Here is a compendium of the top writing advice posts on the blog. Of course, the best source is my guide How to Write a Novel: 47 Rules for Writing a Stupendously Awesome Novel You Will Love Forever.
But these posts will hopefully help you along the way:
Before You Start
- An overview of how to write a novel
- How to format your manuscript
- How to choose an idea for a novel
- It’s important to have a good premise…
- But execution is more important than originality
- Are you the right person to write that book? (nonfiction)
- Why you shouldn’t follow trends
- Can you turn your blog into a book?
- Novels with disaffected male protagonists are common; it’s important to make yours really stand out
- Should you write in first person or third person?
- Are you sure you want to genre hop?
- Do you have a plot?
- Is your premise an archetype or a cliche?
- Should you write a sequel?
- You Tell Me responses: What are your favorite books on writing?
The Writing Process
- How to get started writing a novel
- How to find a writing style that works for you
- The limits of verisimilitude
- What is pacing?
- What is voice? How do you craft a great voice?
- Seven keys to writing good dialogue
- Is your dialogue stilted?
- How to craft a dynamic relationship between characters
- Do you suffer from one of these writing maladies?
- Is there such a thing as being too controversial?
- What makes a great setting
- Avoiding non-said/asked dialogue tags
- Advice for young writers
- How to work with a co-writer
- Your characters have to have the power to make a choice for that choice to resonate
- How to craft a mystery in a novel
- How to create a Series Bible
- The one sentence, one paragraph, and two paragraph pitch
- How to craft a good one sentence pitch
- How to write a synopsis
- Five writing tips I learned from Harry Potter
- The importance of complexity, as demonstrated by The Wire
- What it means to “show” instead of “tell”
- Character and plot are inseparable
- Are you sure you want to begin with dialogue?
- Is your protagonist sufficiently sympathetic?
- Does your novel have enough conflict?
- What if it feels like everything has already been written?
- All about prologues
- You Tell Me responses: What makes for good dialogue?
- Do you (and your readers) know what your characters want?
- You Tell Me responses: What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
- You Tell Me responses: What is the worst writing advice you’ve received?
- You Tell Me responses: How do you deal with writer burnout?
- You Tell Me responses: How do you deal with the “Am I Crazies?”
How to Revise
- How to edit a book
- Editing as you go
- Comprehensive revision checklist
- How to deal with revision fatigue
- How to incorporate feedback when you receive a manuscript critique/editorial letter
- You Tell Me responses: When do you follow/ignore advice about your writing?
- You Tell me responses: How do you revise?
- You Tell me responses: How do you know when your novel is finished?
Genres and Classification
- What makes literary fiction literary?
- The difference between young adult and adult fiction
- How to write a picture book
- Commercial fiction isn’t quite a genre
- Book club fiction
- The difference between mysteries, suspense, and thrillers
- Sports novels need to have something more.
- When in doubt, go with the section of a bookstore your book would be categorized in
Staying sane during the writing/publishing process
- The publishing process in GIF form
- You don’t have to write every day
- How to get over writer’s block
- How to return to writing after a long break
- Writing and loneliness
- When should you give up?
- The perils of overconfidence
- It’s not you, it’s the odds
- Living on the edge of confidence and self-doubt
- How to keep writing when the s*** hits the fan
- Five ways to stay motivated while writing a novel
- Dealing with the new book jitters
- You Tell Me responses: how do you deal with writer’s block?
- Dealing with negativity
- Dealing with frustration
- On distractions
- There is no such thing as an overnight success story
- You Tell Me responses: How do you handle rejections?
- The solution to every writing problem that has ever existed
- 10 Commandments for the happy writer
I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and consultations! And if you like this post, check out my guide to writing a novel.
Art: The King’s library at Buckingham House by James Stephanoff