It’s fall! Students are back at school, football is on, and if you’re a Northeasterner like me, the weather is perfectly cool and sunny.
I don’t know about you, but I love this season. It feels like a writer’s season. It’s time bring a blanket and computer to your balcony, porch, or favorite coffee shop and just write. Recharge. Begin a new and productive period.
As always, at The Write Practice, we love to give you opportunities to jump into writing again. Use the fall-inspired writing prompts to get you going.
Have you ever used a word for years — like, maybe during your thesis defense or in a high-profile report for work — then realized one day that you had it totally wrong? That big word you thought was making you look so erudite was, in fact, working against you. Turns out, coif is not the same as coiffure, and you never even realized it.
No one is immune from this, neither journalists nor poets, essayists nor novelists. The problem often stems from our natural inclination as writers to grab hold of an exciting new word and just run with it. Not only do we end up using words just plain wrong, our enthusiasm leads to overuse as well.
By slowing down just a little bit, recognizing common pitfalls, and inserting some deliberate practice into your vocabulary usage, you can turn this trend around.
We think that we need talent in order to be successful writers—or musicians, or golfers. But the truth is, writing, like any other skill, is learned and improved through daily discipline. Are you maintaining the disciplines you need to become a successful writer?
You have just opened your email from the magazine you submitted your article to. You read the email you have been hoping for and dreaming of: “Hey there, we want to publish your article. Please reply with a fifty-word killer bio. We will post it at the end of your article. You can include up to three links.”
Wow, your writing has been accepted! Now you have to say who you are.
Writing your biography can seem almost as challenging as writing the piece you submitted. But it is a necessary part of publishing your writing. How will your readers know who wrote your wonderful article if you do not tell them?
Let’s start with the obvious: You don’t know how to write a book. I’ve written seven books, and I don’t really know how to write a book either. I have a process that works, sure, but with writing, as with many things in life, it’s always when you think you know what you’re doing that you get into trouble.
So let’s just admit right now, you don’t know how to write a book, and definitely not in 100 days, and that’s okay. There, don’t you feel better?
You finally reach the last page of a book that kept you up all night and close it with the afterglow of satisfaction and a tinge of regret that it’s over. If you enjoyed the book enough to stay up reading it way past your bedtime, consider writing a review. It is one of the best gifts you can give an author.
But as you face the five shaded stars and empty box, a blank mind strikes. What do I say? I mean, is this a book really deserving of five stars? How did it compare to Dostoevsky or Dickens?
Maybe there’s an easier way to write a book review.
One of the key signs of a well-written character is when the reader is able to identify them with a single line of dialogue. It’s that feeling of I’d know that character anywhere. How are authors able to perfect this art? By finding their voice.
Here’s the underlying principle: your characters are people. People are complicated; I suspect you might know a few. Characters are much the same way. Your reader will relate to them if they behave like people, and for characters to behave like people, they need to be built like people.
You need to know your characters like you do other humans, and these six prompts will help you pull that off.
The standard rule is this: “show, don’t tell.” Instead of telling your reader that Jane is “sad,” show the reader by describing Jane’s demeanor, her tears, etc. You’re supposed to allow the reader to experience Jane’s sadness with her.
But in a 80,000 word manuscript, chances are you’ll do at least some telling. The temptation to “tell” usually arises when you need to share background information, summarize events, or provide context for what’s happening.
When self-publishing a book, every author is faced with the dilemma of creating a book cover that is worthy of their writing.
But most of us don’t have the money to hire a top-notch book design professional, or the tools and skills to create one ourselves. However, there is another way that many authors are finding is much cheaper and will guarantee your satisfaction: Premade book covers.