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Master List of Story Tips

Master List of Story Tips

I write about writing. A lot. So I thought it was high time I made some sort of conclusive list, so it’s easy for you guys to find exactly what you need!

 

Basic Story Elements

4 Tips for Historical Fiction

I sat down to write a story set in a time period I didn’t know well, and here are some tips I learned about writing detailed, short historical fiction.

How Plot and Narrative Strengthen Stories

Here’s the difference between plot and narrative — and how to make both work together for the most compelling hook, arc, and story.

How to Become an Expert (for Writers)

Good writers are experts in a lot of things–most of them eccentric, odd, and (let’s admit it) kind of awesome. Become an expert quickly with these 5 steps.

Show vs. Tell: A Rewrite Analysis

Show vs. tell is one of the most difficult things to learn as a young writer. I share an original draft and my annotated rewrite explaining my changes.

Tips for Naming Your Series

Having trouble naming your book series? I’ve compiled all the research I did for my own brainstorming, and maybe it can help you out, too!

 

Characters and Worldbuilding

3 Tips for Designing a Flag

Designing a flag can help you discover something new about your country’s history and myths. Use these tips to develop your worldbuilding.

5 Ways to Avoid Infodumping

Creative writing tips on how to avoid infodumping in your fiction or fantasy. Get your information across creatively — your readers will thank you!

10 Questions to Ask When You Create a Fictional Culture

Culture is an important part of world building. Here are some questions to help you create realistic cultures by being inspired by our awesome real world.

10 Writing Resources: Characters

From the basics to the very in-depth, these are some of the resources I go to when I’m developing new characters.

20 Prompts to Uncover Characters’ Hearts

I love seeking out my characters’ hearts. Here are twenty questions that can help you explore your characters and gain new insights.

50 Questions to Ask Your Antagonist

It’s easy to write a flat antagonist. Use this questionnaire to uncover hidden backstory, motivation, and depth. Three-dimensional characters, here we come!

80 Questions for Worldbuilding

This PDF includes worldbuilding tips, prompts, recommendations to avoid infodumping, and 80 questions to get you going. Subscribe to see the whole thing!

100 Questions for Character Couples

These questions can help you flesh out your WIP’s relationships, find hidden details to use in your tale, and discover more about your characters.

Analysis of Character Voice in Mark of Athena

I’ve taken the first chapter containing each character’s narration and analyzed the heck out of it. MINOR SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK. Nothing crazy, though.

Ballroom Dance and Your Characters

There is so much you can tell about a person from watching how they move, so why not spend some thought on how your characters move?

Describing Fashion

I believe that less is more when it comes to describing fashion. So I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned about writing fashion into a scene.

How to Avoid the Mirror: Description Tips

Everyone knows the cliché of using a mirror to describe a character. How can you get around it? Here are some creative alternatives.

How To Create an Awesome Research Archive

As a writer, I collect a lot of information. I’ve created a digital archive to organize my research, so it’s easy to find when I need it. Here’s how!

Story Graphics: How to Assemble Your Cast

The cast is the core of any good story. Here are my tips for making cast graphics, so you have all your pretty characters lined up in one place.

Story Graphics: How to Visualize Your Character (With Photoshop)

Story graphics are one of my favorite parts of productive procrastinating, and one of my favorite types of story graphics is creating character concepts.

 

Drafting & Revision

3 Reasons to Listen

There are three ways you can listen to your text: By reading it out loud yourself, by asking someone else to read it to you, or by employing a robot.

3 Writing Tips from Mary Poppins

I decided to put my English major to good use, and I found some universally good writing tips in this (frankly, very strange) children’s book.

5 Creative Activities for Your Novel Journal

Having a journal can be a great way to keep notes, brainstorm, do research, or just relieve stress. Here are some of my favorite activities!

5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

Strategies for working through writer’s block–from the normal to the eccentric. Keep the story going, despite the muse’s efforts to grind it to a halt.

5 Ways to Prep for NaNoWriMo

Whether your a plotter or a pantser, these are some universally fun tips to prepare for the madness of NaNoWriMo. First, let’s have fun and make a playlist.

5 Ways to Productively Procrastinate on Your Novel

Productive procrastination: forms of procrastination that will keep your creative juices flowing whilst requiring minimum brain cells.

5 Ways to Use Sound When Writing

Sound is one of the most powerful ways to get into a scene, and when utilized can help your writing flow easier. Here are five ways to use it!

5 Things to Help You Prep for Your Novel’s Climax

Climaxes can be hard. These are the five ways I’ve tried to make drafting my my climax more fun. Both productive and a *tiny* bit procrastination-y.

10 Writing Resources: Drafting

From tools to keep your creativity churning to the basic elements of dialogue and POV, these links will help you get through drafting your manuscript.

Chapter Revision Checklist

Whenever I pull out my pens and start tearing into chapters, I have this beside me to make sure I have my bases covered. The printable checklist is downloadable!

Easy Tricks for Editing

With these tricks for editing passive voice, overused actions, and repetitive words, your prose will sing and your readers will rejoice.

Getting Away from the Computer

Sometimes, the computer is your friend. But often, it’s the vessel of procrastination and distraction. These are some ideas to take a step back and creatively engage with your story off the screen.

How to Brainstorm with Word Art

I wanted to jump right into the next thing, so I set out to make some word art and brainstorm. The result was awesome. Here’s what I did.

How to Co-Write a Story in Google Docs

Do you have a writer friend? Have you ever tried to write a joint story, or ever wanted to? These tips can help you use Google Docs for your creative WIP!

How to Write Arguments with Maximum Punch

Arguments are one those things that are both exciting and difficult to write. These are creative writing tips for making sure they have max impact.

Magic Metadata: Using Scrivener for Drafting and Revising

Use Scrivener metadata to expedite your drafting and revision. This tutorial (with lots of pictures!) will help you set up metadata to fit your WIP’s needs.

The Madwoman’s Tips For Making Revision Fun

Revision can be a taxing process. Trust me: When am I not revising something? (Spoiler: Never.) So how did I make editing over 30k in three weeks fun?

The Madwoman’s Outlining Technique

A thorough technique for outlining your novel, from character arcs to plot diagrams. This step-by-step process will leave you with a solid foundation!

The Madwoman’s Revision Technique

As with all things writing, there are a lot of different ways to do anything. But my WIP is on a tight deadline, so I developed this revision technique.

When Everything You Write Sucks

Give yourself permission to suck. That’s what it’s all about. Here are a few creative writing tips for methods I’ve tried in the past.

 

Publishing Industry

3 Tips to Woo Literary Agents (Without Sounding like a Stalker)

Improve your query letter by addressing literary agents through sweet serenades–by which I mean, details and research. You got this.

10 Agent Resources Vital for Your Query-Quest

10 resources from around the web to help you in your querying quest for a literary agent. Plus a freebie to help you get organized for maximum sleuthing!

10 Writing Resources: Traditional Publishing

From basics about publishing houses to tips on researching literary agents, these links will help you get educated about the traditional publishing journey.

How I Signed with a Literary Agent: Not the Way You Think

Literary agent. Offers. First refusal. Revision. Murder. These are all words that could describe my journey to signing with an agent. (Except murder. Maybe.)

Surprising Ways to Help a Friend’s Publishing Journey

How can you help a friend through their publishing journey, regardless of whether it’s traditional publishing or independent? Here are a few ideas.

 

The Writer's Life

5 Gifts for Young Writers

Young writers are awesome. If you want to encourage a young writer in your life, gifts (for birthdays, Christmas, whatever) are a good way to do it.

15 Inspirational Quotes About Writing

15 inspirational quotes about writing, on gorgeous photos by Jason Koons. From writing craft to writing in general, these calm my spirit and make me smile.

How to Give a Constructive Writing Critique

Whether you’re a beta reader, critique partner, or in a writing workshop, the art of giving a constructive critique is vital for delivering good feedback.

How to Run a Remote Writing Workshop

My workshop group has met remotely (spread over three time zones) for over a year now, and is still going strong. Here are some tips to help build yours!

How to Design an Author Business Card

A business card has a definite professional ring to it, but there’s a lack of writer guides out there. Here are some of my favorite designs!

Let’s Talk Research: Illuminated Manuscripts

Illuminated manuscripts were always going to be a central part of my WIP, ILLUMINATE. The problem: when I started out, I knew nothing about them.

Story Graphics: Influence Maps

Tips for making influence maps for your creative writing projects. You can craft these for yourself as an author, or for a specific work-in-progress.

Writing Through Trauma

How do you write when you have personal trauma(s)? Do you use them, or avoid them? Here are some of my thoughts, tips, and methods.

 

Master's Degrees & Bath Spa University

5 Questions to Ask Before You Get a Master’s in Creative Writing

Five questions to ask before you get your master’s degree in creative writing, written just after my graduation from Bath Spa University.

Writing for Young People Q&A: Application Process

Writing for Young People Q&A: Classes

Writing for Young People Q&A: Instruction and Environment

Writing for Young People Q&A: Personal Development

Writing for Young People Q&A: International Student Concerns

 

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Alyssa

Alyssa was born in small town Milton, Florida, but life as a roving military kid soon mellowed her (unintelligibly strong) Southern accent. Wanderlust is in her blood, and she’s always waiting for the wind to change. Stories remain her constant. Alyssa received her bachelor’s in English/Creative Writing from Berry College and her master's in Creative Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University. Alyssa is represented by Amber Caraveo at Skylark Literary. Her debut The Eleventh Trade – "a powerful story of love, loss, friendship and hope, centered around Sami, a young refugee from Afghanistan now building a new life with his grandfather in Boston" – will be published Fall 2018 by Macmillan (U.S.) and HotKey (U.K.).

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