While there’s a lot of good advice out there, certain articles have become my mainstays. Here are a few of my top picks.
Four Ways to Write Backstory That Matters – Helping Writers Become Authors
I have a love-hate relationship with backstory, so was interested to find this article on the topic. It gives practical advice on how to strengthen story development.
Instead of simply telling readers all about the backstory upfront, how can you uncover it, bit by bit, at strategic moments throughout the story, in a way that advances the plot?”
25 Things You Need to Know About Writing Mysteries – By Susan Spann on TerribleMinds
Chuck Wendig’s website not only gives solid advice but puts so much personality into articles. This list by Susan Spann is one of the best (and most fun) I’ve found on mystery writing. My favourite is number 23 which talks about dropping clues and info where needed at later stages of the writing process:
AND NOW, A LESSON FROM BILL AND TED: IT’S NOT A CRIME TO GO BACK AND HIDE THE KEYS
….Hey, writer? You have a time machine. Go back during the editing phase and drop the keys where you need them.”
Revealing the Interiority of Character – Electric Literature
‘Show don’t tell’ is one of those phrases we hear all the time. What’s less often explained is how to actually do this. Like many of Electric Literature’s articles, this gives a thoughtful insight into how to convey the inner life of a character through the way you describe their surroundings.
In other words, indirection of image is a way to take abstract emotions and project them onto something concrete. Doing so creates the potential to explore interiority at a greater depth than what’s afforded by mere exposition.”
Four Kinds of Pace – Writer Unboxed
This article reminds us that pace isn’t just about dramatic events and life or death scenarios. Literary fiction, in particular, can involve more subtle and complex forms of change including shifts in the character’s emotions or mindsets.
In each scene, ask: In what way can my protagonist become his or her own complication?”
Seven Best Proofreading Tools For Writers – Bang 2 Write
Lucy V Hay gives plenty of no-nonsense advice on her website, often in the form of short and sweet articles. This one gives a list of online tools for checking grammar and spelling.
The best writers can take long, complicated thoughts and turn them into simple, easy to read sentences. Nobody did this better than Ernest Hemingway…”
Ten Killer Chapter Breaks – Helping Writers Become Authors
Hooray for new ideas on how to end chapters with a twist or turn. This article can be especially helpful at the editing stages should the last lines of a chapter need some intrigue.
A portentous metaphor.
Example: A solar eclipse over a battlefield.
Inherent Question: Is this an indication of tragedy to come?”
What about you? Which writing resources do you return to, over and over? Please feel free to share below.