WRITING ADVICE

Here on Yeah Write, we have a lot of great discussions sparked by asks that followers send in. Having some trouble? Before you send in your own ask, check out some of the discussions we’ve had and see if they can help you!

Disclaimer: No one can tell you “how to write”, and there’s no right or wrong way to create a story, a poem, etc. These posts and discussions are just meant to spark your creativity and get you thinking about various aspects of your work. If you ever disagree with something you see, send us your opinion and we’ll add it to the post or discussion!

Topics with a (*) next to it are contained in an article in issues of our literary magazine, The Yeah Write Review.

——————————————————————————

THE WRITER’S LIFE

COMPENSATION: Is it shady for lit mags to not pay their contributors?

CONFIDENCE: How to have it when you feel like your writing sucks and everyone is better than you!

JUGGLING MULTIPLE WRITING PROJECTS: Tips for keeping everything organized and choosing which project deserves the most attention.

MOTIVATION: How can I stay motivated to write when life gets in the way?

PUBLISHING: I like to write, but I don’t know anything about publishing… agh!?

RUNNING A WRITING BLOG: I get questions all the time about how to run a writing blog like Yeah Write. Here are my 8 tips!

PSEUDONYMS/Pen Names: Should I use one?

SELF-PUBLISHING ON AMAZON: What have yeah writers’ experiences been like with CreateSpace?

SHARING: Sharing your writing—whether giving it to someone else to read, or reading your work in front of an audience—can be scary! Here are some tips on how to overcome that fear.

SOFTWARE: What’s some great writing software?

THE WEIRDNESS OF BEING A WRITER: Sometimes being a writer is lonely and weird. Here’s how to deal.

TIME, AND WHERE TO FIND IT: Life is busy! How do you find time to write when you’ve got school and/or a full time job and/or a million other things going on??

WRITER’S BLOCK: How to overcome it.

EDUCATION & CAREERS

EDUCATION: I want to be a writer/work in publishing/a journalist/a writier professor. What should I study in high school and college? Should I go to grad school?

ENGLISH MAJOR!?: To be or not to be an English Major… these days, it seems like every major besides engineering and computer science means you’re not going to get a job! Am I silly to want to major in English if that’s what my gut is telling me??

…AND ON THAT NOTE, WHAT JOBS HAVE FORMER ENGLISH MAJORS GOTTEN? We polled all of our followers and asked those who’d studied English in college what jobs they have now.

INTERNSHIPS: How do I get an internship in the writing/publishing field?

HEY LIVIA, WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE? This is a huge master post that talks about everything from what writing classes I took in high school, all the way through my college experience, up until my current job.

——————————————————————————

CHARACTERIZATION

CHARACTERIZATION: Every post about characterization is here!

ANTAGONISTS: How do I create a dynamic antagonist?

DARK PASTS: How do I create a likable character with a believably dark past?

*IMPERFECT CHARACTERS: It’s important to avoid those Mary Sues and create flawed—and therefore believable—characters. Here’s how.

LOVE CONFESSIONS: How do I have two of my characters confess their love for one another without it seeming totally out of the blue/unrealistic?

LOVE TRIANGLES: There are so many love triangles in popular YA lit today. Is it cliche for me to include one in my story?

*MENTAL DISORDERS: How do I write a character with a mental disorder without offending my readers or relying on stereotypes? What are some different kinds of mental disorders a character might have?

MULTIPLE NARRATORS: How do I write a story with two first person narrators without their voices sounding too similar? (See also our article about this topic in Issue 02 of The Yeah Write Review, our writing advice/literary magazine.)

NAMING YOUR CHARACTERS: The best database resources for finding the perfect names for your characters.

*QUESTIONABLE CHARACTERS: How to create characters who are both “good” and “bad”, or whose motives aren’t clear.

RACE BUILDING: Resources for outlining and building a new race in your story/novel.

RELATIONSHIPS: Having real life romantic relationships are hard enough—so how do we write convincingly about them!? Here’s as much help as can give.

RELATIONSHIP RESEARCH: You don’t have any sisters but your narrator does; you never met your grandfather but your main character has a close relationship with his; you’re a serial monogamist but you’re MC likes to date a lot of girls at one time. How do you write relationships in a believable way that you’ve never had?

SECONDARY CHARACTERS: I can’t decide whether I should completely cut a somewhat-unimportant secondary character, or make him more of a main character because I really like him. Should I kill my darling?

SEX SCENES, AH! Some things to think about when writing them.

TONE: How to write a shift in your characters tone as he/she progresses through your story.

——————————————————————————

CREATIVE NONFICTION

*FRAMING ARGUMENTS IN PERSONAL ESSAYHow do I make sure that my message is clear in a personal essay?

*LITERARY REPORTAGE: This is an underrepresented genre that combines journalistic feature/profile writing with creative nonfiction. Here are some tips on how best to make your journalistic piece “creative”.

TRANSITIONING FROM FICTION TO NONFICTION: I need to be able to showcase my writing in some nonfiction pieces for a portfolio/application/etc., but I usually write fiction. Where do I start?

*TRUTH IN MEMOIRHow do I write a memoir piece that’s 100% truthful? Do I even need to? When am I allowed to stretch or change the truth?

——————————————————————————

DIALOGUE, VOICE, AND POV

DIALOGUE: All posts related to dialogue.

AAVE: How do I appropriately write a white character speaking African American Vernacular English?

ADULT ISSUES IN CHILDREN’S LITERATYRE: Is it okay to write about adult issues in children’s literature?

*CHILDREN’S POV: How do I write convincingly from a child’s point of view? Does that mean my story automatically becomes a children’s story?

CURSING: I swear a lot in real life. Is it okay if that comes through in my writing?

MULTIPLE NARRATORS: How do I write a story with two first person narrators without their voices sounding too similar?

*PURPOSEFUL DIALOGUE: When should I use dialogue to convey information, and more importantly, when should I not?

SWITCHING NARRATIVE MODE: I wrote my story in third person, but now I want to switch it to first. Should I, and if so, how?

TONE: How to create a tonal shift in your story.

——————————————————————————

INSPIRATION

INSPIRATION: All posts related to inspiration.

MUSIC: What type of music do people like to listen to while they write?

PROMPTS: Need inspiration? Check out our daily writing prompts.

——————————————————————————

GENRES

GENRE INDEX: A master list of the genres that are currently being accepted by popular literary magazine, with hyperlinks to each genre’s Wikipage.

FANFICTION: The detriments and advantages of writing it.

SURVIVAL HORROR: What are some good tips for writing survival horror?

——————————————————————————

LOVE & ROMANCE

LOVE CONFESSIONS: How do I have two of my characters confess their love for one another without it seeming totally out of the blue/unrealistic?

LOVE TRIANGLES: There are so many love triangles in popular YA lit today. Is it cliche for me to include one in my story?

RELATIONSHIPS: Having real life romantic relationships are hard enough—so how do we write convincingly about them!? Here’s as much help as can give.

RELATIONSHIP RESEARCH: You don’t have any sisters but your narrator does; you never met your grandfather but your main character has a close relationship with his; you’re a serial monogamist but you’re MC likes to date a lot of girls at one time. How do you write relationships in a believable way that you’ve never had?

SEX SCENES, AH! Some things to think about when writing them.

——————————————————————————

POETRY

*PLAYING WITH METER: How meter is used in modern poetry and “prosetry”.

SLAM POETRY: Yeah writers weigh in with their best advice and resources on how to write slam poetry.

*SHORT FORM POETRY: How to pack a punch into the smallest number of words (in poem formats from haiku to free verse).

——————————————————————————

SCENES

*DEATH SCENES: How do I kill a character and make not only the scene and circumstances of their death believable, but also the reactions of the surviving characters?

*FRAMING SCENES: How do I know when to end a scene?

FIGHT SCENES: How do I write a realistic one with an appropriate pace and correct terminology?

PACE: What is pace, and how does a “fast pace” versus a “slow pace” affect the scenes in your writing?

REFERENCE SCENES: I’m having a hard time writing a scene. Is it okay if I reference a scene I like in another book?

SEX SCENES: Some things to think about when writing them.

TRANSITIONS: How do I effectively transition between scenes?

——————————————————————————

SETTING

SETTINGS: All posts related to settings.

FUTURISTIC SETTINGS: I’m writing a story that’s set in the future. How do a build a convincing world and world-event timeline?

——————————————————————————

STRUCTURE

PLANNING: Should I plan out my story, or just jump into writing?

BEGINNINGS: I have an idea for a story in my mind, but I don’t know how or where to start.

*EPIPHANIES: How to best create the moment at the end of your story where you main character has his/her epiphany.

ENDINGS: I can never finish the stories I start! What should I do?

NOVELS: I write short stories, but I want to write a novel. Help! (See also: NANOWRIMO.)

*PLOT: How do I create a structured plot?

SHORT STORY CYCLES: How do I write one? What are some good examples?

——————————————————————————

STYLE

CINEMATIC WRITERS: When I’m writing, I “see” the images in my head (I’m a cinematic writer)… Is that a bad thing? (Quick answer, no.)

CURSING: I swear a lot in real life. Is it okay if that comes through in my writing?

METAPHORS: How do I write metaphors (and similes) like a boss?

TONE: What is it? How is it different from mood? How do I create the tone I want in a story I’m writing, and how do I make it shift?

——————————————————————————

TECHNICALITIES

COPYRIGHT: How does publishing my work on Tumblr (or elsewhere on the Internet) effect my copyrights?

COPYRIGHT AND POSTING MY WORK ON THE INTERNET: An elaboration about the legality of going after someone who steals your work, and what big publishers think.

FANFICTION: The detriments and advantages of writing it.

MOM & DAD: Do I refer to my main character’s parents as “Mom” and “Dad”, by their first names, or as Mr. X and Mr. Y?

PLAGIARISM: And, should Internet plagiarism be a serious concern when I’m publishing my work on the Internet? Or is the publicity worth it?

TITLES: How do I decide what to title my piece?

GRAMMAR: All posts related to grammar.

——————————————————————————

RESEARCH

RESEARCH: All posts related to research.

EXPERIENCES: How do I write about something I’ve never experienced?

MEDICAL RESEARCH: I’m writing a story where a character is a doctor/nurse/is sick/has to be hospitalized/etc. Are there any websites where complicated medical terminology is explained in laymen’s terms?

MILITARY BACKGROUNDS/SPIES: A long list of research resources to help you create an ex soldier and/or spy who’s more believable than James Bond.

RACE BUILDING: Resources for outlining and building a new race in your story/novel, as well as information about races that other authors have built for their stories.

RELATIONSHIP RESEARCHYou don’t have any sisters but your narrator does; you never met your grandfather but your main character has a close relationship with his; you’re a serial monogamist but you’re MC likes to date a lot of girls at one time. How do you write relationships in a believable way that you’ve never had?

SEX SCENES: How to write them if you’re a virgin, or writing about a kind of sex that you haven’t had before.

——————————————————————————

Don’t see your question answered here? Send YW an ask!

(Please send asks in the normal format, not the “fan mail” format.)