Anonymous asked: Hi, when you ask for advice in terms of how to become a better writer, you usually get the same answer: Write a little EVERY DAY. My questions is: working in your draft, pulling together ideas and working in fleshing out or developing your characters counts? Because I have been working every day in my draft, and I feel more in contact with my creative self, but I feel I’m lacking in terms of writing style.
Yes—even just working in your draft, fleshing out characters, world building, etc., counts to some degree, because it’s still forcing you to work with the pieces of writing, learning how to fit them all together. But you should also make sure you’re actually doing some story writing every day (or as often as possible), even if it’s just a few hundred words. Whether you work on the first draft of your work in progress, or whether you use writing prompts or other exercises to write short stories, it will help you hone your writing style and get practice in things like using different POVs and tenses, crafting metaphors and similes, and colorful description. And the reality is, your writing style won’t blossom into full maturity while you’re working on your first piece, or your second, or your third. It takes time for that to grow and mature, but every single thing you write gets you another step in that direction. So be patient with yourself and just keep writing!
- Where Do Writers Find Their Ideas?
- On Inspiration
- How To Write A Novel
- Getting Started With A Book
- Hints About Writing A Story
- Novel Outlining 101
- From Notes To Novel
- Plotting A Novel
- Why Don’t I Have A Plot, And Where Do I Get One?
- How To Create A Character
- Creating Characters
- Character Creation
- Name That Character! (2)
- You And Your Characters
- How To Write Backstory Without Putting Your Reader To Sleep
- How To Use Foreshadowing
- How To Write Dialogue (2)
- How To Make Your Writing More Interesting
- Writing Block
- How To Get Unstuck
- Advice For Young Writers (2)
- On Word Counts And Novel Length
- Top 4 Ways to Know Your Idea is Novel-Worthy
- How A Book Gets Published
- How Do You Go About Getting Published
And remember: Google is your best friend.
1. Enjoy what you do.Which means, if you don’t love spending hours at the typewriter,
computer, or whatever your medium is, don’t even start. You have to be willing
and ready to spend untold hours writing, rewriting, and writing some more.
2. Be patient.No book has ever been written overnight. You’re in for a long
haul. This may take a year, or more. Oh, and since we’re on it: prepare to write
more than one book. Publishers want authors, not single books.
3. Allow your story to end.This may sound trivial, but in fact it’s crucial, and a
stumbling block for many writers. You need to find an ending to your story, and
let go of it. You need to decide to end the writing and declare your novel
finished at some point.
4. Edit.You know what I said in Tip #3? Well, your novel is not finished just because you have an ending. When you’ve written a first
draft, it’s just that: a draft. Now the real writing begins. Edit until your
eyes bleed and your fingers break off. And by this I mean: step away from your
finished draft, let it sit for a couple of weeks, and come back with a rested
mind and fresh eyes. You will see what needs to be changed.
I really want to start writing my first original story but I have no idea where to start! I’ve written lots of fanfiction stories because it’s easier when you already have a starting point and characters to work off of; but I’m ready to start…
Deadlines are a fact of life for writers. And sometimes it’s hard to stay sane when you’re facing a tight deadline (or two or three…). Whether it’s a self-imposed time frame for building your author platform or a publisher breathing down your neck for edits to your novel, working under pressure can be stressful.
Time constraints are usually manageable, but it’s human nature to procrastinate—so many distractions!—and writers sometimes end up working feverishly around the clock right to the last minute. So, how do you stay sane when you’re on a deadline? Here are a few tips.
Anonymous asked: Have you done NaNoWriMo? If so, what things do you wish you had known when you participated for the first time?I’ve done three NaNoWriMos and a Camp NaNowriMo, so with 21 days until lift off, if anyone else has any questions, now’s the time! :)
Ok, here we go…
Five Things I Wish I’d Known Going Into My First NaNoWriMo
1. Missed Days Add Up - You have to write at least 1,667 words per day to stay caught up, but missing even a few days can really bump up your daily word count goal. That said, if you have a few busy days, it’s better to write even 200 or 300 words than none at all. It can make a really big difference in how much you need to write on a catch-up day.
2. Plan a Weekly Catch-Up Day - Life has a way of exploding on or around November 1st, so it’s good to have a built-in day each week where you can spend several hours writing without distraction.
3. Tell People What You’re Doing - Let your friends and family know that you will be a bit short on social time during November. It helps a lot if you don’t have people coming at you left and right demanding your time. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if people invite you to do something and you can’t afford the break. Let them know you’ll be free again on or around December 1st.
4. Write More When You Can - In the same vein as the built-in catch up day, when you’re writing, try to keep going past your daily word count if you have the time and motivation. Just an extra 300 or so words per day can turn your weekly catch-up day into a gravy day or even—if you’re really ahead—a much needed day off.
5. Take Care of Yourself - Be sure to give yourself plenty of breaks when you’re writing. Set a timer so that you can stand up and stretch for a few minutes every twenty minutes or so. Try to get a little exercise each day before writing because it gets the creative juices flowing. Make sure you drink plenty of water, which will help keep you from feeling sluggish. Also, make sure you have a nutritious snack handy if you need something to munch on during a break.
We like our stories to be a little bit conventional. We like beginnings and middles and ends, and catchphrases and slow-motion explosions and kisses in the rain. We want to see heroes win and villains get steam pipes thrown through them and dogs cover their eyes with their paws when something embarrassing happens.
Cracked has broken this down before, discussing how Hollywood scripts in particular are assembled almost like Mad Libs, major story elements laid out according to precise minute-by-minute formulas. And yet almost no one notices this because of how comfortable we are with the formula; we expect stories to be laid out this way.
But other than our own cognitive laziness, there’s nothing that says stories have to be so formulaic, that tales can’t be spun around innovative, inventive structures. Not in the movies, of course — those are doomed. But in a word-movie, the so called “book”? Holy shit, yes. With no obligation to make back a $200 million budget or pull in the increasingly slope-browed 16-to-24 demographic, writers have pulled all sorts of inventive stunts when writing novels. Here are five of the most mind-bending.
The most suspenseful series since Breaking Bad is back with its third episode. This time it’s about research. The reason I put the “non” in parentheses up there is because, as we’ve stated before, research is vital to anyone doing any sort of writing. So even though this article is geared toward a non-fiction writer, you’ll probably find it useful if you’re fiction writer.
We’re going to cover a bunch of different methods of research. Some of these methods won’t effective for every person and every project, but this general overview should be helpful. This is by no means every research skill or concept that you will ever need.
Important disclaimer before we get rolling: This post isn’t about doing original research. Original research, e.g. crunching one’s own statistics, conducting interviews, and things like this, are all very important parts of doing research, but vary far and wide by field. The methods for compiling qualitative and quantitative research are amazingly diverse and certainly couldn’t be answered here. For this, post, we’re sticking to book learnin’. And, you know, similar things.
First, let’s talk about the Internet.
Like most newspaper reporters, I got into the biz because a) I love writing and b) I’m pretty good at it. But it’s a sobering profession. You file your masterpiece, only to find your editor thinks it’s two dozen “tinks” shy of publishable. Repeat this scenario a couple hundred times, and you’ll find you’ve grown some thick skin. You’ve also gotten pretty darn good at self-editing. So, I’m here to impart some wisdom on the art of quickly perfecting your own workâhow to hone, trim, and morph clumsy words and phrases into a clear, concise message that will wow your audience.
Check out Caroline McMillan’s Life Hacker article on editing your own writing, it contains some great tips.
Writing Fiction For Dummies