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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Dec. 19

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

Writing Goals by Joan Hall

How to set writing goals. Joan Hall is a mystery and romantic suspense author. Learn more on her website, JoanHall.net or follow her on Twitter at @JoanHallWrites or on Facebook at @joanhallwrites. For more advice like this, follow the Story Empire Blog on Facebook at @StoryEmpire5 or on Twitter at @StoryEmpire or get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link).

Writing Goals: 2022 [Part 5] — Going Public by Scott Myers

It’s important that you go public with your goals. Because if we just think about your goals, they are nothing more than illusions, hazy, half-baked phantasms in our heads, here and potentially gone like all the other zillion thoughts that spurt through our consciousness each day. Scott Myers is 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. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Writing Goals: 2022 [Part 4] — Practical Matters by Scott Myers

It’s important to have goals, but you have to be S.M.A.R.T. about it. Once again: Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. Scott Myers is 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. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Reconnect With Your Writing Core  by Noelle Sterne

Have you lost your connection to your writing core? Noelle Sterne gives us 14 ways to reconnect with your writing core.
Noelle Sterne is an author, editor, writing coach, writing and meditation workshop leader, spiritual counselor, and gentle nag, Noelle has published over 700 writing craft articles, spiritual pieces, essays, short stories, and occasional poems. For more advice like this, check out her website, Trust Your Life Now. Two Drops of Ink publishes short stories, poetry, essays, interviews, literary criticism, book reviews, and biographical profiles of authors. Follow them on Facebook at @TwoDropsofInk. Subscribe to them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).

How To Treat Your Inner Writer by Ryan Lanz

We probably all know what our everyday values are. But do you know what your writing values are? Writer Ryan Lanz the author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. A Writer’s Path is an advice site for writers. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath.

The art and craft of writing

The Two Halves Of The Climactic Moment by K.M. Weiland

The climactic moment is where the protagonist’s final relationship to the plot goal is determined by definitive success or failure, as is the character’s relationship to the thematic Lie and Truth. K.M. Weiland is the award-winning author of acclaimed writing guides such as Structuring Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs. She also writes historical and speculative fiction and mentors authors. Helping Writers Become Authors is one of our favorite writing advice sites. Follow it via its RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Writing And The Seasons Part 1 by D.l. Finn

How the four seasons can set the stage and mood for a story. For more advice like this, follow the Story Empire Blog on Facebook at @StoryEmpire5 or on Twitter at @StoryEmpire or get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link).

How To Write A Compelling Antihero by Lucy V. Hay

An antihero can be any main character – protagonist, antagonist or even secondary – that has ‘gone wrong’ when it comes to being a hero. Lucy V. Hay is a script editor, author and blogger who helps writers at her site, Bang2write.com. Writers Helping Writers is a great site for writing advice. These guys also have the One Stop for Writers online tool set. Subscribe to them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here) or follow them on Facebook at @DescriptiveThesaurusCollection or on Twitter at @WriterThesaurus.

Who Writes Your Stories? by Ryan Lanz

There are many voices involved when writing. Some of these we’re aware of, others are more ambiguous. We all bring with us, after all, however subconsciously, our prior experiences (whether we remember them or not). Writer Ryan Lanz the author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. A Writer’s Path is an advice site for writers. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath.

Writing A Novel: Pacing Like A Pro by Ryan Lanz

Writing a novel is like running a marathon, only… it’s actually ten marathons back to back; the ground on which you’re running is on fire, and so are your shoes. Oh, and you’re not actually running. You’re walking. On your hands. Writer Ryan Lanz the author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. A Writer’s Path is an advice site for writers. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath.

The Keys And Cages Of Our Characters by Ross Hartmann

Whether it’s a cage of their own making, or one that has been imposed by someone else, cages are your character’s struggles. Those cages should inspire us, shake us to our core, and make us cringe. Ross Hartmann is the author of The Structure of Story and the creative director at Kiingo. Follow Hartmann on Twitter here. Kiingo is a writing and story telling 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.

Common Mistakes That Pull Readers Out Of Stories by Elizabeth Spann Craig

There’s nothing so awful as being pulled out of a great story by reading a typo. Unless, of course, you’re the author of the story and a reader is telling you that they were pulled out of your story by an error. Elizabeth Spann Craig is a best-selling cozy mystery author. You can her on Twitter at @elizabethscraig or on Facebook at Elizabeth Spann Craig Author. She also collates a weekly list of the best new writing-related articles, called Twitterific Writing Links, which then all get added to the Writer’s Knowledge Base database. On her website, ElizabethSpannCraig.com, Craig and her guest authors author advice on writing and publishing.

Readers’ Expectations by Niki Kantzios

We’re always told (and it’s good advice) to “write the story that is in you.” But since we’re also concerned with selling that story to others, readers’ expectations are something to keep in mind. Archeologist Niki Kantzios writes a series of novels set in the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean. Check out her website, NLHolmes.com, or follow her on Facebook at @nlholmesbooks and on Twitter at @nlholmesbooks. The Florida Writers Association is a great resource for writers, with a very active advice blog. Follow the Florida Writers Association via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here), on Facebook at Florida Writers Association and on Twitter at @FloridaWriters1.

Hero’s Journey Trials: How To Fill The Middle Of Your Story With Conflict by David Safford

Writing strategies to raise the stakes and successfully construct the middle of the story. David Safford writes adventure stories. Read his latest story at his website DavidSafford.com/. The Write Practice is an advice site from a group of writers. They also have a writing critique community and a newsletter. Follow The Write Practice on Twitter, on Facebook, or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).

Writing Success: 3 Easy Steps To Develop Your Writing System by J. D. Edwin

Having writing skills are only half the battle. If you want to be a successful writer, it helps to establish a solid, reliable writing system that evaluates your writing process. J.D. Edwin is a sci-fi author. Follow Edwin on Facebook @JDEdwinAuthor, and on Twitter @JDEdwinAuthor. Her website is JDEdwin.com. The Write Practice is an advice site from a group of writers. They also have a writing critique community and a newsletter. Follow The Write Practice on Twitter, on Facebook, or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).

How To Write Telepathic Characters In Fiction by Brendan P. Bellecourt

How the use of telepathy in fiction can produce a greater emotional impact and can deepen the personal experience we have reading books. Brendan P. Bellecourt is a science fiction author. This venerable resource for writers celebrated its hundred-year anniversary last year, but is still going pretty strong. Follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest.

The 8 Essentials To Writing A Commercially Successful Novel – Enrollment Open! by C. S. Lakin

The secret to writing a successful novel lies in being able to identify what’s missing in your scenes and using a targeting approach to revising. C. S. Lakin is a writing coach, workshop instructor, award-winning author of over 30 books, and blogger at Live Write Thrive. Her Writer’s Toolbox series of books teach the craft of fiction, and her online video courses at Writing for Life Workshops have helped more than a thousand writers. She also works as a book copyeditor and does more than 200 critiques a year for writers, agents, and publishers in six continents. I’ve been reading her advice for a few years now and she is awesome. If you want more advice from her, follow her on Twitter at @LiveWriteThrive and on Facebook at @C.S.Lakin.Author. A writing advice site by novelist, editor and writing coach C. S. Lakin, author of eight-book The Writer’s Toolbox Series. Follow her on Twitter @LiveWriteThrive. Also check out her other site, The Self Publisher.

Six Character Archetypes For Sidekicks by Chris Winkle

Secondary protagonists should be distinct and helpful, but not too helpful. Chris Winkle is the founder and editor-in-chief of Mythcreants. Mythcreants is my all-time favorite writing advice site. Get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter @Mythcreants and on Facebook at @mythcreants.

How Can I Depict A Jealous Character Without Sending The Wrong Message? by Chris Winkle

Jealousy in love is a pretty bad thing that brings a lot of harm to all involved. But it’s also a common emotion many can’t help but feel. How can characters be shown to feel jealousy without immediately blaming them for it? Chris Winkle is the founder and editor-in-chief of Mythcreants. Mythcreants is my all-time favorite writing advice site. Get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter @Mythcreants and on Facebook at @mythcreants.

How To Write Amazing Character Descriptions (With Examples) by Dave Chesson

Looking to make your character jump off the page? Good descriptions can do that. Read on to find out how to write amazing character descriptions.
Dave Chesson is the founder of 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. 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 founder Dave Chesson on Twitter at @DaveChesson.

When And How To Include Backstory (Without Boring Readers) by Derek Murphy

Backstory is usually the deeper, poignant scenes that reveal character motivations. A lot of authors screw up by putting it early, at the beginning of the book, before anything has happened. Derek Murphy is a book cover designer, fantasy author, and writing expert. His latest guide, Book Craft, was released late last year and is on Kindle Unlimited. And you can get his free Guerilla Publishing e-book here. Follow him on Facebook at @Creativindie or on Twitter at @Creativindie. CreativIndie is a website dedicated to advice about writing and publishing. It also features courses in self-publishing and novel writing.

Finding The “Right” Way To Write by Tiffany Yates Martin

The writing process is not only different for each author, but it may vary with each project. Tiffany Yates Martin has spent nearly thirty years as an editor in the publishing industry, working with major publishers and New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors as well as indie and newer writers, and is the founder of FoxPrint Editorial and author of the bestseller Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing. FoxPrint Editorial offers online courses, workshops and presentations, and advice to authors.

The Grand Surprise In Stories—How To Set It Up! by Stavros Halvatzis

Telegraphing your punch eliminates the surprise. Stavros Halvatzis is a writer and writing teacher. For more advice like this, check out StavrosHalvatzis.com or follow himvia his RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Short Story Plot: How To Use Ideas And Structure To Plot A Short Story by Sarah Gribble

Short stories rarely require extensive plotting. They’re short, after all. But a bit of an outline, just to get the basic idea down, can help you craft a strong plot. Sarah Gribble is a horror and fantasy author. Check out her website at Sarah-Gribble.com. The Write Practice is an advice site from a group of writers. They also have a writing critique community and a newsletter. Follow The Write Practice on Twitter, on Facebook, or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).

Building The Raksura: How Martha Wells Fell Into Toxic Tropes by Oren Ashkenazi

Good intent won’t erase the harm of baking bigotry into your worldbuilding. Oren Ashkenazi is a speculative fiction manuscript editor at Mythcreants. Mythcreants is my all-time favorite writing advice site. Get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter @Mythcreants and on Facebook at @mythcreants.

As a Beginning Writer, Can You Trust Your Instinct? by Peter Rey

While your instinct can be a valuable asset, you would probably be better off if before you followed it blindly you had a clear idea of what it means to write a book. Peter Rey writers horror, fantasy and science fiction. Follow him on Twitter at @Peter_Rey_ and on Facebook at @peterreyauthor . PeterRey.com offers writing and editing advice. For more like this, follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

The business side of writing

Notifying Agents Of Offers by Jessica Faust

Letting agents know you have an offer, or even that you’ve accepted another offer and are pulling the book from consideration, shows respect not just for others professionally, but for other authors as well. Jessica Faust is the owner and president at the BookEnds literary agency. Follow her on Twitter at @BookEndsJessica or on Instagram at @jfaust_bookends or email her directly at [email protected]. BookEnds is a literary agency that represents more than 300 authors and illustrations, both fiction and non-fiction, including several New York Times and USA today bestsellers. They are currently open to submissions. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter at @bookendslit or on Facebook at @BookEndsLiterary.

Self-Publishing News: What’S The Truth About Authors And Social Media? by Dan Holloway

Billie Eilish’s low sales and large social media presence cause publishers to ponder the truth about social media for writers as a new survey from Oxford Brookes University asks writers for their answer to that same question. ALLi news editor Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines. Self Publishing Advice is 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).

Alliance Of Independent Authors Self-Publishing Review 2021 by Askalli Team

Last year was gruelling for many, this year has continued to be a rollercoaster for many.
The AskALLi Team is the group behind Self Publishing Advice, the advice center of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Self Publishing Advice is 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).

3 Ways To Learn What Your Readers Want by Sandra Beckwith

It is important to know as much as possible about your audience so you can give them what they need and want. Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Follow her on Twitter at @sandrabeckwith and on Facebook at @buildbookbuzz. Build Book Buzz offers do-it-yourself book marketing tips, tools and tactics. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Do You Want To Sell Print Books? A Quick Overview Of Considerations And Pod Platforms by Sabrina Ricci

You have a lot of platforms to choose from when it comes to print on demand publishing. A few of the big ones include KDP, Lightning Source, Lulu, and BookBaby. Sabrina Ricci writes advice about indie publishing. Follow her on Facebook at @sabrinadenisericci or on Twitter at @sabsky. Digital Publishing is a site about indie publishing. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Finding More Readers With Author Freebies And Landing Pages by Sabrina Ricci

How do you build your mailing list? Offering freebies can help. Sabrina Ricci writes advice about indie publishing. Follow her on Facebook at @sabrinadenisericci or on Twitter at @sabsky. Digital Publishing is a site about indie publishing. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Create A Blog Or Submit A Guest Post? by Marilyn L. Davis

It is scary to contemplate starting a blog when considering all the competition for readers and followers. A simple way to introduce yourself to the blogging world is to guest post.
Marilyn L. Davis is the editor-in-chief at Two Drops of Ink. Follow her on Twitter at @MDavisatTIERS. Two Drops of Ink publishes short stories, poetry, essays, interviews, literary criticism, book reviews, and biographical profiles of authors. Follow them on Facebook at @TwoDropsofInk. Subscribe to them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).

22 Smart Author Marketing Strategies To Start Using In 2022 by Penny Sansevieri

When it comes to book author marketing strategies – not everything has to cost a lot of money – in fact, some of the best things you can do for your book are close to free.
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. Author Marketing Experts is a book promotion company. For more advice like this subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).

How To Handle The Digital Age As An Author by Ross Hartmann

The specifics of how you show up online don’t matter. If you want to dress up as different characters and do skits or talk about whether or not Batman was really a good guy that’s awesome. All that really matters is that you show up as your most authentic self. Ross Hartmann is the author of The Structure of Story and the creative director at Kiingo. Follow Hartmann on Twitter here. Kiingo is a writing and story telling 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.

5 Things I Learned From Co-Hosting A Book Podcast by Michael Woodson

There is a natural element of performance with podcasting but, as much as you can, be yourself. Michael Woodson is a content editor at Writers Digest. If you want more stuff like this, follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest. This venerable resource for writers celebrated its hundred-year anniversary last year, but is still going pretty strong. Follow Writer’s Digest via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WritersDigest and on Facebook at @writersdigest.

Podcasts

116 How To Write Killer Book Descriptions With Brian Meeks by Sacha Black

How to write killer book descriptions. Sacha Black is a fantasy author and writing coach, with several writing advice books including 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains (Better Writers Series) May 9, 2017. Follow her on her website, Sacha Black, on Facebook at @Sacha Black or on Twitter at @sacha_black. Sacha Black is a site that offers writing advice, courses, and podcasts. Follow the site via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Episode 388: How To Craft Your Supporting Characters – Interview With Sacha Black by Lori Walker

In this podcast, Gabriela Pereira interviews Sacha Black, who writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. Gabriela Pereira is a writer, teacher, and self-proclaimed word nerd and the founder and instigator of DIYMFA.com, with a mission is to empower writers to take an entrepreneurial approach to their education and professional growth. DiyMFA offers classes, advice articles and other training materials for writers. For more advice like this, follow them on Twitter at @DIYMFA and on Facebook at @DIYMFA or subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link).

Sff 111 – What Book Marketing We’re Going To Focus On In 2022 by Lindsay Buroker

For the week’s show, Jo, Andrea, and Lindsay talked about some of their challenges when it comes to book marketing and where they’re going to focus their efforts in 2022. Lindsay Buroker writes fantasy and science fiction. Check out her website at Lindsay Buroker.com or follow her on Facebook at @Lindsay Buroker or on Twitter at @GoblinWriter. Six Figure Authors is a podcast about taking your writing career to the next level.

The Resilient Mindset, Overcoming Blocks And Living Every Moment Of The Creative Journey – Interview At @Insideyourhead0 by Roz Morris

Resilience and self-belief are needed for the artistic life. Roz Morris is an author, book doctor, and a bestselling ghostwriter. At Nail Your Novel, Roz Morris offers advice about writing, publishing and self-publishing.

358 – Non-Violent Conflicts by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock

When we say conflict, we do not necessarily mean physical violence. Oren Ashkenazi is the a speculative fiction manuscript editor at Mythcreants. Mythcreants is my all-time favorite writing advice site. Get their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter @Mythcreants and on Facebook at @mythcreants.

Videos

7 Tips For Choosing An Agent To Query by Bookends

Writing a book can be tough. Trying to put together a query letter for the story can prove to be even more difficult. BookEnds is a literary agency that represents more than 300 authors and illustrations, both fiction and non-fiction, including several New York Times and USA today bestsellers. They are currently open to submissions. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter at @bookendslit or on Facebook at @BookEndsLiterary.


Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].

MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist. During the day, Maria Korolov is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Email her at [email protected]. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.