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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Mar. 27

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

Plan Ahead To Maximize Writing Time by Joan Hall

Most of us would agree that there aren’t enough hours in the day, especially when it comes to writing. 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).

3 Unconventional Ways To Make More Time To Write by Lewis Jorstad

How to make more time to write…without having to wake up at 4 a.m. Lewis Jorstad is a developmental editor, writing craft author and the founder of The Novel Smithy. NaNoWriMo is the official website of the National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November.

Other motivational advice this week:

The art and craft of writing

3 Questions To Make Sure You Aren’t Missing Out On Important Scenes by K.m. Weiland | @Kmweiland

For one reason or another, it can sometimes be tempting to avoid writing certain important scenes, ones that are difficult emotionally or that we have to expend extra effort to research properly. 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.

Story Development And Execution Part 4: Dialogue by Staci Troilo

How to use dialogue to reveal your story. Staci Troilo is a multi-genre best-selling author, editor, and ghostwriter. Learn more about her at StaciTroilo.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).

The Secret Ingredient Of Successful Openings by Susan Defreitas

A story intro that shows internal trouble, signaling the beginning of a character arc, makes agents and editors sit up and take notice. Susan DeFreitas is the author of the novel Hot Season, which won a Gold IPPY Award, and the editor of Dispatches from Anarres: Tales in Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin (forthcoming from Forest Avenue Press). An independent editor and book coach, she specializes in helping writers from historically marginalized backgrounds, and those writing socially engaged fiction, break through into publishing. Find out more about her at SusanDefreitas.com. For more advice from Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).

Weaving Flashbacks Seamlessly Into Story by Tiffany Yates Martin

Flashback is a powerful tool for weaving in important backstory—but as with any power tool, using it well requires knowledge and care. 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. For more advice from Jane Friedman writing advice site, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link here).

Hero Vs. Heroine: Why They’re Not The Same by Lewis Jorstad

The hero and the heroine’s arc both follow this three-part structure. What sets them apart, however, is their focus. While the hero’s character arc is all about a character gaining physical mastery over their world, the heroine’s arc is much more concerned with their mastery over their own mind. In the end, this has nothing to do with gender, and there are plenty of excellent female heroes and male heroines out there. Lewis Jorstad is a developmental editor, writing craft author and the founder of The Novel Smithy. The Novel Smithy is a site that helps writers build a robust writing toolkit. Follow them on Twitter @TheNovelSmithy.

Write An Active Main Character With These 5 Tips by Zena Dell Lowe

One of the most important rules of story is that your main character must drive the action of the story. The problem is, there are times when a main character is rendered powerless. What can we do when circumstances put our character in a situation where all he can do is react? Zena Dell Lowe has worked professionally in the entertainment industry for over 20 years as a writer, producer, director, actress, and story consultant. The Write Conversation frequently makes the top lists of writing advice blogs. Follow them via their RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).

Help! My Plot Is Getting Away From Me! by James Scott Bell

What do you do if you’re in the middle of your novel and there are so many things happening, so many characters running around, that you’re losing your way? Thriller writer James Scott Bell is the author of more than twenty books about writing, and you can follow him on Twitter at @jamesscottbell. His website is JamesScottBell.com. 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.

Other writing advice this week:

The business side of writing

Apply The Bracket Model To Your Book Marketing by Brian Jud

By borrowing the bracket model from the NCAA Final Four, you can adjust your tactics and actions to inject variety into your quarterly book marketing plans. Brian Jud is the executive director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore. Follow him on Twitter at @bookmarketing. 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.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Author Website by C. S. Lakin

Numerous authors who previously sold barely a handful of books have gone on to make a fortune in sales after revamping ineffective websites, so it behooves any serious author to invest some time and money in crafting one. 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. Live Write Thrive is 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.

Instagram For Writers: How To Get The Most Out Of It by Dave Chesson

Over the past few years, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms. The visual-first setup is easy to use, highly engaging, and still growing. As an author, Instagram offers unique opportunities to interact with your fans and boost the size of your audience. 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.

9 Top Tips To Build Your Following As A Writer by Lucy V Hay

In the era of social media, building an online following is really not that difficult. Lucy Hay is a script editor, author and blogger who helps writers at her site, Bang2write.com. Follow Bang2write.com on Twitter at @Bang2write and on Facebook at @Bang2writers.

Other business advice this week:

Podcasts

Why Are People Upset That Indie Author Brandon Sanderson Raised More Than $30m On Kickstarter? by Dan Holloway And Howard Lovy

Brandon Sanderson, a sci-fi/fantasy author, raised more than $30 million on Kickstarter. And, for some reason, people are really, really outraged that an indie writer, of all people, should attract that much attention and money. 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. Howard Lovy is ALLi’s multimedia manager. 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).

Trad Pub Exodus, Kickstarter Challenge, And Defining Success by Bryan Cohen And H. Claire Taylor

How a free challenge can help you kickstart your next book, why to start your own community as an author, and how to know which books and genres are selling right now. Bryan Cohen is an experienced copywriter, bestselling author, and the founder of Best Page Forward and Amazon Ad School. You can find out more about Bryan at BryanCohen.com. H. Claire Taylor is a humor author and fiction strategist, as well as the owner of FFS Media. The Sell More Books Show is a weekly podcast focusing on helping new and experienced authors stay up-to-date with the latest self-publishing and indie news, tools and book selling and marketing strategies.

Foreshadowing by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Jess Brownrigg

How much foreshadowing do you need? How do you include it without making the twists too obvious? Does it need to be believable or guessable? Oren Ashkenazi is the a speculative fiction manuscript editor, Chris Winkle is the founder and editor-in-chief, and Jess Brownrigg is an audio 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.

Other podcasts from this past week:

Videos

Making The Most Of Your Novel’s Setting by Alessandra Torre

Bestselling author Tiffany Reisz discusses book settings and how to use them in fiction. Alessandra Torre is a New York Times bestselling fiction author and the CEO of Authors A.I. and BingeBooks. Authors A.I. uses artificial intelligence to provide instant, high-level critiques of your novel. Follow them on their RSS feed(direct Feedly link here).

How To Write Subplots…And Keep Track Of Them Without Losing Your Mind by Abbie Emmons

Subplots can make or break a story… but how do you cleverly craft subplots that add more depth and emotion to your narrative while still keeping the focus anchored on the main character’s journey? Abbie Emmons I teach writers how to make their stories matter. For more advice like this, check out her website, AbbieE.com. Abbie Emmons is a YouTube channel about writing from writing instructor and author of the same name.

Other videos from this past week:


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.