25 Things Every Writer Should Know An alternate title for this post might be, “Things I Think About Writing,” which is to say, these are random snidbits (snippets + tidbits) of beliefs I hold about what it takes to be a writer. I hesitate to say that any of this is exactly Zen (oh how often we as a culture misuse the term “Zen” — like, “Whoa, that tapestry is so cool, it’s really Zen“), but it certainly favors a sharper, shorter style than the blathering wordsplosions I tend to rely on in my day-to-day writing posts. Anyway. Peruse these. Absorb them into your body. Feel free to disagree with any of these; these are not immutable laws. Buckle up. 1. The Internet is 55% porn, and 45% writers. 2. A lot of writers try to skip over the basics and leap fully-formed out of their own head-wombs. 3. 4. I have been writing professionally for a lucky-despite-the-number 13 years. 5. Luck matters. 6. Nobody becomes a writer overnight. 7. Your journey to becoming a writer is all your own. 8. 9. 10. Value is a tricky word. 11. 12.
10 More Websites That Help Cure Writer’s Block With Writing Prompts From jumping into the shower to using voice recognition software, these famous authors (some Booker Prize awardees) have their own idiosyncrasies. But all of them seem to agree on one hurdle: the dread of writer’s block. Most of us are nowhere near those heights, but we do our own form of writing, like blog posts or simple journaling. Even then, sometimes the words just refuse to come. That’s when writing prompts can help. Let’s look at ten unique websites that give a leg-up to the struggling writer with writing prompts and ideas. Creative Writing Prompts We start off with a popular site for writing prompts. Writing Fix WritingFix.com is an educator’s resource for writing lessons and language skills. Plinky A prompt each day should help you light the spark of creativity. Fifteen Minutes of Fiction The Story Starter How about 1,108,918,470 creative prompts to make you perk up and start to write? Daydreaming on Paper The site says that it can inspire you with its random prompts. Toasted Cheese
201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity Arouse your creativity Electric flesh-arrows … traversing the body. A rainbow of color strikes the eyelids. A foam of music falls over the ears. It is the gong of the orgasm. ~ Anais Nin Creativity is like sex. I know, I know. The people I speak of are writers. Below, I’ve exposed some of their secret tips, methods, and techniques. Now, lie back, relax and take pleasure in these 201 provocative ways to arouse your creativity. Great hacks from Merlin Mann of 43 Folders
75 Books Every Writer Should Read Whether you want to make writing your career or just want to know how to improve your writing so that you can pass your college courses, there is plenty of reading material out there to help you get inspired and hone your skills. Here’s a collection of titles that will instruct you on just about every aspect of writing, from the basics of grammar to marketing your completed novel, with some incredibly helpful tips from well-known writers themselves as well. Writing Basics These books address things like structure, plot, descriptions and other basic elements of any story. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers: You can improve the quality of your writing by adding a mythical quality to them with advice and insight from this book. Advice from Authors Who better to give advice on writing than those who have made a name for themselves doing it? On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King: This is widely regarded as one of the best books for any aspiring author to read.
Your Top Reading Recommendations from 2010 I read more than 30 books in 2010. Last year was the first time I made a concerted effort to record the titles and authors of the books I read. In hindsight, I’m so glad I did. I’d love to recommend some of my favourite books from last year (that is, books I read, not necessarily ones that were published in that year), and ask you to chime in with your own favourites. My top five favourites of 2010 are: 1. Buy Crow Lake from Amazon What I loved about it: Crow Lake takes place in northern Ontario, which is where I was born and raised. 2. Buy The Sea from Amazon What I loved about it: The Sea is one of those books where not a whole lot happens, but Banville’s prose is amazing. 3. Buy Amy and Isabelle from Amazon In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. (Quoted from: Elizabeth Strout’s website) 4. Buy Rush Home Road from Amazon (Quoted from Product Description, Amazon) 5.
10 Reading Exercises for Fiction Writers I always find it exciting when I discover a book that in some way echoes whatever I happen to be writing at the time. It might share a similarity of style, story, or structure, or any combination of the three. Whatever the similarity, I find it helpful to delve into the writing to see what lessons I can glean. After reading several duds recently, I finally came across such a book–The China Garden by Kristina Olsson. While the story isn’t similar to my current work, the prose captured me from the very first page. All I could think was,”That is exactly what I imagine for my finished manuscript.” When I find a book like this, there are several things I do while reading it. Analyze the story’s structure. These activities really help me focus on what makes an book outstanding, as opposed to simply reading it and saying, “Ooh, good read.” What books have you found helpful to analyze?
General Writing If you are having trouble locating a specific resource please visit the search page or the Site Map. The Writing Process These OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading. While the writing process may be different for each person and for each particular assignment, the resources contained in this section follow the general work flow of pre-writing, organizing, and revising. For resources and examples on specific types of writing assignments, please go to our Common Writing Assignments area. Academic Writing These OWL resources will help you with the types of writing you may encounter while in college. Common Writing Assignments These OWL resources will help you understand and complete specific types of writing assignments, such as annotated bibliographies, book reports, and research papers. Mechanics Exercises relating to spelling can be found here. Grammar Punctuation
A Simple Novel Outline – 9 questions for 25 chapters « H.E. Roulo Just as every tree is different but still recognizably a tree, every story is different but contains elements that make it a story. By defining those before you begin you clarify the scope of your work, identify your themes, and create the story you meant to write. At Norwescon 2011 I sat in on a session called Outline Your Novel in 90-minutes led by Mark Teppo. I’ll give you the brief, readable, synthesized version. Answer 9 questions and create 25 chapter titles and you’re there. Here are the 9 questions to create a novel: 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) 5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) 9.) Now, with those 9 questions answered to your satisfaction, try to fill in a 25 chapter, 75,000 word outline. Chapters 7-18 are the middle of your book. Chapters 19-25 depict the heroic act to victory. Wasn’t that easy? Okay, sure, the work isn’t done yet. Using the idea that there are 25 chapters, I outlined my current work in progress. I hope that was helpful. Tell me what works for you. Related 6 Steps to Masterful Writing Critiques
How to Recover Your Writing Confidence (Even if You Think You Never Had Any) (Image from Flickr by hans s) No writer I know ever feels totally confident about their writing. A lack of confidence is absolutely normal (or at least, as normal as writers get…) In fact, a little bit of self-doubt can be a very positive thing. Revise and edit your work thoroughlySeek a second option before publishing your writingContinue learning and practicing as you develop your craft However … a real lack of confidence can be a huge stumbling-block for would-be writers. If you find yourself constantly revising and tweaking, or if you cringe every time you show a piece of writing to a friend or publish a blog post, or if you work always sounds stilted and guarded … then this post is for you. When You Were Young… I titled this post how to recover your writing confidence. You might have felt pretty unconvinced by that – perhaps you’re sure that you never had any confidence at all. Perhaps it was when you were very small. Perhaps you were in primary school. Perhaps you were a teenager.
Themes & Things To Keep In Mind When Writing Fantasy Stories and Adventures » Daily Encounter This list is far from complete. It’s not even trying to be complete. It knows better than that. It just wants to be helpful and provide some inspiration here and there; you know, offer little suggestions that might lead to bigger ideas. (Especially by using the words offered as Wikipedia searches!) Feel free to make suggestions in the comments! Weather Natural: sunlight, rain, snow, hail, fog, humidity, moonlight, wind, smoke, clouds, shadows, overcast skies, clear skies, lightning, hurricanes, tornadoes, moon in sky during daytimeFantastic: summoned weather, unnatural coloration (eg. green fog) Terrain Changes Landmarks Natural: stone outcropping, lightening struck trees, large boulders, waterfallsArtificial: lone buildings (eg. towers, houses, barns), statues, signs/markers, border wallsFantastic: large skeletons (eg. dragons, giants) After-Effects of Events Tricks Cultures Mysticism Events Unfolding Harsh Situations fatigue, hunger, thirst, extreme temperaturesenemy territories (invading?
23 Websites that Make Your Writing Stronger We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. ~Ernest Hemingway How strong is your writing? No matter how good you think it is, there’s always room for improvement. (***By the way, have you seen this amazing online creative writing course, “Story Is a State of Mind,” created by Giller finalist Sarah Selecky? Want to strengthen your story, empower your performance, and beef up on the publishing business? Here are 23 sites (in no particular order) I look to for daily inspiration and advice: PS If you find this list useful, please share it on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon – I’d really appreciate it! 4) Query Shark A query critique site you don’t want to miss. 5) Men with Pens Fantastic articles on copywriting and freelancing. 6) Ask Allison Writing and publishing Q&A by novelist Allison Winn Scotch. 10) Pub Rants Self-proclaimed “very nice literary agent,” Kristin Nelson, rants about writing and publishing. What sites help you make your writing stronger?
9 Editing Tips that Make Your Writing Sparkle It’s often said that writing is rewriting. Banging out a quick first draft can be fun, but the real grunt work comes in revising your work. Here are nine editing tips that can help you polish your writing until it sparkles: 1. When you become too familiar with a piece of writing, suddenly it’s more difficult to spot weaknesses and errors. 2. Better than just reading your work aloud is recording yourself (most computers have a voice recording program already installed). 3. Don’t write the last word of your first draft and then launch into editing mode straight away. 4. If your sentence makes sense without using a particular word, cut it. 5. “A passive construction occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence,” says this university web resource. 6. Have you ever re-read a piece of your writing, only to find you’ve used the same word twice in the same sentence, or three times in the same paragraph? 7. 8. 9. Polished Writing
Writer’s Digest - Writing Prompts Write a scene that includes a character speaking a different language, speaking in a thick accent, or otherwise speaking in a way that is unintelligibe to the other characters. (Note: You don't necessarily need to know the language the character is speaking—be creative with it!) Describe a character's reaction to something without explaining what it is. See if your fellow prompt responders can guess what it is. Write a story or a scene about one character playing a prank on another. Writing Prompt: Write a story that involves confusion over homonyms (words that have the same spelling but different meanings) or homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently). For World Storytelling Day, share the best story you've ever heard or told by word of mouth, or have a fictional character recount their favorite story. You're making your way down a cobbled street when a stocky, red-bearded man beckons you into an alley. Consider your handwriting, or a character's handwriting.
How to write an excellent first chapter for your novel - Writing Tips From philosophy to literature to learning a new language, Humanities 360 is a veritable fountain of knowledge on everything you’d like to know about the humanities. Resources for every level of writing Here at Helium Publishing, we pride ourselves on knowing a thing or two about writing. We are, after all, one of the largest online writer communities. The grand world of poetry and literature There’s nothing quite like opening up a great piece of literature. Journeying across time and history If the old adage is true that history is bound to repeat itself, then find out what’s coming by boning up on what’s already happened. Learning new languages The intricacies of learning a new language can leave you tongue-tied, but in our Languages section, you can find out language learning tips, and discover the origins of new words you encounter. From exploring worlds of old to writing about what’s to come, you’ll find all the help you need at Humanities 360!