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.
“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.
At first glance, running and writing don’t seem to go together. Writing involves sitting and thinking, while running involves sweat and suffering. Yet running and writing have a lot in common, and studying one can improve your ability to succeed at the other.
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 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.
It’s National Poetry Month! I know, I know. You don’t want to write a poem, but what if I could show you a way to tap into a childhood memory to create a poem or scene that you could use in any kind of writing? Will you accept a poetry dare today?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
When our creative tap feels like it has run dry, sometimes all we need to get our creative juices flowing again is a fun writing challenge. That’s why today’s post is a writing prompt based on the Story Grid.
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.
Some of you may be participating in our 100 Day Book program, writing your first novel on your own, or kicking around the idea of starting that manuscript.
Writing your first novel is hard. It’s a struggle. It’s a learning process.
And it’s often autobiographical, even if you don’t mean it to be. And that’s okay.
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.
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?
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.
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. Three times this week I have come across encouragement from writers who wrote, edited, and published books at the margins of their lives, and writers who overcame incredible odds to get their stories into the world. It reminded me that we all face some kind of...
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!