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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Feb. 13
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 Shifts You Need To Make To Finish Your Book by Janna Marlies Maron
If you’ve been seeking external solutions to your writing problems, these internal shifts might have a more profound effect on your progress. For more advice from the Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).
Actively Seek Inspiration For Your Writing by Michael Gallant
Great ideas can come from the most mundane, extraordinary, and unexpected sources. If you don’t know where to begin your next work of fiction, actively seek inspiration and kickstart your creativity. Michael Gallant is a writer, musician, composer, producer, and entrepreneur. He lives in New York City. Follow him on Twitter at @Michael_Gallant. BookBaby bills itself as the nation’s leading self-publishing services company. For more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (directly Feedly link here), or follow them on Facebook at @BookBaby or on Twitter at @BookBaby.
How To Stop Procrastinating by Rochelle Melander
You’re more likely to spend time doing the activities you think are fun and feel fun. So it’s helpful to create a “fun frame” around the activities for which you tend to procrastinate. Rochelle Melander is a productivity expert and writing coach. She’s the author of twelve books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. For more advice like this subscribe to Write Now Coach via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @WriteNowCoach and on Facebook at @WriteNowCoach.
To Find Your Motivation, Ask “How Can I Make This Happen?” by LA Bourgeois
Are you struggling to form a writing habit? Do you find yourself saying “I should be writing regularly” but never doing anything about it? You know what? That kind of resistance is totally normal. LA Bourgeois is a creativity coach. For more advice like this, check out her website, LABourgeois.biz. 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).
Other motivational advice this week:
- How To Start Writing by Philip Athans for Fantasy Author’s Handbook
- 7 Steps To Healthy Emotional Endurance For Writers by Miffie Seideman for Writers In The Storm
- 9 Skills Every Writer Needs To Thrive by Marilyn L. Davis for Two Drops of Ink
- How Do I Establish A Daily Disciplined Writing Practice? by F.E. Choe for DIY MFA
- Burnout – The Importance Of Rest In What You Do by Peter Rey for Peter Rey
- The Happy Harsh Truths Of A Writing Career by Tiffany Yates Martin for FoxPrint Editorial
- Featured Productivity Tool: To-Do Lists Are Your Friend by Debra Eckerling for Writers On The Move
- How to Create Your Perfect Writing Environment by Teresa Siqueira for Porch.
The art and craft of writing
Making Story Structure Your Own by K. M. Weiland
Even though the essence of story theory is based on the search for universal patterns within storytelling, every writer’s interpretation and application of these patterns will be subjective, personal, and unique. K. M. 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 Authors, via its RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link). You can also follow her on Twitter @KMWeiland and on Facebook @kmweiland.author. 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.
Show, Don’t Tell by Beem Weeks
What is the difference between telling and showing? It’s using actions, feelings, and thoughts rather than simple description. Showing is painting vivid details of the scene being described. Showing allows the readers to feel as if they’re seeing it play out right before their eyes. It is creating a visual rather than just telling readers what the character is doing. Award-winning novelist Beem Weeks is an author, editor, podcaster, video producer, and a member of Fresh Ink Publishing. Find out more at BeemWeeks.com. 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 many points of view is too many? It’s too many if you can’t handle them properly. Otherwise, go for it. Here are some rules. 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.
The 8 Points Of Progress In Plot by September Fawkes
Dramatica theory breaks plot down into eight story points that essentially encapsulate progress: goal, requirements, consequences, forewarnings, dividends, costs, prerequisites, and preconditions. September Hawkes is a freelance editor. follow her on Twitter @SeptCFawkes and on Facebook at September C. Fawkes. At SeptemberCFawkes.com, Fawkes offers writing advice. Follow the site on its RSS Feed (direct Feedly signup link).
Working With Internal Monologue–When Narrators Think, Remember, Or Talk With Themselves On The Page by Mary Carroll Moore
Internal monologue can be one of those complicated craft decisions for fiction and memoir writers. When to use it well, when it’s not needed, what style it uses to properly show itself on the page. It’s a tricky beast with constantly changing rules to use it properly. Mary Carroll Moore is an award-winning author, editor and book doctor. Check out her website at MaryCarrollMoore.com or follow her on Facebook at @marycarrollmoore. How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book is a site that offers advice for how to create, craft and sell your novel, memoir or non-fiction book. If you want more advice like this, follow them on their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here) or on Twitter at @writeabook.
The term “Rashomon effect” describes a narrative structure where different characters remember the same event in different and contradictory ways. None of them are lying; they just experienced it differently. Every character will filter each scene through the lens of their own life experiences. Even if you don’t show their POV outright, you should be aware of these differing perspectives while planning and writing your story. It can even help you think of plot twists and new directions to take the narrative. H. Duke is a fantasy and horror writer. You can see H. Duke’s books on Amazon here and follow her on Facebook at @hdukeauthor and on Twitter at @HDukeAuthor. The Writersaurus offers productivity, writing, and publishing advice. Their RSS feed is here (direct Feedly signup link). Check out their list of recommended writing books here and follow the site on Facebook at @thewritersaurus.
The Road Back In The Hero’s Journey: How To Write A Fake-Out Ending by David Safford
Have you ever heard of a fake-out ending? Every story has that moment when everything seems okay. The dust has settled. The hero has their object of desire in hand. And for a moment, there’s peace. But then all hell breaks loose. This is the fake-out ending: that classic neck-breaking part of the story that thrills readers and audience members practically every time—grabbing them at the exact moment they thought everything was okay. Here’s how you can write the fake-out ending during your protagonist’s road back, Hero’s Journey-style. 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 Mistakes Writers Make: Tailoring To Trends by Michael Woodson
The Writer’s Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week’s writing mistake is tailoring to trends. 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.
Other writing advice this week:
- Crafting Rich Characters (Part 2) by D. Wallace Peach for Story Empire
- 3 Things To Ask Yourself Before Writing About Trauma by Lisa Cooper Ellison for Jane Friedman
- Want To Write A Great Novel? Be Brave. by Susan Defreitas for Jane Friedman
- Stoking Your Story’s Fire: Three Considerations For Revising Scene By Scene by David G. Brown for Writers Helping Writers
- Zig Zag Plot Arc by Marissa Graff for Writers Helping Writers
- 10 Ways To Reverse Engineer Your Plot by Shirley Jump for Writers In The Storm
- Writing Transitions by Joni M. Fisher for Florida Writers Association Blog
- Evoke Emotion If You Want Your Stories To Succeed by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- Writing From Your Perspective by Lyn Liao Butler for DIY MFA
- How To Repurpose Your Plot by Kathryn Craft for Writer Unboxed
- The Dark Side: Exploring The Unknown In Your Writing by Kathleen Mccleary for Writer Unboxed
- 57 Short Story Ideas With An Unexpected Twist by Barrie Davenport for Blog – Authority Self-Publishing
- 5 Reasons For Characters To Hide And Then Confront Their Past by Swan Huntley for Writer’s Digest
- Why You Should Write What You Don’t Know by Beatrice Manuel for Live Write Thrive
- A Brief Primer On Dueling Weapons And Rituals by Michael Schwarz for How to Fight Write
- How To Include Thoughts From Multiple Characters Without Head-Hopping by Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- How Much Can I Change Vampires? by Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants
- The Rom-Com Playbook: How To Write A Successful Romantic Comedy by Nicki Porter for The Writer
- How To Write More Compelling Characters by JD Lasica for Authors A.I.
The business side of writing
Everyone talks about building a platform online. However, you can also build a strong local audience by teaming up with bookstores and libraries in your community. Nina Amir is a book coach and a book proposal consultant and editor. For more information, check out her website NinaAmir.com or follow her on Twitter at @NinaAmir or on Facebook at @Inspiration to Creation Coach. How to Blog a Book is an advice site for nonfiction and fiction authors who want to use a blog to create a book. For more advice like this, follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
8 Ways To Leverage Someone Else’s Network by Sandra Beckwith
Piggybacking onto someone else’s platform can – and should – involve far more than asking friends for support. The process is all about cross-promotion and collaboration. 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).
Promo For Introverts by Elizabeth Spann Craig
There are a few things you can do to increase awareness of your book without doing the most extroverted of promo activities… festivals, book signings, and conferences. 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.
How To Publish A Short Story: The Complete Guide by Sarah Gribble
So you’ve written a short story. Now what? This step-by-step guide will walk you through the complete process for how to publish a short story. 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).
10 Effective Marketing Strategies For Authors by Shivani Goyal
Although the traditional ways of marketing a book is still important, merging that with new strategies helps you reach a broader range of audiences. Shivani Goyal is a content writer at InviteReferrals, which provides referral software that allows businesses to attract new customers from existing customers through referral campaigns. Almost an Author offers writing and publishing advice. For more this this, follow them on Twitter at @A3writers, on Facebook at @A3writers and subscribe to their RSS feed here (direct Feedly signup link).
Infographic: 5 Crucial Items On Your Book Marketing Checklist by Penny Sansevieri
The best book marketing strategies usually are the ones we don’t consider because they can seem so simple. 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).
Other business advice this week:
- How To Find Pictures And Photos For Your Writer’s Blog by Kelley J. P. Lindberg for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- Self-Publishing News: Draft2digital Acquires Smashwords by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- 3 Things Indie Authors Should Stop Saying by Askalli Team for Self Publishing Advice
- Tips To Create A Bestselling Title by Margie Lawson for Writers In The Storm
- Why Do Some Publishers Have Specific Word Counts For Novels? by Bryn Donovan for Bryn Donovan
- Simple, Year-Long Organization Is The Key To Stress-Free Tax Filing For Freelancers by Mike Michelson for WritersWeekly.com
- What’S Happening With Amazon’S Ranking Right Now? by Cate Baum for Self-Publishing Review
- A Merger In Self-Publishing: Draft2Digital’s Acquisition Of Smashwords by Porter Anderson for Publishing Perspectives
- 10 Editor Red Flags by JoEllen Nordstrom for ProWritingAid
- Why Engage With Your Readers by Dan Blank for WeGrowMedia
When You Launch A Book, You’re Basically Starting A Business: Book Marketing Podcast Episode by Penny Sansevieri
While some authors are super strategic about what they’re doing – many authors treat launching a book like the Field of Dreams, remember that movie? Sure, It may seem fun just to let the creative juices flow, launch your dreams onto Amazon and see what happens, but we know that that model doesn’t work. 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).
Myths About Success In Self-Publishing by Lindsay Buroker
This week, we discussed some of the myths that continue to go around about what it takes to have success in self-publishing. Some of these may be of interest to traditionally published authors too. 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.
Other podcasts from this past week:
- 124 How To Craft Your Writing Voice With September C Fawkes by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- Writing Articles And Short Stories For Magazines; Other Questions Answered By Orna Ross And Michael La Ronn In Our Member Q&A Podcast by Orna Ross and Michael La Ronn for Self Publishing Advice
- Book Marketing Tips For The Long Term With John Kremer by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn
- Talking AI, Delayed Preorders, And Smashing Success by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor for Sell More Books Show
A Guide To Selling Books On Kobo by Julie Broad
Kindle isn’t the only e-book platform authors should be paying attention to. Kobo is an author-friendly e-book service that provides some really great perks if you choose to publish with them. In this video, Julie Broad shares why indie authors should be paying attention to Kobo and even considering self-publishing their e-book on this platform. Julie Broad heads up a team of self-publishing experts at Book Launchers. Book Launchers is mostly aimed at non-fiction book authors, but with useful advice for fiction authors as well. You can also follow them on Facebook at @booklaunchers and on Twitter at @booklaunchers. And, of course, subscribe to their YouTube channel.
D2D &; Smashwords Plus Podcast Promotion Tips For Authors by Julie Broad
Podcast interviews can be a big part of book promotion for authors, but many authors have unrealistic expectations about what a podcast interview will do. Other authors aren’t making the most of every podcast interview. In this live stream, Julie Broad of Book Launchers first discusses the exciting news of Draft2Digital buying Smashwords and what that might mean, and then dives into some mistakes to avoid if you’re author promoting a book on a podcast. Julie Broad heads up a team of self-publishing experts at Book Launchers. Book Launchers is mostly aimed at non-fiction book authors, but with useful advice for fiction authors as well. You can also follow them on Facebook at @booklaunchers and on Twitter at @booklaunchers. And, of course, subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Other videos from this past week:
- How To Create Story Conflict: The Conflict Triangle With The Stakes Character by Nicole Bianchi for Nicole Bianchi
- How Does Copyright Protect You? by Melodie Corbett for Publication Coach
- How To Sell Books As A Podcaster & Speaker With Ryan Hawk by Chandler Bolt for Self Publishing School
- How To Write A Great Story Ending by Stavros Halvatzis for Get Writing
- Learning To Love Book Research (With Savannah Kade) by Kristina Adams and Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Cookbook
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].
MetaStellar publisher and news editor Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist who, at her day job, covers artificial intelligence, extended reality and cybersecurity as a freelance technology journalist. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter here or on Facebook, or LinkedIn. Email her at [email protected].