It’s that time of year again: the season of a million holiday writing prompts plastering the internet. I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and give you another one. Groan if you like.
Two of the most vital skills you should focus on as a writer are how to tell a story that works and how to develop compelling characters. But once you’ve got that figured out, aren’t there other writing techniques, more subtle perhaps, that draw readers in and make stories shine?
There are. And one of those writing techniques is called euphonics. Rayne Hall, author of the Writer’s Craft series, defines euphonics as “the use of sound devices for prose writing.”
December can be a difficult time for creatives. With holiday parties, additional family responsibilities, and decorations to hang, it is hard to keep up the discipline of writing. Sometimes what we need is someone in our ear, giving us advice and spurring us onward, with motivational quotes for writers.
It would be helpful if this inner coach was a model of leadership and discipline. So let’s embrace some of the motivational quotes of retired four-star general in the United States Army Colin Powell.
You’re a storytelling genius full of brilliant ideas, right? You don’t need things like “structure” and “rules” to write a good story.
Or do you?
The Six Core Questions of Story Grid identify the fundamental elements of your story. They’ll help you figure out what your story is truly about, and what you need to include in it to turn it into a book readers will love.
When I published my first book, which became a #1 Amazon bestseller many times over, I had an edge over most other authors. My advantage wasn’t because I’m a better writer. It wasn’t even because I’m better at promotion than other authors. It was because I had developed relationships with two very important groups of people.
How did I do it? How did I become a bestselling author before I ever published my first book?
In Write to Publish, my program that teaches you the foundation you need to become a bestselling author, I share the timeless strategies that I learned on my way to becoming a bestselling author myself. How does the program work? And does it actually help people become published, bestselling authors?
In this review of Write to Publish, I’ll share the two most important rules that changed my life as an aspiring writer, and I’ll share the three most important relationships you need to make as an author. I’ll also answer frequently asked questions.
Pseudo-working looks like work, but it doesn’t produce much. If you’ve ever been trying to focus on writing an article while checking your phone for social media updates and fielding dinner requests, you’re pseudo-working. (No, I’m not doing that right now, why do you ask?)
Admitting the dangers of pseudo-working has helped me focus and get more writing done in less time. See if it will help you too!
I recently went on a writing retreat with several other Young Adult writers, and Beth Revis helped each of us to fix the pacing and plot holes in our novels by using her four-act structure for a novel.
Some writing techniques aren’t for everybody, but as soon as she walked me through this outlining process, I was hooked. It gave me the perfect guideline for plotting all of my future novels. In fact, I used it to plot my NaNoWriMo novel for this year.
So let’s talk about the four-act novel structure and what some of the key points are in the outline to help you plan out your next book.
The new year is almost here, and for most people that means setting new writing goals and pushing themselves to be better, more productive, and happier.
Before you dive into setting big writing plans for 2019, I urge you to take time out to look at your accomplishments and evaluate the writing goals you set for 2018.
Have you ever read a story that just falls flat for you and you don’t know why? Chances are it was missing one of the archetypical elements our brains are hardwired to seek out in a story. When you sit down at the keyboard, the last thing you want to do is write a story that fails to grab and hold a reader.
So how do you satisfy those hardwired expectations?
How’s your holiday shopping going? You’ve heard of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. This year, we’re introducing something new: Write Practice Wednesday!
If you’re looking for gifts for writers this season, you’ve come to the right place.
Do you think about your writing too much? Do you focus too much on unfinished writing goals?
I know I do. Every day I catch myself worrying about word counts, deadlines, and opportunities I’ll be missing out on.
You’d think that this kind of obsession would make you a better writer, or at least a more motivated one. But it’s probably poisoning you, embittering you against the very craft you’ve come to love.
To save yourself from this jaded point of view, you need a way to take a step back. You need thankfulness.
I’m a firm believer in deadlines.
Some will argue that creativity has no end point and that they can’t be inspired if there’s a timeline. If that mindset results in powerful writing and stories that resonate with readers as regularly as you’d like, then go forth and continue with the process that is working for you!
If, however, you can’t seem to finish in the time and manner you desire, a little deadline practice might be just the thing you need to propel your writing forward.
You might think you don’t need to do much research because you’re writing fiction. (Isn’t fiction just making stuff up?!) You’d be wrong.
Your readers expect to be transported to your setting and to understand your characters so fully, they seem like real people. Little things like using the wrong jargon or having your main character wear the wrong type of bodice can jar your reader out of the story and cause them to lose respect for you as a writer. If they can’t trust you to get the facts right, why should they trust you to guide them through a story?
Like it or not, research is a writer’s best friend. (Next to caffeine, anyway.) So let’s talk about how to conduct research for a book.
When you put your writing out there for others to read, what do you hope will happen? If you’re like most writers, you want readers to get pulled into your story and keep turning pages to the end. You want your story to be un-put-downable.
It’s no secret that the time-tested method of using cliffhangers at the end of your chapters or scenes is a sure-fire way to make that happen. But what a lot of writers don’t realize is that the cliffhanger ending is only half the equation.
The cliffhanger is the hook that makes the reader turn the page, but if you don’t have a solid line supporting them across the gap and a sinker that pulls them deep into the next scene or chapter, your fish is likely to wriggle off and swim away.
I work with a lot of writers, and by far the most frustrated, disappointed, and confused writers I work with aren’t the ones chasing after the publication of their first book.
It’s the ones who have already published their first book.
How do you publish your book and sell your first 1,000 copies?
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard this question: “What’s your genre?” Or you’ve been asked, “What do you write?”
As writers, we tend to find a creative “happy place” and stay inside of three boxes: medium, form, and genre. This allows us to find a consistent voice and target our work toward a very specific reader.
But staying inside these boxes without any deviation can have major drawbacks that will threaten the quality of your writing, and the joy of writing itself. Here are three ways to challenge yourself beyond your typical writing bounds.
Expectations are important. If you are craving yogurt and you walk into a bakery, you are likely to be disappointed. If you go into your boss’s office thinking you are going to get a raise but all you receive is a pat on the back, you will probably be frustrated. If you think your date is taking you to see a ballet and you end up at a monster truck rally instead, you are likely to be confused, irritated, and overdressed.
Having appropriate expectations when it comes to writing sprints like NaNoWriMo are equally important. Sprints can be wonderful teachers; but it’s important to understand what we should expect from them.
Across the world this week, writers began spinning stories and obsessively checking their word counts, all in pursuit of that magic number: 50,000 words. Every year, I tell myself I don’t have time to do NaNoWriMo, and every year, I end up participating anyway.
But a couple years ago, I decided to break the rules and I had the best NaNoWriMo month ever. Maybe you need to break some rules yourself to redefine your writing this month.
Happy Halloween, everyone! Since I write horror, this is obviously my favorite holiday. To celebrate, I crafted several six-word horror stories to tweet throughout the day. And today, you’re going to practice doing the same thing!
Warning: Six-word stories are addicting.