Category Archives: Writing

The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart

Novelty Revisions

How do you know if the writing advice you’re being given is worth listening to?

Does it matter if someone is a published author or not?

Who is “qualified” to give the best advice?

These are all tricky questions. So here are some of the types of advice you’ll generally get about writing, who they tend to come from, and how to apply them (if at all) to your own writing life.

From a well-meaning acquaintance

“I never, ever do it that way. I always do it like this, and it’s definitely going to help you too.”

Unfortunately, there are a lot of (I suppose) well-meaning people out there who don’t know how to think outside their own mindset. They see the world only from their perspective. So even though they might want to genuinely help someone by offering advice, it’s usually very one-sided and closed-minded. But you should never…

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Writing to Give Shape to Our Lives

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz slavinBy Nancy Slavin

“I write because writing helps bring life into clearer focus and give shape to what I might otherwise experience as disconnected shards.”  – Joyce Thomas

I read the Joyce Thomas quote above in a 2011 issue of Poets & Writers and practically hummed out loud in my attraction to it. The urge to write for me is a primordial need to make sense of experiences that often happen in pieces. The way I make sense of the pieces is by creating the story, which hopefully turns out whole. Certainly in the case my daughter’s birth, the pieces of a fifty-four hour labor are disconnected, fragmenting more and more with each passing year, making me wonder which pieces are important enough to keep? And yet, long as the labor was and as bloody the outcome, I don’t use warfare metaphors to discuss that birth or write about my…

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Tension and Conflict. What’s the Difference?

KRISTINA STANLEY

Tension and conflict will keep your reader engaged in every scene. Knowing the difference and when to use each will drive your story forward.

Tension

Tension is the threat of something bad happening. This creates suspense.

Tension can be subtle or in-your-face.

Subtle Tension: Imagine one character is hiding a secret that could destroy his life and another character is about to accidentally spill the secret. The reader will feel the tension if you’ve set up the scene so that the reader knows the second character can’t keep a secret.

In-your-face Tension: A woman is thrown off a boat at sea. The tension comes if the reader cares about the character and wants her to survive. Or the tension could be she’s an evil woman who is about to destroy the world, and the reader doesn’t want her to survive.


Conflict

Conflict is the fight that is actually happening. A…

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Creating Tension in Fiction and Memoir

A Writer's Path

by Michael Mohr

One of the toughest things to do in fiction or creative nonfiction writing, in my professional opinion, is to create strong, believable tension. Without tension—between the protagonist and a villain, the protagonist and him/herself, the protagonist and the environment, etc—you really don’t have much of a story. And it’s unlikely readers will want to follow you far through the jungle of your narrative.

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How To Plan Your Novel Using The Three-Act Structure

Writer's Blog

Three-act-structure_1

Writing a novel is hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. You’ve spent hours researching, building your world and becoming an expert on your characters. Now you’re ready for the next step: planning (also known as plotting).

While some people like to write organically (letting the story take you in whatever direction feels right), having a detailed outline can help make the novel-writing process a lot less daunting and overwhelming. But how exactly do you plan a novel?

Essentially, there is no right or wrong way to outline your novel. Each story is different and needs to be told in a different way.

However, if you need a bit more guidance on how to plot out the next bestseller you know you have inside you, the three-act structure might be for you.

Defining The Three-Act Structure

The three-act structure is a popular screenwriting technique that revolves around constantly creating set-ups, conflicts and resolutions. With this structure…

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How Long Should A Book Be? Word Count Guidelines by Genre.

First Edition Design Publishing - a hybrid publisher

A constant complaint I hear from agents, editors, writing teachers, and reviewers is that they see too many manuscripts with inappropriate word counts.

If you’re getting a lot of form rejections or simply silence from agents, reviewers and editors, this may be why.

Word count guidelines have been trending down in the last decade. Most editors won’t look at a debut manuscript longer than 100K words—a little longer if it’s fantasy or a non-romance historical. They were not so rigid ten years ago.

Now publishers—and many readers—won’t take a chance on any long book by an unproven author.

While readers will happily plunk down the big bux for an 819-page book by George R. R. Martin, they’ll turn up their noses at a book that long—even if it only costs 99c—if it’s written by Who R. R. You.

I know the “accepted wisdom” in the indie world is that…

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Recording Your Memories

Writer's Block No More

Try This Technique

By Annette Rey

For the third time in less than a year, a person close to me has died. This has left me feeling fate knocking at my door. For protection from these outer influences I crawl into my writer’s hole and find memoir to be the perfect subject to contemplate.

Take a peek…

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12 Things to Tell Yourself When You Start to Believe You Can’t Actually Do This

Novelty Revisions

1. People who criticize my work just to put me down aren’t worth paying attention to.

2. And just because I receive constructive, negative feedback doesn’t mean I did a bad job.

3. There are always going to be people better and more successful than me. I still matter.

4. If I want other people to be happy for me, I really need to try to be happy for them when they succeed.

5. I want to be a writer. No one is making me do it. This is my dream and I’m not giving up on it.

6. Every writer writes terrible first drafts. What matters most is that I finish it.

7. Everyone doubts themselves. This is normal. There is nothing wrong with my brain.

8. The more I push back against my self-doubt, the easier it will be to get up next time it knocks me down.

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