A favorite resource of mine when looking for inspiration is TED Talk territory. There’s a wide variety to choose from, they’re short, full of provocative viewpoints and stimulating ideas.
I perused the offerings pertaining to story this week and chose six TED Talks for writers, presentations worth watching when you need a boost or a reminder about why you’re doing this.
So you wrote a story or a novel or a book. You’re proud. You’re excited. Visions of publishing dance in your head. Then you go back and read your story or novel or book, and you think, “Well, this is good and I feel proud of it. But it doesn’t match up to the stories/novels/books I know and love.”
You wrote a GOOD story, but not a GREAT one. Worse, you don’t know why.
What’s the difference between grammar vs punctuation? Why do they matter, or do they matter at all?
And how can you get better at them, even if all the grammar and punctuation rules are a struggle to remember?
Ideas always feel fully formed in our minds. But when we sit down to put them into words, the struggle begins. Ideas don’t just morph into narrative form. They resist our efforts, and soon the process of storytelling becomes torture.
Thankfully there are strategies you can use to overcome the stubborn nature of an idea and successfully rise to the challenge of writing a great story.
And one of the best strategies you can use is the Three-Act Structure.
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What are you learning?
Sometimes it feels like I can’t learn things fast enough. I’ve been working to improve my ability to evoke emotion in my writing. It’s been harder than I think it should be, and I often lament that I don’t have enough time to learn all I need to learn to make my fiction work.
But as I wring my hands thinking I don’t have time, I’m missing a great opportunity right in front of me every day. Being present, paying attention, and thinking about the world I see are all excellent ways to learn. When I look at the world through a writer’s eye, I see writing lessons all around me.
Writing is hard enough when you’re writing action scenes and plot twists. It’s even harder when you have to write an emotional scene, especially if it’s one that comes from your own experiences. We’re talking with romance writer Michelle Dalton to find out how she deals with choosing to write from the heart.
Whether you love the genre or loathe it, romance novels can teach you how to connect emotionally with your reader.
Fear is the base element of horror. Fear is also the base element of all other stories. Fear of failure, fear of being abandoned, fear of change, fear of giant spiders invading your basement . . . it’s all horror in the end.
Learning to be one with that fear and to use all five senses to describe it will help you uncover the deepest feelings of your characters, whether you’re writing a horror novel or a YA romance.
Writing a great story is hard. Every author worth his or her salt knows this from painful experience. And if you’re setting out to write something worthwhile, you’re going to encounter failure along the way. But that doesn’t mean you’re a failed writer.
Despite the temptation to give up or run away from writing again, you have to keep going. You have to keep writing.
Because the reward waiting for you is priceless. Not only that, the reward can only come from failure.
And it’s the ingredient that will make your story a must-read.
In high school, I was part of an amazing football team. We won most of our games and routinely went to the State Championship. But it wasn’t just the players that made the team great — it was also the coaches. And writing coaches can have just as great an impact on our writing.
An incredible coach doesn’t just tell you what to do and how to do it. They help you as you learn, answering questions and showing you how to improve your performance.
When I started writing, one of the first things I began looking for were coaches who could help me along the way. Finding the right writing coaches can make all the difference in our work.
It’s that time of year again. The newness and hope of a fresh start has worn off and if you’re like me, old habits beckon like a warm blanket. Whether you are still holding firm on your resolutions, didn’t make any, or have already abandoned your “new year, new you,” the challenge of resolutions provide a host of ideas for writing.
Are you considering taking Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass? Neil Gaiman is a brilliant author, and expert-led Masterclasses are known for being informative and inspiring. If you’re wondering whether Neil Gaiman’s class is right for you, read on for my Neil Gaiman Masterclass review.
How do you create characters that resonate with readers, stirring their emotions and rousing their empathy? That’s the goal we all share as writers, right? What if there were a way to combine psychology and writing to make your characters come alive on the page?
To build characters that strike a chord within readers, you need to craft someone who feels realistic, someone your readers can relate to because their motivations and behaviors are modeled on the way real people think and act.
The New Year is upon us, and if you’re like me, you have all kinds of ideas about what you want to conquer in 2019. Now that you’ve had some time to mull over the goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s time to consider how you’re going to accomplish them in the best way possible. I have a few tips for creativity to help you start the year off well.
Point of view is the vehicle that drives a story. Get it right, and your novel hums along smoothly and your reader never notices.
Get it wrong, however, and your book becomes an unbearable clunker rife with confusion.
Shawn Coyne, author of The Story Grid, has read a lot of critically acclaimed and successful books, and noticed something about their point of view. All of these books used a specific style of narration, and you can use it too.
My father died over twenty years ago. One of my strongest memories of him is of him reading.
He was a surgeon and a teacher. Most nights, after dinner, he would sit down at the end of the table with a stack of medical journals on his right. He would then read through them one at a time. When he finished one, he would stack it on his left.
He was a brilliant man who invented surgical techniques, wrote articles, and published a few books; yet still, every night he was reading. As writers we spend so much time with words, we forget how important it is that we are also reading and learning.
It’s a new year! New goals! New motivation!
But what happens when an ER visit derails me, a work project explodes and requires far more time than I planned, or I experience some other plan-busting interruption?
Too often, I have an all-or-nothing attitude toward change and progress. If I’ve eaten off the plan for one meal today, I’m far more likely to make unhealthy choices the rest of the day, week, and month. How can I short-circuit this negative thinking pattern and abandon all-or-nothing thinking to get more writing done this year?
Writers’ conferences can launch a career. They bring writers face to face with authors, agents, editors, publishers, and other writers at all skill levels.
But they can feel overwhelming for the uninitiated. With all the offerings, how does a writer navigate a conference to get the most from it?
There’s no shortage of writing prompts out there. We even do them with every post here on the Write Practice blog.
Prompts have a place in writing, whether it’s overcoming writer’s block or simply as a warmup to get your brain moving. Writing prompts are awesome.
Until they’re not.
What do you do if you hate the writing prompt you’re given?
You have a book inside of you. Perhaps you have a great story idea. Maybe people have told you, “Your life should be made into a book!” Or maybe you feel like you have an idea that’s important to share with the world. Whatever your motivations, it’s not enough to want to write, you need to know how to write a book.
In this post, we’re talking about how to write a book, including the ways not to write a book, plus the 10 steps that I’ve led hundreds of now-authors through as they finished their first books.