part of a series.
Should you have an author website before publishing? by Amanda Winstead.
I think so, yes. And in this guest post for Almost an Author, Amanda Winstead agrees with me, for reasons. She’s a Portland-area writer whom you can follow on Twitter at @AmandaWinsteadd. She also writes for Two Drops of Ink, where her recent posts included How to Minimize Distractions in Your Writing Space and The Modern Writer: How Feasible is Writing as a Full-Time Job? But does she have a website? Not that I can find. Almost an Author is a writing and publishing advice site. If you want more advice like this, follow Almost an Author, on Twitter at @A3writers, on Facebook at @A3writers and subscribe to their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link).
Spreading the Written Word in a Video World by Sharon Bially
In this guest post for Writer Unboxed, novelist and book marketer Sharon Bially talks about the rise of video, and offers some non-video marketing alternatives for authors. For more advice like this, follow Bially on Twitter at @SharonBially. Her website is BookSavvyPR. Writer Unboxed is a fantastic writing advice site, with lots of helpful articles from some of the biggest names in the field. Follow them on RSS (direct Feedly signup link) and on Twitter.
Book Puns and Jokes to Make You Feel Better by Dave Chesson
I’m not saying that you should use book puns in your social media posts, but I’m not saying you shouldn’t, either. Here are a few to get started, from Kindlepreneur founder Dave Chesson. Kindlepreneur is pretty much the top site out there for self-published authors who want to sell more e-books on Amazon. The RSS feed is here (direct Feedly signup link). Follow them on Facebook at @KindlePreneur and Chesson himself on Twitter at @DaveChesson. And make sure to subscribe to his podcast, The Book Marketing Show.
Revue now lets you subscribe to newsletters directly on your Twitter timeline by Amanda Silberling
For writers building a mailing list, the free Revue platform makes it super-easy to have one by turning your Tweets into newsletter content. Since Twitter acquired it back in January, they’ve added a bunch of integrations, including a way to highlight your Revue newsletter right in your profile. Now, Twitter followers can subscribe to your newsletter with one click, without requiring a separate confirmation step.
Market Your Novel with Character Interviews by Deb Gorman
I personally hate reading authors’ character interviews, but plenty of other people like them. In this guest post for The Kill Zone, author Deb Gorman gives some advice for using a character interview to spotlight a character’s quirks, weird stuff they say and do, and fears and failures. For more about Gorman, check out her website, DebGGorman.com, Follow her on Facebook at @debggorman or on Twitter at @bikerdebo. The Kill Zone is the home of eleven top suspense writers and publishing professionals. They cover the publishing business, marketing how-tos, and the craft of writing. Follow them on RSS here (direct Feedly signup link). Follow them on Twitter @killzoneauthors.
Publishing Dilemmas, Distribution, and Disruption by Lisa Norman
Supply chain problems are affecting the publishing industry. What can independent authors do? Focus on ebooks and audio books, suggests author, publisher and web developer Lisa Norman in this guest post for Writers in the Storm. Writers in the Storm is another great site for writing advice, with a group of regular contributors and guest writers who post frequently. It is very well worth following on RSS (direct Feedly signup link).
Self-publishing News: Into the Metaverse by Dan Holloway
The Metaverse is in the news this week because big tech companies are suddenly taking it very seriously, says Dan Holloway. Facebook has just announced it will be creating 10,000 Metaverse-related jobs in Europe. But what exactly is the metaverse? Perhaps the easiest way to describe it is a virtual world in which we can fully immerse avatars of ourselves, and interact with avatars of others. Accessed through virtual reality headsets, it’s a very much more comprehensive version of Second Life. Or mass online games like Roblox. The opportunity comes because you could do pretty much anything in the metaverse that you can do in the physical space through which we move every day. And that includes giving readings of your work, setting up an ebooks store, holding underground literary parties. Whatever you can imagine. You could even set up a virtual store there to sell NFTs of your books. Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines. This was a guest post for Self Publishing Advice, the advice center of the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Some more articles this week with business advice:
- The Business of Screenwriting: “If it ain’t got no soul, it ain’t gonna sell” by Scott Myers
- Success Begins with Clarity by Jessica Faust
- Noteworthy November holidays provide book promotion potential by Sandra Beckwith
- Kindle Keyword Strategy For Nonfiction Authors by Dave Chesson
- How to Choose Your Comp Titles by Marcia Fowler
- Finding Your Publication Path by Anne Janzer
- Why Categories Are Critical to Your Amazon Book Promotion by Penny Sansevieri
- How to Research Your Book With Vikki Carter, The Author’s Librarian interviewed by Joanna Penn
- How seriously should you take readability statistics? by Daphne Gray-Grant
- Branding that lasts by Sarah Rexford
- Think You Can’t Build a Platform for Your Writing? Think Again by Renee Roberson
If you prefer to get your writing advice in video form, check out these new video releases on YouTube.
- What editing software is the most helpful? by The Publication Coach
- Anthony Morrison Interview: How I Sold 1,000,000+ Copies Of My Book Through An Informercial by Self Publishing School
- Everything Authors Need to Know About ISBNs by Book Launchers
- Book Publishing Updates and Trends Leading into 2022 by Book Launchers
- How to use scene sequences to keep your dramatic beats on track! by Get Writing!
- Staying Motivated During NaNoWriMo \\ Preptober 2021 by Heart Breathings
- Preptober special: Three top tips for National Novel Writing month success by The Write Channel with Nicola Monaghan
- Weekly Update + How to Get Into My 2022 BYU Class by Brandon Sanderson
Am I missing any useful writing advice sites or video channels? Let me know in the comments or email me at [email protected].