Hi I don’t have a question, I just want to recommend If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland to everyone who wants to write ever because it’s literally everything I’ve ever needed to hear about writing but was never told until now.
WriteWorld: Where Your Ideas Come From
One of the most frequent questions I get as a writer is “where do you get your ideas from?” I’m always a bit baffled at first because sometimes I’m not really sure. It’s a difficult question to answer and I don’t think you can be a writer unless you have the ability to see…
This is fantastic advice! I’m an extrovert, but I always come up with my story ideas when I’m by myself for long stretches of time—driving, walking to the subway, while shopping, etc.
Your Writing and How to Take It Further
Hey yeah writers—check out our first guest blog, from indie new publisher Rowanvale Books. If you’re looking to semi-self publish, definitely check them out! In the mean time, these are great tips that they shared with us to help you have a very well-rounded writerly life. Enjoy! -Liv
Join a Writers’ Group or club in your area. Not only will you meet new people, and potentially good friends and contacts, but it never hurts to get a bit of objective advice. You will improve your critiquing skills by discussing others’ work, which you can then apply to your own writing. You also may well gain valuable nuggets of information that extend further than ‘writing’ itself – groups often discuss publishing as an industry, e-books, bookshops, agents, courses, and who knows what else. Writers’ Groups sometimes have speakers, too, which provide excellent networking opportunities with authors, editors, publishers and agents. The same goes for conferences, if you can get to them, and there a fair few webinars out there too.
If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit: Brenda Ueland: 9781604599282: Amazon.com: Books
The #1 Thing You Can Do to Up Your Chances of Being Published in a Lit Mag
Here is what you have to do:
prose is architecture: The 4 Most Common Mistakes Fiction Editors See
Wouldn’t it be great if nobody ever needed an editor? If all of our stories and novels appeared in readers’ minds just as beautifully and vividly and succinctly they do in our own?
Wouldn’t it be great if the…
^These are huge.
I know that some of you guys are waiting on me to publish a post on writing about New York City, but I just haven’t had time to clean up this enormous thing I wrote. So for now, linked above is the Wikipedia page for Manhattan, which I’m reading about now and has SO MUCH INFORMATION.
You can also send me a specific ask if you’re writing about NYC and have a question, and I’ll try to answer.
prose is architecture: Writing the LGBT Community
Writing the LGBT community can be hard, especially if you don’t know what you’re talking about. So to start off this post, here’s just a few things that are easily confused both with writers and with society in general.
- Being gay is not a personality trait. This basically…
Great advice, which I think can be applied to writing any minority or oft-stereotyped group. People are people!
What is “Pace”, and How Does It Affect Your Story?
I need a couple of tips on writing chase scenes, while keeping it urgent while not sounding too bland (a character is running to find another specifically).
I think that what’s going to help you most in writing this chase scene is understanding how to control your story’s pace. We haven’t talked about pace yet here on Yeah Write, so let’s!
The clearest way that I can describe pace is to use a music metaphor. In music, we call pace “tempo”. If something has a fast tempo, it has more beats per minute, and the notes are likely shorter (staccato). So in a given minute of an up-beat song, there are a lot of notes, there’s a lot going on, and it gives the music the feeling of being “fast”. If a piece of music has fewer notes, fewer beats, and the notes are held for longer in a minute, it gives music the feeling of being “slow”. (Doesn’t it make you think of being at a school dance and the song switching from something upbeat like Jump Around to a slow dance like My Heart Will Go On?) (I hope you enjoyed my 90s references.)
prose is architecture: Red Flags for Female Characters
1. If something would be boring and/or undramatic for a male character, it would probably be boring and/or undramatic for a female character. If you’re writing a female character (particularly in a major role), I’d recommend thinking about whether you’d want to read…
Ugh, anyone who does any of these things… stop.
Top 10 Storytelling Cliches Writers Need To Stop Using
1. Characters describing themselves in mirrors
2. Broadcasting an upcoming plot twist
3. Blaming bad behavior on bad parenting
4. Too many inside jokes/references
5. The chosen one
6. Countdown clocks
7. Veiling your message in a dream
8. Using sex as wish fulfillment
9. Magical Negroes and Noble Savages
10. Knocking characters unconscious for plot convenience
Follow the link to find out why you shouldn’t use them.
This is a good list. Here are some ideas on what to do instead.
- Describe your character’s appearance by how they feel about it. People have complicated relationships with their appearance and even what they wear. Don’t let the chance to explore your character slip away by neglecting that!
- Don’t broadcast - foreshadow. People broadcast plot twists because they think it’ll keep the reader’s attention. Hinting at what’s to come instead, with in-story clues or even just a general sense of foreboding, is a great way to keep your readers hooked.
- Explore the parents, don’t blame them. Your bad guy’s parents are just as much characters as anyone else in the story, even if they’re not actually there. If the villain blames his parents, why? Are they just trying to throw blame off themselves?
- Make your jokes accessible. A little reference here and there isn’t going to hurt anybody, but the more readers that can understand it, the more they’ll be able to enjoy it. This runs the risk of explaining the joke, but it can be done!
- The wrongly chosen one. The chosen one trope is never going to go away. All the more reason to screw with it as much as possible. Maybe they’re not the chosen one after all, but the sidekick. Maybe they were wrongly chosen, intentionally or not. Mix it up!
- Use time to your best advantage. The last second countdown is a trope that only works in certain mediums, and even then, sparingly. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to
- Don’t discard the use of dreams, but do tread carefully. Probably one of my favorite uses of dreams was a very brief mention of them in a webvlog horror series. The characters had no idea how relevant the dream was, but the viewers did, and that’s what made it effective. Dreams can be used right, but you have to make it work!
- Use as much sex as you goddamn want, as long as it’s plot relevant. People like to write sex. People like to read sex! If your genre of choice is romance or erotic lit, there’s going to be a lot of sex. There’s gonna be sex in other genres too, because, hey, it happens. One difficulty with it is that too few writers use it to advance the plot, but sex can easily used to show something about the characters. If you are working on some sex scenes, consider the plot and character development that might come from it.
- Don’t be a goddamn asshole and treat all your characters as people. Sorry, I’m pretty tired of these goddamn tropes. They’re lazy and racist and yes, so-called ‘positive stereotypes’ are racist. Your characters are people. You’re a good enough writer to write them as people. Don’t let other lazy writing tell you otherwise.
- Find other ways to take your character out of the action. There are plenty of reasons to take a character out of the action for suspense and plot necessity, but often times it turns into Because The Plot Says So. If you have such a scene, look at it carefully. Outline out alternatives; they might even be better than the original plan. Like the original post says, a blow to the head is going to cause a medical emergency, not a quick blackout. Don’t fall into this shortcut, because it’s just more lazy writing!
I agree with most of these, especially 7, 8 (we have a whole article on this topic), and 9.
But I do have a character in a story of mine who describes what her face looks like while looking in the mirror, but it’s because she’s been punched in the face and is inspecting the bruise. Thoughts?
YEAHWRITERS.TUMBLR.COM/ADVICE: Yeah Write's Writing Advice Page:
You know those “How To” and resource posts we do every couple of days? And the discussions we occasionally have about writing? Did you know that they’re all indexed on our Advice page?
The URL is yeahwriters.tumblr.com/advice, and you can always find it in the left sidebar of our homepage (see lovely diagram above!).
Here are some of the topics recently added to the page:
A Master List of Fiction Genres (Each linked to their Wikipedia page)
And there are a lot more where those came from! Check it out!
Objectives Provide Story Momentum
.When the objective is clear and the character is moving towards it, the reader will stay with the story, at least until they reach a natural break in the narrative.
But ever be reading a book and you find yourself in a section where not much is happening, no great action or set piece, but you can’t stop reading?
You go from one line to the next and it’s like you’re leaning forward as you’re going down a hill and it would almost be more effort to stop than to just keep going.
That’s the power of momentum.
Spot on, as usual. You must read it, also as usual.
4 Ways to Have Confidence in Your Writing
Hello. I love writing a lot but I always feel inferior and small compared to other people who can write better than me. I feel that I lack the excellent vocabulary to convey my thoughts into perfect sentences that are interesting and exciting to the reader. Currently, I’m trying to write on a topic I have never written before and seeing others who can attempt at it much better than me, I feel like quitting soon enough. Any advice on this?
I do have lots of advice on this! I feel this way a lot too (EVERY writer does!) but these are the things that I think about that help me when I get in a rut of self-doubt:
Tone, Tonal Shift, & How to Write Them
How do you shift tone in the middle of a book to keep pace with what is going on or shift tone between projects you are writing? How can you manipulate the tone to show emotional and intellectual development of a character, or to display without stating it flat out that said character is becoming more politically aware? I have read several novels which do this but cannot figure out how they do it.
This is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever gotten, because it’s also something I’ve struggled with in my own writing. So I took it as a challenge to see what I could learn, to benefit both lacommunarde and myself. And, of course, all of you!
First and foremost, what does tone really even mean? I thought about it as I read (tone is apparent in all writing, not just fiction/prose), and tooled around the internet a bit, and it’s a pretty elevated and complicated concept. This is the hybrid definition that I came up with, as it applies to fiction:
Genre Fiction: A Master Index
Genre fiction, also known as popular fiction, is fictional works (novels, short stories) written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre.
Genre fiction is often used interchangeably with the term popular fiction, and generally distinguished from literary fiction.
Below is a list of genres and subgenres as listed on Duotrope, the largest online database of literary magazines, which I would think is the best source since they’ve got their finger on the pulse of what magazines are accepting and what people are writing.
I linked as many as I could to informational/definition pages, though in some cases the best I could do is link to a list of books that fall into that genre.
- Erotic Action-Adventure
- Erotic Fantasy
- Erotic Horror
- Erotic Mystery
- Erotic Romance
- Erotic Science Fiction
- Erotic Suspense
- Erotic Western (someone please write me one of these)