Just a note: I've included only bare snippets from the articles. Please click on the links for the full benefits of the authors’ knowledge.
In addition to their blog posts, be sure to check out CQ's Resources page (websites and online reference books). This would've been so helpful to me when I was writing my historical romance set in Colonial America.
Five Warning Signs Your Story Needs Revision (Kristin Lamb)
I admit I did chuckle a bit while reading this article because it reminded me of Jeff Foxworthy’s You Might Be a Redneck If…, but Kristin made some great points. And, I must confess, revising and editing are my favorite parts of writing because it gives me hope I can fix the crud that spills out in the draft.
- If Your Novel has More Characters than the Star Wars Prequels, You Might Need Revision
- If Your Novel Dumps the Reader Right into Major Action, You Might Need Revision
- Painful and Alien Movement of Body Parts? Time for Revision
- Too much Physiology? Time for Revision
- Too Many Evil Adverbs? REVISE!
Jet-Fuel Backstory by DiAnn Mills
A while back I listened to the mp3 of an RWA workshop DiAnn presented a couple years ago and was thrilled to discover this post because I've misplaced my notes. [Scribbled on the back of envelopes during my drive home from work (at stop lights!) and in my driveway.] In my humble opinion, backstory is essential for creating GMC. Yes, we know (or soon learn!) not to info-dump the characters’ backstories, but figuring out what shaped them, why they want what they want, whether you know the moment you begin your story or discover it as you go along, will strengthen your characters and your story.
These are questions DiAnn uses (and gives credit to Donald Maas):
- What happened in your character’s life up to age 12 that affected who she/he is today?
- What happened in your character’s life from ages 13 - 20 that affected who she/he is today?
- What happened in your character’s life from ages 21 - 30 that affected who she/he is today?
- What happened in your character’s life 1 year ago that affected who she/he is today?
- 6 months?
- 6 weeks?
- 24 hours?
- 1 hour?
- 10 minutes?
Layering As You Go - 3 part series by Glynna Kaye
- Write to Rewrite
- Revealing Emotion in Body Language & Facial Expression
- Internal Dialogue and Character Voice
Resources for Writing a Potent “Inner Story” in Your Book (Mary Carroll Moore)
Mary share tips from From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler, who says “…to write successful emotional moments, a writer must dwell in the sensory elements of that moment. It requires a full immersion into the senses.”
Here are a few snippets from an exercise Mary recommends to enliven your inner story:
- Describe an event from your childhood … that evoked strong emotion. … Use the sense of sound as much as possible.
- Add smell.
- Ask “How is my body feeling as I write this?”
- Ask “What don’t I remember hearing during this event?”
- Ask “What was I afraid of smelling during this event…?”
- Finish by asking how you feel now.
Resources: Magic Systems (Writing Questions Answered)
Here you’ll find a comprehensive guide to magic as well as several other articles (ex: creating a magic system; types of magic) you may find helpful if you’re writing a magic story.
***By the way, Writing Questions Answered has all sorts of writing resource articles available from all types of characters to time periods to plotting to occupations to, well, pretty much anything you want to learn about. Here’s a master list of posts that might be especially helpful to new writers:.
10 Best Creative Writing Prompts (by Joe Bunting)
There are 10 pictures. Above each picture is a link to click, though I image you could use the photos alone as a prompt. #3 is calling my name. How about you?
What are your favorite resources?