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The overarching advice for this week? Make your characters human. We humans are flawed beings, and our characters must be as believably and wonderfully flawed as we are to resonate with readers, to be remembered by readers long after the final page.
Productivity, mood management, and battling the demons inside
Are You A Candidate For Binge-Writing? by DiAnn Mills
Do you find yourself cramming all your writing time into a few precious hours a night or a few days a week? When you’re a writer who works in bursts, out of necessity, practicality, or process, this article is about how to make the binge-writing approach work for you by planning ahead, putting away distractions, and allowing yourself to get into deep, focused work. DiAnn Mills is a bestselling and award-winning author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Find out more at DiAnnMills.com. The Write Editing is a site by book editor Andrea Merrell.
Finding Writing Fascination (And Inspiration!) by Shelley Widhalm
Setting pen to paper or hands to keyboard sounds great, but if you’ve found yourself staring at a blank page, your inspiration tap refusing to flow, it may be time to try something new. In this article, Shelley Widhalm offers creative ways to find the texture and rhythm of words using your favorite books, music, artwork, and places to jiggle loose your stuck creativity and get you back into the writing flow. Shelley Widhalm is a freelance writer and editor by day who writes fiction during the other hours. She’s written six novels, a collection of short stories and hundreds of poems. She blogs about the writing life. 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.
Video: How To Start Writing by Philip Athans
Take action and start the writing process — it’s the act of writing is what ultimately leads to progress and the creation of a story. Don’t get bogged down by doubts, excuses, or perfectionism. Just start with a simple sentence, no matter how basic or unimpressive it may seem. Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and “Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter at @PhilAthans. The YouTube channel Fantasy Author’s Handbook offers advice for authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general.
How To Use Technology To Get More Writing Done by Katy Segrove
This isn’t an article about AI. This is about two apps that help you eliminate distractions and improve your focus so that you can get more writing done. Katy Segrove is a book coach and screenwriter. In her coaching, she focuses on helping writers figure out writing plans that they can stick with. Pick Up Your Pen is a writing advice website. It also offers a free, 14-day writing routine course.
The Dichotomy Of Creativity And Order by Barbara O’Neal
How one creative, disorganized writer built systems that help her meet her writing goals — and all her other commitments. Barbara O’Neal is the author of more than a dozen award-winning, bestselling novels, including the USA Today bestseller, When We Believed in Mermaids. Writer Unboxed is a fantastic writing advice site, with lots of helpful articles from some of the biggest names in the field. Follow them on RSS (direct Feedly signup link) and on Twitter.
Podcast: Writing Faster Without Burning Out With L. A. Witt by Joanna Penn
Guest L. A. Witt writes paranormal and sci-fi romance, and in other romance genres, with over 200 novels and novellas in stores. She’s also the author of a new book for writers, Writing Faster For the Win, which deals with shaking off insecurities and self-doubt, streamlining the research process, and writing out of sequence. Joanna Penn has been sharing writing and publishing advice since 2008 at The Creative Penn and is the author of Successful Self-Publishing and many other writing and publishing advice books. She also has one of my favorite writing advice podcasts, and you can subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. The Creative Penn offers articles, videos, books, tools, and courses for independent authors.
Other motivational advice this week:
- Video: 3 Ways To Defeat Writer’s Block by Brenden Pugh for Writing Quest
- 6 Tips For Jumpstarting A Stalled Writing Career by A.D. Nauman for Writer’s Digest
- Create A Personal Writing Timeline To Make Progress On Your Project by Cindy Sproles for The Write Conversation
- Finding The Courage To Put Your Writing Out There by Patricia Crisafulli for Elizabeth Spann Craig
- Getting Naked by Kathleen McCleary for Writer Unboxed
- How Can I Set Aside The Cacophony Of Writing Advice And Just Write? by Jane Friedman for Jane Friedman
- How Can I Set Aside The Cacophony Of Writing Advice And Just Write? by Jane Friedman for Jane Friedman
- How To Choose The Right Story Idea by SJ Watson for National Novel Writing Month
- Video: How To Face Your Writing Fears With Ashley Wilda by Rachael Herron for Rachael Herron YouTube channel
- How To Increase Your Productivity When You Don’t Feel Productive by James Scott Bell for Killzoneblog.com
- How To Make A Storyboard by A. P. McKinney for A Writer’s Path
- Make A Promise And Keep It by C Hope Clark for FundsforWriters
- Resilience: Every Writer’s Secret Weapon by Bruce Robert Coffin for Career Authors
- Stop Trying To Finish Your To-Do List by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- Writer’s Block – And How To Beat It by Emylia Hall for The Novelry
- Writing: Good News/Bad News by Linda S. Clare for Linda S. Clare
The art and craft of writing
How Do Messages and Character Karma Interact? by Oren Ashkenazi
Character karma works independently of messaging, and regardless of whether the author wants it to. If the story’s villain acts in such a way that it seems like they’ve earned a victory but the hero wins anyway, the story is frustrating. 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.
Video: New Sudowrite Feature Fixes A Lot Of Problems by Jason Hamilton
Sudowrite is about to add Plugins, which will help authors customize this AI-powered novel writing platform to their own needs. Jason Hamilton is a fantasy author. Check out Hamilton’s site, MythHQ. You can also follow him on Twitter at @StoryHobbit and on Facebook at Jason Hamilton. The Nerdy Novelist is a YouTube channel focusing on using AI to write and market books.
Unpacking Suspense With Agent Zach Honey by Debbie Burke
Creating a page-turner novel means ramping up suspension to keep readers hooked. But how does a writer do that? And are there genre limits to applying suspense? Debbie interviews agent Zach Honey of FinePrint Literary Magazine, who talks about hope, fear, and uncertainty using examples from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, a story people return to despite knowing the outcome. And Zach reviews the types of suspense readers come to expect within genre fiction. Apply these methods, ratchet up the tension, and keep your readers turning until the last page. Debbie Burke is an award-winning thriller writer and journalist. For more, check out her website, DebbieBurkeWriter.com or follow her on Twitter at @burke_writer. 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.
Podcast: Deep Dive: Erin’s Short Fiction Extravaganza by Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler
The importance of antagonists, tone, and the horror genre in short stories — and how to decide if your short story should become a novel. Mary Robinette Kowal is the Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author of the Lady Astronaut series and other books and the former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Howard V. Tayler is the creator of the webcomic Schlock Mercenary. Writing Excuses is a podcast about the art and business of writing. Support them on Patreon.
Other writing advice this week:
- 5 Rules For Writing Humorous Urban Fantasy by James J. Butcher for Writer’s Digest
- Video: 5 Worst Editing Mistakes by Brandon McNulty for Writer Brandon McNulty
- 7 Pillars For Creating Characters That Captivate by Dave Villalva for David Villalva
- Video: AI + Megaprompts = Fiction Magic by Steph Pajonas for Future Fiction Academy
- Beating The Snallygaster: Pantsing, Endings, And Working With Your Muse by Mae Clair for Story Empire
- Beyond Stereotypes: Portraying Realistic LGBTIQ+ Characters by Arja Salafranca for Now Novel
- Brandon Sanderson’s 3 Laws For Creating Magic Systems In Your Fantasy Story by Lucy V Hay for Bang2write
- Character Type & Trope Thesaurus: Antihero by Becca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers
- Designing Your Fictional Spaceship by Jeremy Zentner for The Craft of Writing – SFWA
- Podcast: Everything Everywhere All At Once: Was There A Script? by Melanie Hill and Valerie Francis for Story Nerd
- Five Techniques For Great Exposition by Stavros Halvatzis for Stavros Halvatzis
- Video: Horror Monsters: Alternatives To Traditional Vampires And Werewolves by A. F. Stewart for A. F. Stewart
- How Connected Settings Give Your Fiction Emotional Depth by C. S. Lakin for Jane Friedman
- How To Create Character Mannerisms From Backstory Wounds by Janet Fox for Jane Friedman
- How To Improve Your Writing Style Without Memorizing A Lot Of Rules by Glen C. Strathy for How to Write a Book Now
- How To Know If Your Writing Is Good by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- How To Mix Humor With Horror In Fiction by Sam Rebelein for Writer’s Digest
- Video: How To Outline A Fiction Story: The Intro Of A Story by Michael Jaymes for Michael Jaymes
- Video: How To Turn A Script Into A Novel With ChatGPT And Claude 2 by Jason Hamilton for The Nerdy Novelist
- How To Use Archetypes In A Series by K. M. Weiland for Helping Writers Become Authors
- Video: How To Write A Full Book Using ChatGPT by Jason Hamilton for The Nerdy Novelist
- Video: How Writers Can Avoid Outlines by Daphne Gray-Grant for Publication Coach
- In The Beginning: Which Type Of Opening Works Best In A Novel? by Janice Hardy for Fiction University
- Video: Introducing The Cozy Fantasy by Morgan Hazelwood for Morgan Hazelwood
- Podcast: Let Your Dark Horse Run: Writing The Shadow by Joanna Penn for The Creative Penn
- Map Making For Authors by Margot Conor for Writers On The Move
- Video: Mastering Metaphors & Symbols: Craft Mesmerising Stories by Stavros Halvatzis for Get Writing
- Navigating The Complex Landscape Of Inner Conflict by C. S. Lakin for Live Write Thrive
- Problem-Solving: The Unsung Hero Of Every Story by Chris Winkle for Mythcreants
- Video: Self-Publishing Writer’s Checklist #3: Action & Dramatic Tension by Susan MacGregor for Writers’ Rx
- Serve Your Story, and You Won’t Go Wrong by Janice Hardy for Writers In The Storm
- Podcast: Should Writers Avoid Passive Voice? by Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and Wes Matlock for Mythcreants
- The Art Of Expanding And Condensing A Story by Leon Conrad for Writers In The Storm
- Podcast: The One Where Ashley Winstead Explains Story Arcs And Why Twilight Was Important by J.D. Barker, Christine Daigle, JP Rindfleisch IX, Kevin Tumlinson, and Patrick O’Donnell for Writers, Ink.
- Video: Turn Your Inner Darkness Into Words – With Joanna Penn by Mark Dawson and James Blatch for Self Publishing Formula
- Understanding Tech Fundamentals: The Basics All Writers Need by Lisa Norman for Writers In The Storm
- Unlocking The Recipe For Dystopian Fiction by Disha Walia for DIY MFA
- Unreliable Narration: A Useful Tool Or Just Hype? by Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants
- Who Shaped You; Who Shaped Your Characters? by Tiffany Yates Martin for FoxPrint Editorial
- Video: Why Is Marvel So Bad Now? (This One Thing Could Redeem The Entire MCU) by Abbie Emmons for Abbie Emmons
- Worldbuilding Template: 101 Prompts To Build An Immersive World by Jason Hamilton for Kindlepreneur
- Writing Flawed Characters Who Don’t Turn Readers Off by Angela Ackerman for Writers Helping Writers
- Writing In Scenes: The Secret To Show Don’t Tell by Paula Munier for Career Authors
- Podcast: Writing The Shadow Self With Joanna Penn by Sacha Black for Sacha Black
- Video: Writing The Shadow With Joanna Penn by Rachael Herron for Rachael Herron YouTube channel
- Video: Writing, Reading & Learning With Authors Judy Baker, Guy Morris, And Lisa Niver by Debra Eckerling for Writers On The Move
- Your Novel Is Not A Screenplay by Nathan Bransford for Nathan Bransford
The business side of writing
How To Get Your Self-Published Books Into Bookstores by Debbie P. Young
For most indie authors, the full print distribution route is not possible, at least not until they’ve hit that bestseller spot, which means planning and running your own bookstore distribution yourself. And if you are happy that this may not result in high sales, but will achieve your goal of having your book in stores, it’s very doable. This article shows you how. Debbie Young is the author of Your Book in Bookstores, other writing and publishing advice guides, and a series of mysteries. 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).
Podcast: Writing, Publishing, And Marketing Passion Projects: Publishing For Profit by Orna Ross and Joanna Penn
Are you writing a book that comes straight from the heart, a story you must write, one that begs that come out of you and onto the page? Orna and Joanna talk about their passion projects, business and publishing considerations tied to passion projects, and provide tips about writing, marketing, and publishing our most personal stories. Orna Ross is a novelist, poet, self-publishing advocate, and founder and director of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Follow her on Twitter at @OrnaRoss. Joanna Penn has been sharing writing and publishing advice since 2008 at The Creative Penn and is the author of Successful Self-Publishing and many other writing and publishing advice books. She also has one of my favorite writing advice podcasts, and you can subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. 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).
4 Book Publicity Facts That Will Help You Succeed by Sandra Beckwith
So, you’re approaching book marketing and wondering how best to reach your readers? Don’t overlook the power of publicity within your marketing plan. Sandra talks about what publicity is and provides practical steps for real people who don’t already know someone in media. 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).
Other business advice this week:
- Self-Publish Or Trad Publish? Take The Quiz! by Bryn Donovan for Bryn Donovan
- A Potpourri Of 190 Resources, Inspiration, and Tips by Sabrina Ricci for Digital Pubbing
- Podcasting For Authors – Hosting And Guesting by L. Diane Wolfe for Insecure Writer’s Support Group
- Your Best Writing Conference Ever by Randy Ingermanson for Advanced Fiction Writing
- 11 New Agents Seeking Kidlit, Women’s Fiction, Memoir, Genre Fiction, Nonfiction, Graphic Novels And More by Erica Verrillo for Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity
- Authors Guild Of America Author Income Survey Seems To Confirm ALLi Author Income Findings by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- Podcast: Print Copy Changes, Ghost Writing, And Hitting The Niche by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor for Sell More Books Show
- Design A Canva Ebook Cover In 8 Simple Steps (With Example) by Shannon Clark for The Book Designer
- Video: Spotify And Audiobooks Update, AI Voice Translation, and ChatGPT Multi-Modal For Authors by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- Video: DIY Formatting Tricks: How To Go Pro Without Going Broke by S.D. Huston for S.D. Huston
- Mastering Book Marketing: 7 Genius AI Strategies To Help Authors by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Business Musings: WGA Agreement Regarding AI by Kristine Kathryn Rusch for Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- Wattpad Originals Launches As A New Way To Pay The Site’s Authors by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- Book Award Update For Indie Authors: October 2023 by Hannah Jacobson for Self Publishing Advice
- Podcast: New Survey Confirms Indie Authors Earn More Than Traditionally Published Peers by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- Spotify Signs Audiobook Streaming Deals and The Society Of Authors Pushes For Clarity by Dan Holloway for Self Publishing Advice
- How To Make An Author Website In 8 Steps by Andre Calilhanna for BookBaby Blog
- How To Craft A Top-Notch Blurb by Erica Converso for Writers Helping Writers
- The Tricky Task Of Book Titles by Anne Hawkinson for Florida Writers Association Blog
- 50 Social Media Post Ideas For Authors by Bryn Donovan for Bryn Donovan
- Podcast: How To Market Your Backlist Titles by Penny Sansevieri for Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
- Book Publicity And Promotion—10 Essential Faqs Answered by Joan Stewart for The Book Designer
- 10 Magical Design Lessons From Harry Potter Book Covers by Audrey Hirschberger for The Book Designer
- Minimize Book Printing Costs With These 10 Helpful Tips by Shannon Clark for The Book Designer
- Video: Getting Your Book Rights Back: How To Manage Rights Reversion by Julie Broad for Book Launchers
- Video: The Future Of Publishing With Monica Leonelle by Kevin Tumlinson for Draft2Digital
- Video: Is Bookvault Worth It? by Dale L. Roberts for Self-Publishing with Dale
- Podcast: Metrics Of Mastery — Measuring Your Writing And Publishing Progress by Orna Ross for Self Publishing Advice
- Video: Clicks, Plots, And AI: Crafting Magnetic Book Marketing by Marigold for AI Writers Connection
- Yes, Authors Still Need To Follow Social Media Etiquette Rules by Anne R. Allen for Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
- Video: The Truth Behind Growing Your Audience by Shelby Leigh for Marketing by Shelby
- Video: How To Get Reviews & Endorsements By Linda Stirling by S.D. Huston for S.D. Huston
Am I missing any writing advice sites? Email me at [email protected] or leave a note in the comments below.