The Secret Cartel Behind Every Great Writer

The Secret Cartel Behind Every Great Writer

The stereotypical writer used to be a silent, brooding genius who kept to himself and rarely ventured into the outside world, except to do “research” on how the subjects of his stories lived. People imagined an entire profession of Emily Dickinsons, pale and contemplative.

However, for nearly every famous writer—from Ernest Hemingway to Virginia Woolf, J.R.R. Tolkien to Mary Shelley—this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth.

And the truth is that nearly every great writer had a Cartel.

How to Win the Readers’ Choice Award: 5 Strategic Things One Winner Did

How to Win the Readers’ Choice Award: 5 Strategic Things One Winner Did

“I published a book, didn’t tell a soul about it, and it became a best seller!!” Said no writer ever.

But we wish it were true, don’t we? We want to hole up and write epic tales and thought-provoking prose, not hock books door to door and shout from the rooftops about how awesome we are. Can’t we just write? Well … write, but also be discovered and then catapulted to great heights by someone else.

We’d like readers to find us that way, please. We don’t want to navigate those scary waters of how to market a book.

How to Write a Scene: 3 Theater Techniques to Make Your Story Jump Off the Page

How to Write a Scene: 3 Theater Techniques to Make Your Story Jump Off the Page

It’s time to write that scene. You know, the one you’ve been avoiding. You’ve sketched out your character and the scene’s objective, but how do you get your character from point A to point B? What exact words should he use? What specific actions should she take to accomplish her scene goal?

If you’ve ever faced that blank page with these questions in mind, you’ll be pleased to learn about three techniques, borrowed from the actor’s playbook, that will boost your writing and make your story shine. Let’s take a look at how to write a scene with the mindset of an actor.

The Truth About Book Publishing: 3 Stories All Writers Need to Hear

The Truth About Book Publishing: 3 Stories All Writers Need to Hear

The stories we tell ourselves are like glasses through which we understand the world. They define the field we play on and guide the decisions we make, whether about book publishing or any other area of our lives.

Unfortunately, in the world of writing and publishing, there are a lot of false narratives floating around that create a romantic idea about the life of an author that can end in self-doubt, frustration, and stagnation. To avoid falling into the trap of bad stories, it’s important we pause and consider the world we exist in.

Ramp Up the Conflict in Your Story With This One Technique

Ramp Up the Conflict in Your Story With This One Technique

Recently when I looked over the first draft of my latest novel in order to buckle down and start editing, I noticed that there were a lot of sections that bored me. My mind started to wander and I couldn’t figure out why. Looking more closely, I found the answer: I was playing it too safe. In order to ramp up the tension in excitement, I had to master this one technique; I had to get uncomfortable.

How to Keep Writing While Traveling

How to Keep Writing While Traveling

With warmer weather comes thoughts of escape. Beaches, mountains, and yet-to-be-explored cities call to us. We get that itch, that need to run away and relax somewhere without our bosses nagging us. Or maybe you need to hang upside down on a roller coaster or meet Cinderella. Regardless, it’s vacation time!

For a writer, taking a week or two off from writing can be detrimental. You obviously don’t want to keep up with your 1,000-words-a-day writing schedule, but there are simple ways to feed the muse while on vacation and make it easier slide back into your routine when you return home.

Don’t Leave Your Participles Dangling

Don’t Leave Your Participles Dangling

You know what’s really fun to edit? Dangling participles. What’s a participle? Glad you asked.

A participle is an adjective form of a verb, usually formed by adding the suffix –ing to the verb. For example, you might go for a light 15k in your running shoes. Or your sister might be screaming because she burned herself with her curling iron. Make sense?

Let’s take a closer look and find out where these participles go wrong.

Vote for the Winner of the Spring Writing Contest

Vote for the Winner of the Spring Writing Contest

This week, nearly three hundred writers submitted their stories to the Spring Writing Contest. Right now, our panel of Story Grid Certified Editors is reading through each story, looking for the ones that will make it to the winners’ circle. And while they’re hard at work, I have an invitation for you, too.

Come vote on your favorite to win the Readers’ Choice Award!

How to Find the Conflict in a Story

How to Find the Conflict in a Story

One of the greatest challenges of writing better stories is knowing exactly which scenes to write. The best scenes focus on the core elements of conflict — which means before you can write amazing scenes, you have to find the conflict in a story.

Strong scenes come from strong plans. And visualizing the conflict between your characters is a great way to do just that.

How to Plan for Writing Rejection

How to Plan for Writing Rejection

Writers hear the words “No thanks” often. Whether you’ve submitted a story for a contest or a literary magazine or you’ve sent out query letters to agents, you know that sting when the results are published and your name isn’t on the list, or the sinking feeling when you get another reply from an agent, “Sorry, going to pass this time.”

Publishing is fraught with rejection. What if we could stop being afraid of it and instead plan for it as a natural part of our process? Hearing “No” doesn’t have to derail us when we have a plan.

How to Use Possessives to Show Ownership

How to Use Possessives to Show Ownership

Possessives are a funny thing. When used correctly, they add much-needed clarity to our sentences. But they seem to confound our apostrophe rules.

Let’s sort out this grammar conundrum, shall we? With these rules mastered, you’ll clear up your readers’ confusion and use possessives like a pro.

How to Market a Book: 10 First Steps

How to Market a Book: 10 First Steps

Have you ever wonder how to market a book? You spend months, maybe even years writing, editing, then rewriting your book until it’s a masterpiece (or at least finished). Now what? How do you turn all that hard work into sales and, if it’s not too much to ask, money!

There are hundreds of things to discuss when it comes to how to market a book, but what are the first steps you need to take, if you’re starting from scratch? That’s what were going to talk about in this article. Ready to get started?

Overcoming Burnout: How to Recover When You’re Exhausted From Writing

Overcoming Burnout: How to Recover When You’re Exhausted From Writing

Let’s face it: You love to write. Yet a moment always seems to come when that passion feels more like a prison.

Perhaps it’s due to a crushing deadline. Maybe writing becomes exhausting because the words just don’t come. Maybe the readers don’t come either, and you wonder whether writing is even worth it.

It’s so important for writers to know how to rest. To step back from these pressures and find hope. Overcoming burnout — or the early stages of burnout, if you realize you’re getting worn down — is vital to your writing and your own well-being.

Writer’s Block: 3 Tips to Keep Writing Even When You’re Discouraged

Writer’s Block: 3 Tips to Keep Writing Even When You’re Discouraged

In the movies, inspiration strikes the writer, and then a montage of the writer banging away on his or her chosen instrument flashes by, ending with a completed masterpiece that shares the writer’s soul with the world. Sadly, the reality is not like the movies. Sometimes the stories rip through your fingers like your hands are possessed; but more often, putting a story into words feels like yanking your teeth out of your head. It’s all too easy to get stuck in writer’s block.

When that happens, there’s nothing more we want to do than give up on the story and start over. But we can’t. We have to push through and finish it.

How to Publish a Short Story: Submit Your Story

How to Publish a Short Story: Submit Your Story

Almost two months ago, we started this journey to find out how to publish a short story. We’ve drafted, we’ve gotten feedback, we’ve edited. If you’ve been following along, you should have a completed short story by now. (Mine’s ready. Is yours?)

This week, you’re sending that story out!