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This week’s top writing advice from around the web for Oct. 10
By Maria Korolov
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
6 Unique Ways to Think Up Story Ideas by Ryan Lanz
The trick is to coming up with story ideas is to be ready for an idea when it comes — not just ready with a pen and notebook, but mentally ready to recognize that arandom thought could be a useful idea, says writer Ryan Lanz. If you want more advice like this, follow him on RSS (direct Feedly signup link), on Twitter at @TheRyanLanz and on Facebook at @AWritersPath. He’s also the author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller.
Writing and the Creative Life: The Virtues of Spacing Out and Goofing Off by Scott Myers
Some of the best ideas or solutions to story problems arise from unfocused moments, 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 article this week, Writing and the Creative Life: Your characters want you to tell their story.
Some more articles this week with motivational advice:
- Hacks to Combat Writer’s Block and Develop Discipline by Maan Gabriel
- The Blessed Curse of the Second Book by Nancy Johnson
- Reasons To NOT Be An Author by Brenda Wilson
- Writing and the Law of Loss Aversion by Jenny Hansen
The art and craft of writing
Five Stories That Break Their World’s Theme by Oren Ashkenazi
Archetypal Antagonists for the Crone Arc: Death Blight and Tempter by K. M. Weiland
Earlier this year, K. M. Weiland wrote a series of articles about Archetypal Character Arcs which quickly became one of my most referred-to articles of the year. Now, she’s doing a new series, about the villains that go along with each of those arcs. Again, I’m betting I’m going to be coming back to these posts over and over. 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.
Sequel Structure According to Swain by September Fawkes
September Hawkes continues to break down scene structure according to Dwight V. Swain, as found in his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. Hawkes is a freelance editor. If you want more advice like this, follow her on her RSS Feed (direct Feedly signup link), follow her on Twitter @SeptCFawkes and on Facebook at September C. Fawkes. Her website is SeptemberCFawkes.com.
The Power of Dilemma in Stories by Stavros Halvatzis
Wherein lies the power of dilemma in stories? What makes for the best dramatic conflict? The two questions are related, says Stavros Halvatzis, a writer and writing teacher. For more writing advice, check out his website at StavrosHalvatzis.com.
Some more articles this week with writing advice:
- How to Keep Mysteries From Looking Like Mistakes by Chris Winkle
- Points of a Story: 6 Key Plot Points That Every Story Needs by Joe Bunting
- The Low-Down on Urban Fantasy by Sheree Crawford
- Movie Story Type: Ticking Clock by Scott Myers
- The Rundown of Beta Reading by Samantha Fenton
- 3 Tips for Writing Possession Horror by Andy Marino
- How to Write a Good Fight Scene by Jeff Bens
- How to Start Worldbuilding? by World Anvil
- How To Properly Introduce Your Protagonist by PJ Parrish
- How to Bake a First Chapter by Brenda Wilson
- The Heroine’s Journey: Part 3 by Scott Myers
- Seeking vs. Suffering: The Secret of Passive Protagonists by Donald Maass
- Making Magic Systems That Work and Wow by Bethany Henry
- How to Write Conflict without “Bad Guys” by Angela Ackerman
- Want Powerful Conflict? Don’t Forget the Stakes by Angela Ackerman
- How to Create Nuanced Characters by C.S. Lakin
- How to Craft Complex Plots by Introducing Side Quests by Kristen Kieffer
- Characterization and When Your Characters Come Alive by Lucie Ataya
- The One Rule of (Writing) Witchcraft by Fire Lyte
The business side of writing
The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Book Genre for Indie Authors by Nat Connors
Understanding the genre you want to write in is one of the most important elements of being an author. It helps you craft books closer to what your readers want, it helps you be more marketable and hopefully sell more books. But what do you need to know and where do you go looking for that market information? Today, the Alliance of Independent Authors AskALLi team welcomes partner member Nat Connors from Kindletrends to explain how to understand your book genre. The AskAlli team is the group behind Self Publishing Advice, 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).
What is Upmarket Fiction? And Book Club Fiction? Are They New Genres? by Anne R. Allen
ookstores don’t have a section designated “Upmarket.” And you’re not going to find it as a category on Amazon, but Anne Allen says it’s a hot genre right now. Allen started her career at Bantam and knows her way around the publishing industry. Allen also writes mysteries and how-to books about writing. For more advice like this, follow her on Twitter at @annerallen, on Facebook at @annerallenauthor, or subscribe to her blog’s RSS feed (direct Feedly link).
3 Shockingly Simple Ways to Improve Your Author Platform by Penny Sansevieri
Some ways to improve your marketing process, using fonts and colors, social media, and book covers.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.
Some more articles this week with business advice:
- How To Create An Author Newsletter Subscribers Love by Dana Kaye
- How and When to Clean Up Your Newsletter’s Subscriber List by Nate Hoffelder
- How to Title a Book: Fiction & Nonfiction by Hannah Lee Kidder
- What Your Query Says About You–The Author by Jessica Faust
- 10 Tips on Negotiating a Traditional Publishing Agreement by Joseph Perry
- Comparing Fiction vs Non Fiction Sales by Doug Lewars
- Book Publishers To Submit To Without An Agent by Bethany Cadman
- Who Says You Need an Agent? 8 Tips for Finding an Independent Publisher by Louise Marburg
- How Much Do Self-Published Authors Make on Amazon? by Hannah Lee Kidder
- Switching Genres 101 by L.A. Chandlar
- Finding a Genre That Sells Your Book: A First-Hand Narrative by Kerry Evelyn
- How to be your own book publicist by Sandra Beckwith
- How Writers Can Impress Booksellers: 6 Tips From a Veteran Indie Bookstore Owner and Author by Nicole Magistro
- Self-publishing News: $59m Investment In Inkitt To Take Self-published Stories To The Screen by Dan Holloway
- Success Without Self-Promotion by Greer Macallister
- Strategies for Getting Published as an Independent Writer by Sabrina Ricci
- 5 Indie Author Mistakes That Can Tank Book Sales by Barb Drozdowich
- Can Self- or Hybrid Publishing Land You on the Bestseller List? by Mary Carroll Moore
If you prefer to get your writing advice in video form, check out these new video releases on YouTube.
- How to Successfully Follow Up with Literary Agents by BookEnds Literary Agency
- Will Proofreading Software Help You Edit a Book? by Book Launchers
- 10 Best Tips for Writing EVIL Dialogue by Jenna Moreci
- Make Author Promo Images Using Canva and Fiverr: Step-By-Step Tutorial to Market Your Book Better by Self Publishing School
- How do you deal with fear of failure? by The Publication Coach
- How to write popular stories by Get Writing!
- Worldbuilding For Fantasy – The Best Tools for Worldbuilding by Fantasy Realm Guy
- How To Choose Your Best Story Idea (And Stick To It) by Heart Breathings
Am I missing any useful writing advice sites or video channels? Let me know in the comments or 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.