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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
The Writer’S Inner Critic: 11 Ways To Tell If Yours Is Healthy by K. M. Weiland
Most of the time when writers speak of their inner critic, there’s a fair amount of self-deprecating exaggeration of how ruthless that little voice can be. We joke about the inner critic as a universal experience, but for many writers, at one time or another, the inner editor can turn into a counter-productive tyrant. And yet, the inner editor can also be a writer’s friend. 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.
9 Writing Productivity Tips I Learned From Knitting by Kris Maze
Over the holidays Kris Maze spent some down-time with family and learned a new skill: knitting. And it turns out, knitting has a lot in common with writing. Kris Maze writes young adult dystopian fiction. You can find her young adult horror stories and keep up with her author events at KrisMazeAuthor.com. 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 here).
Other motivational advice this week:
- 9 Ideas To Get Inspiration Or Beat Writer’s Block by Anna del C. Dye for A Writer’s Path
- Beware The Trap Of Comparing Yourself To Other Writers by Ane Mulligan for The Write Conversation
- Four Ways To Silence Your Inner Comments Section by Kelsey Allagood for Writer Unboxed
- What Can Be Done If The Desire To Write Is Missing by John W. Howell for Story Empire
- Why It’s Hard For Writers With Low Self-Esteem To Receive Praise For Their Work by Lauren Sapala for Lauren Sapala
- Writing Your Stories: When Yay Becomes Yuck by Theryanlanz for A Writer’s Path
- Common Writing Obstacles (Part 1): Time by Henry McLaughlin for The Write Conversation
- Why The Myth Of Art For Art’S Sake Is Nonsense by Peter Rey for Peter Rey
- 5 Strategies on How to Deal with Self-Doubt as an Author by Clayton Noblit for Written Word Media
The art and craft of writing
A clear and straightforward primer on how to use an unreliable narrator as your point-of-view character. Harmony Kent is an award-winning writer who also offers editing, proofreading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. To learn more, visit HarmonyKent.co.uk. 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).
4 Tips For Writing A Trauma Disclosure In Deep POV by Lisa Hall-Wilson
Some questions to ask yourself if a character has a trauma backstory they’ve never told anyone about, and decide to share that history with someone. Lisa Hall-Wilson is a writing teacher and award-winning writer and author. She also has two courses on writing in deep point of view that you might want to check out: Writing in Emotional Layers and Deep Point Of View Foundations can help you learn the effects the tools used in deep POV aim to create, so you can use those tools to best serve your story and your voice. Follow her on Twitter at @LisaHallWilson or on Facebook at @lisahallwilson. Her website is LisaHallWilson.com. 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 here).
Tips And Tricks For Effective Fight Scenes: Bam! Pow! Thwap! by Elle E. Ire
If you have problems writing fight scenes, you might consider limiting how much you describe, blocking it out like you would block out dance choreography, and, finally, if all else fails, ask an expert for help. Elle E. Ire writes science fiction and urban fantasy featuring kickass women who fall in love with each other. For more advice like this, check out her website, ElleIre.com or follow her on Facebook at @ElleE.IreAuthor. 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.
Writing a Hero’s Journey climax isn’t easy. Even when you outline it properly, you might struggle to put the right words on the paper. If you understand what makes a great Hero’s Journey climax, however, you can defeat this daunting task easier. 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).
Why Are Characters Important In A Story? 4 Ways Essential Characters Make Contributions by J. D. Edwin
This article also covers the major types of characters and ways to determine if—for the characters who don’t qualify as essential—you’re better off revising their role, or cutting them from the plot. 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).
Writing: Finding The Buried Lead by Linda S. Clare
If you’ve studied journalism, you know that a good article depends on catching readers’ attention in the first sentence. The same is true for narrative nonfiction, personal essays, memoir and yes, even scenes. Linda S. Clare has been writing professionally since 1993 and has taught fiction, memoir and essay writing for Lane Community College for more than a dozen years. In addition to her published books, award-winning short stories, articles and essays, she works as an expert writing advisor for George Fox University and is a frequent presenter at writer’s conferences. For more advice like this, check out her website, LindaSClare.com on Twitter at @Lindasclare. LindaSClare.com offers advice about writing and story structure, as well as coaching services.
9 Key Elements Of A Short Story: What They Are And How To Apply Them by Sarah Gribble
Every story has basic elements; a short story’s basic elements are just more focused than a novel’s. But all those elements must be there, and yes, they need to fit into a short word count. In this article, you’ll learn what you need to make sure your short story is a complete story—with three famous short story examples. 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).
How To Use Rising Action Effectively by Gloria Russell
What rising action is, how to write it, and where you can find examples of rising action to reference later. Gloria Russell is a freelance writer and author living in Colorado who also critiques manuscripts. Self Publishing School offers online courses about self publishing, as well as a podcast, blog, and other resources. For more advice like this subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @Self_Pub_School and on Facebook at @Self Publishing School.
Five Tips For Reviving Bland Prose by Chris Winkle
Readers want entertaining narration, but how do you make it entertaining? 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.
Creating A Series Bible by James Scott Bell
The series bible is a master document that keeps track of all the essential information you write, from book to book. It’s both a time saver and a mistake avoider. 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.
The nip slip and wardrobe malfunction make good fodder for the gossip sites, but, for writers, wardrobes — clothes and accessories — are a powerful tool in the arsenal. Ruth Harris is a million-copy New York Times bestselling author, Romantic Times award winner, former Big 5 editor, publisher, and news junkie. Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris offers advice from a couple of publishing industry veterans. For more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly link).
Other writing advice this week:
- Dialogue 101: Your Go-To Guide For Formatting Dialogue by Annelise Driscoll for National Novel Writing Month
- Writing Magic In A Real-World Setting by Liz Keller Whitehurst for Writers Helping Writers
- Tips For Writing The Anti-Hero And The Dark Hero by DiAnn Mills for The Write Conversation
- 5 Ways To Optimize Your Novel’s Setting by Patti Callahan Henry for Career Authors
- How To Bury Clues In Your Mystery Novel by Dana Isaacson for Career Authors
- How To Write In Third Person Properly by Gloria Russell for Self Publishing School
- Head-Hopping: Good? Bad? Something Else? by Don Paul Benjamin for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
- The Quick And Dirty Guide To Coming Up With The Perfect Character Name by Emmanuel Nataf for LitReactor
- Relationship Thesaurus Entry: Giver And Taker by Becca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers
- Inciting Incident: Definition, Examples, Types, And How To Start A Story Right by Joe Bunting for The Write Practice
- Worldbuilding Basics: A Beginner’s Guide To Creating A Fictional World by Hannah Yang for ProWritingAid
The business side of writing
7 Effective Ways To Use Book Content On Your Blog by Nina Amir
You don’t have to blog your book to use the content or subject matter in post on your website. You can post small snippets of your book instead, your book’s back story, deleted content, or other content relevant to your book. 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).
How Exclusives Harm Authors by Jessica Faust
An exclusive is a request for your material by an agent on an exclusive basis. But, an exclusive gives all the advantages to the agent and takes all the power from the author — at a time when the author should have the most power. 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.
Starting A Writing Business On The Right Foot by Elizabeth Spann Craig
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about how to turn your novel writing into a real career, here is a nice overview from Elizabeth Spann Craig. 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.
Now that we’re well into the new year, we can actually — cross fingers, throw salt over shoulder, spit three times — start planning to attend writers’ conferences in person. Attending conferences is one of the most useful things a writer can do to improve their craft, make contact with other writers, and promote their work for publication. But huge conferences can be intimidating. It’s hard to know what to do, who to talk to and how to make the most of your experience. So, here are some tips. Al Pessin is a thriller writer. For more advice like this, check out his website at AlPessin.com or follow him on Twitter at @apessin or on Facebook at @AlPessinAuthor. 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.
How To Get More Book Publicity As A Self-Published Author by Penny Sansevieri
If getting more media is on your book marketing bucket list but you aren’t sure where to start, I highly encourage you to start looking at the second and third tiers of media. Media loves media and sometimes the more you do, the more you’ll get. So start by blanketing your local media with pitches. 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).
5 Eye-Catching Facebook Ad Images For Authors by Clayton Noblit
Learn how to make Facebook ads that will connect with readers and increase downloads of your books. Clayton Noblit is a marketing manager at Written Word Media, a book marketing company. Follow Written Word Media via their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link), on Facebook at @writtenwordmedia and on Twitter at @WrittenWordM. And check out my favorite article from the site, The Evolution of an Author: How to Go from Zero to $100k from your Writing, which is based on a survey of more than 1,000 authors.
Evaluating The Sample Edit And Choosing The Right Editor For You by Tiffany Yates Martin
It’s important to know whether or not an editor is a good fit for you and your work. In this installment in a series about hiring a professional editor, Tiffany Yates Martin shares how to evaluate sample edits before choosing an editor. 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. 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 business advice this week:
- Boost Social Media Success With These 3 Image Types by Sandra Beckwith for Build Book Buzz
- Guest Post: Using Book Trailers To Promote Your Book As An Indie Author by Sabrina Ricci for Digital Pubbing
- Storyville: Reasons For Creating A Pseudonym by Richard Thomas for LitReactor
- Brainstorm An Excellent “Working” Book Title by Terry Whalin for Almost An Author
- My Top Tips For Self-Publishing Authors In 2022 by Savannah Cordova for DIY MFA
- How To Create A Podcast, Develop An Audience, And Get Your Novel Published by Liz Keller Whitehurst for Writer’s Digest
- 10 Secrets To Successful Book Marketing by Brian Jud for BookBaby Blog
- How To Get Your Self-Published Book Into Libraries by Eric Otis Simmons for The Creative Penn
- Self-Publishing Vs. Traditional Publishing by Bryn Donovan for Bryn Donovan
- How To Write The Preface Of A Book + Examples by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- How To Write A Foreword For A Book (In 4 Easy Steps) by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- How To Write The Title Page Of A Book [With Examples] by Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur
- Business Musings: New Tools: Indie Publishing (Year In Review 7) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch for Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- Social Media Marketing For Authors by Ellie Betts for The Writer’s Cookbook
Episode 394: What Stories Are You Telling Yourself? Marketing Mindset Shifts For Writers – Interview With Sue Campbell by Gabriela Pereira
Gabriela Pereira talks with mindset and book marketing coach Sue Campbell about the false stories writers tell themselves about marketing and why it isn’t as scary as you think, how to shift your thoughts about marketing, and why getting hard feedback early on is actually advantageous for you later on. 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).
Launches, Advertising, And Making Money On One Book A Year by Lindsay Buroker
What would you do if you could only write a book a year but still hoped to make good money as an author? 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:
- Take Back Your Book: An Author’s Guide To Rights Reversion And Publishing On Your Terms With Katlyn Duncan by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn
- How To Reverse Engineer Your Author Marketing Success by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
When Do You Need An Agent? (Video) by Daphne Gray-Grant
Today’s question is when do you need an agent? Daphne Gray-Grant is a writing coach, author of Your Happy First Draft, and host of The Write Question show on YouTube. Publication Coach offers books, courses, videos, and one-on-one coaching for authors. If you want more advice like this, subscribe to their RSS feed (direct Feedly signup link) or follow them on Twitter at @pubcoach or subscribe to their YouTube channel.
How to cast your story by Stavros Halvatzis
A simple model for deciding which characters to write into your stories. Stavros Halvatzis is a writer and writing teacher. Get Writing is Stavros Halvatzis’s YouTube channel. For more advice like this, check out StavrosHalvatzis.com or follow himvia his RSS feed (direct Feedly link here).
Other videos from this past week:
- Creating A Genre, Writing Interesting Books, And The Craziest Marketing Ideas You’ve Ever Heard With AJ Jacobs by Chandler Bolt for Self Publishing School
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected].
MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she 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]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.