Writing Advice

Writing Advice

A collection of writing advice, helpful websites, and blogs to help you hone your craft.

These are some of my favorite websites for writing advice:

Helping Writers become Authors Well written articles with very specific advice. You will learn something.

Lara Willard’s Write, Edit, Repeat I love the well-organized layout of this website. Everything is categorized by topic and easy to find.

Write on Sisters Solid advice for the beginner, written in a cozy “chatting over coffee” tone.

A list of my posts on writing advice

Using amnesia as a plot device-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Amnesia as a plot device-authortoolbox - Using amnesia in your story can lead to a contrived plot. Without proper preparation, readers will be left annoyed and confused. Don't fall into this trap. Follow these simple tips
Eliminating word crutches in writing-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Eliminating Word Crutches - Every writer has words or phrases that habitually show up in their work. These crutches bog down a manuscript and make it feel repetitive. Don't let overused words ruin your novel
When to Ignore Beta Readers-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Beta readers: When to Ignore Them - Having too many beta readers swamps the new writer with advice, and that isn’t always helpful. Don’t let beta feedback trap you in an endless editing loop. Learn to evaluate writing advice and take back control of your story.
Introducing magic to readers-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Realistically Introducing Magic-authortoolbox - Introducing your readers to your magic system takes careful consideration. Don't blindside them with the supernatural. Prepare them properly and they will be ready to believe anything.
Printable revision checklist-www.themauscriptshredder.com Revision Checklist Printable - Getting stuck in an editing loop can destroy your forward momentum. This printable revision checklist will keep you on track by  helping you do the right edits in the right order.
Avoiding stage directions in writing-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Avoiding Stage Directions - In novels, “stage directions” are sections where the author begins listing a character’s visible actions without giving the thoughts or feelings associated with them. As a result, the reader is bombarded with useless information, unable to discern which actions are meaningful.
scene and sequel-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Scene and Sequel: Making them work together - "Scene and sequel" doesn’t have to be mysterious writer talk. This simple formula will help you create the lean exciting plotlines readers crave. By mastering this technique, you can cut out all the dead weight and unlock your story’s true potential.
Motivating your Characters-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Using Character Motivations in Plot Chains-authortoolbox - People may not always behave in a logical manner, but when you are planning out your stories, your characters should. Creating characters without any internal logic will produce an inconsistent, illogical mess. Fortunately, there is a simple trick for fixing this problem
Creating the Perfect love interest-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Creating the Perfect Love Interest - The love interest is an integral part of contemporary plot structure. But too often that character is little more than a pretty face designed to be the main character's dream girl. Today's love interest needs to be more than just a skirt waiting to be rescued.
World-building:Why sprinkles don't work-www.themanuscriptshredder.com World-building: why sprinkles don’t work-author toolbox - Just chopping info-dumps into smaller pieces isn't really that sneaky. The savvy reader will still sense that something isn't right. Sprinkling world-building randomly into your story is like tossing skittles on top of your tiramisu. It doesn't solve the real problem. Fortunately, there is a
Novel revision and editing checklist-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Novel Revision and Editing Guide - Revising without a plan can lead to hours of wasted effort and frustration. Rather than getting stuck in an endless editing loop, use this novel revision and editing guide to make sure you are doing the right edits in the right order
magic fix it scene-www.themanuscriptshredder.com The Magic Fix-it Scene - Adding material to your manuscript to solve a problem? The magic fix-it scene rarely works. While these scenes are intended to solve a specific problem, they often cause a host of other issues. But there is a better way
Opening Action-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Opening Action: how to make it work - Start with action sounds like simple advice, but making it work takes careful consideration and planning. The opening action sets the tone for your entire story. Make sure yours doesn't fall into one of these traps.
A pantser tries to plot-www.themanuscriptshredder.com A Pantser tries to Plot - My first attempt at plotting crashes hard.
Scene Planning worksheet-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Scene Planning Worksheet - Scene planning worksheets will give you a simple framework to brainstorm your ideas so you will be ready when you actually have time to write.
Choosing the right POV-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Choosing the Right POV Character-authortoolbox - Tips for choosing the right point of view (POV) character for your scenes and improving eavesdropping problems in first-person POV
creating conflict in every scene-www.themanuscfriptshredder.com Creating conflict in every scene​ - Conflict is the essence of plot. Without it, there is no story.
avoid info-dumping in dialogue-www.themanuscriptshredder.com How to avoid info dumping in dialogue - Trying to sneak backstory into your dialogue rarely works. Fortunately, there is a better way
Author Intrusion-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Correctly using Author Intrusion - Correctly using Author Intrusion can create another layer of storytelling to your novel, but unintentional intrusions jar the reader, create distance and make your writing sound amateurish
first page mistakes-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Most Common First Page Mistakes - The first page is the introduction to your entire novel. Create an effective first page by avoiding these writing mistakes
opening chapter mistakes-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Most Common Mistakes in Opening Chapters - Common mistakes that will ruin your opening chapter and how to fix them.
Bad Writing advice-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Bad Writing Advice you should ignore - While most writing bloggers have good intentions, some are unwittingly giving out incorrect or incomplete advice.
Transforming telling into showing Changing Telling into Showing - "Show don’t tell” is probably the most commonly given advice in writing. So why is it so important?
avoiding stilted dialogue Avoiding Stilted Dialogue-author toolbox - Bad dialogue will ruin an otherwise great story. Don’t fall into these common traps.
Using beats in dialogue Correctly Using Beats in Dialogue - Use beats in your dialogue to anchor your characters in their settings, control pacing, and tell the complete story.
Evaluating Writing Feedback Advice - Bad feedback will ruin a wonderful story. Learn to recognize bad advice.
Passive voice isn't evil What’s the deal with Passive Voice? - The definitive guide to recognizing passive voice and when to use it
Writing a killer first line Creating a Killer First Line - The first line is the most examined line in your entire book. Make sure your's is selling your story.
Writing a killer first page Writing a Killer First Page - The first page is the introduction to your entire novel. Follow these steps and create an opening that will draw your readers into the story, and guarantee they will turn the page
Using scene goals Give Your Scenes a Purpose with Scene Goals- author toolbox - The secret to increase tension, raise the stakes, and propel your readers to the very last page.
Motivation Reaction Unit Motivation-Reaction Unit - Despite being decades old, Dwight Swain's motivation-reaction technique is still relevant. Every time something feels off in the prose, the improperly constructed MRU is usually to blame.
Building consistent characters Building Consistent Characters - No matter how irrational your character is, he still has to follow his own set of rules.
World building, not just for fantasy Worldbuilding: Not just for Fantasy - Using a fantasy-style worldbuilding worksheet will help you create an immersive setting no matter what your genre
Excessive First Draft Word Count? Don’t - Don't sabotage yourself by doubling your workload. Keep your first draft word count in line.
Conflict chain Plot: the unbreakable chain - For a plot to work, it has to be a sequence of related events set up like dominos
writing notes How to Be a Good Critique Partner - Learning to give better critiques will not only make you more valuable as a critique partner, it will also give you a set of tools to evaluate the feedback you receive.
writing mistakes-www.themanuscriptshredder.com Writing mistakes ruining your prose - No matter how great your plot is, bad prose will sink it fast.
Engaging readers from the First Sentence part 2 - There are plenty of ways to ruin your first chapter. Avoiding these common problems will get your opening pages one step closer to that coveted request
Engaging Readers from the First Sentence - Tips to avoid bad beginnings and engage readers from the first sentence.
Why Writing Advice is Ruining your Manuscript - Bad writing advice, and even good advice that doesn’t work for your story, can completely ruin your manuscript. Trying too hard to follow someone else’s writing rules is letting someone else author your story.
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