Top products from r/writing

We found 282 product mentions on r/writing. We ranked the 2,508 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/writing:

u/ItsBirdie · 2 pointsr/writing


An awesome and charismatic dude who focuses mainly on directing/screenwriting, but still has good videos on what makes a good story ( ) and story structure ( ) in particular.

K.M. Wieland

Check out her books since they're some of the best on story structure (as well as this one: ) but she also has a youtube channel with 3-4 minute shorts revolving around the info in her books. She is a novelist (and focuses more on writing rather than visual storytelling, which is a little rarer on this list only because Youtube is a visual medium and is perfect for analyzing movies) but her videos aren't all that bad.


I can't say how much I love this guy; I could watch his videos for hours (I do, actually). He breaks down movies, their scenes, etc. and how those movies/screenwriters/story elements effectively create a good story. This is my personal favorite of his: and this one and this

The Closer Look

Awesome British dude with great videos on things ranging from theme, to genre, to endings. Some of my favorites of his are: and

Now You See It

A guy who reminds me a lot of LFTS and analyzes what certain things mean in storytelling and common techniques/tropes.

Charisma on Command

This one is a little out there (it's actually not about storytelling; it's a youtube channel focusing on relationships and being charismatic/confident) but if you look in between the lines of what he's saying, you can learn a lot for writing. His dissections of GOT characters gave me plenty of ideas and insights into people and how they work. Without this I wouldn't know how super intelligent characters manipulate people (and how more naive characters don't see it coming) This is the specific video I'm referencing: (oh, spoiler warnings in most of these videos btw)

Just Write

Love this guy too! He is known for his "What writers should learn from " series and analyzes popularly bad movies and explain why they're so bad in the first place (The Hobbit, Avatar the Last Airbender, etc). I'd recommend this one as well as any of his other videos: for learning about what to do/avoid when writing

This was a list of some of the people I've found and follow, and I hope they help you too.
The last bit of advice I can give to you is to choose one of your favorite movies, books, tv shows, stories and search something along the lines of "Why do people love __?" or "What makes
good?" or "Why is [enter director/author here] so good/popular/successful?". You'll find a lot of analysis on youtube you can turn your brain off with (or take pages of notes, whatever your style) to begin understanding why people enjoy what they do. You can use this to your advantage when writing your own stories and avoid walking in blind on a project. Research genre and story structure and characters and plenty of other things until you understand all the arguments, perspectives, and techniques. Good luck!!!

u/UltraFlyingTurtle · 1 pointr/writing

First off, you've already made a good decision. It's good you don't write like an academic, because when most writers use that term, it usually means a writerly voice that uses big fancy words in order to project intelligence and education. It's a type of writing that may hide the real person behind the words, if done badly.

Of course academics will use big fancy words, because their chosen discipline may require them to do so, but the best academic writers will still write clearly, and with clarity.

My roommate in college was a T.A. (teacher's assistant) and he'd often ask me for second opinions while grading papers. You could tell the people who were trying to sound smart, over the ones who just tried to be honest. Almost always the ones who tried to communicate well, rather than the ones who tried to sound "academic," were the students who received better grades.

So, in your case, strive for honesty and clarity. If you need to use simple words, that's not only okay, but desirable. You want to reveal yourself in your words, as so often big words or using an academic-like voice will get in the way of that.

Having said that, if you need to write as a steam of consciousness. Go for it. Stream away. Then afterward you can edit, revise and reorganize your thoughts.

Because you haven't written in so long, your writing muscle, so to speak, is dormant and weak so the number one priority is to just write. Get words on the paper. That's the only way you'll know what you want to say.

After that, polish it up. Maybe start all over, but now you know where you are going with your writing.

Here are a few books that can help give you good writing advice for nonfiction writing.

  • [On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction]( by William Zinsser

  • Writing to Learn: How to Write - and Think - Clearly About Any Subject at All by William Zinnser

    This first book by William Zinnser is a classic. He has basic advice on how to improve writing skills, and provides various examples for different types of writing, like memoirs, job interviews, science and technology, etc.

    The second book goes even further exploring more disciplines like mathematics, art and music, nature, technology, liberal arts, etc.

    I think both would help you not just with your application essay but also with your writing while at graduate school.

    Lastly, you may already have this general writing advice book:

  • Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.

    I hope that helped. Don't be afraid to write, and good luck!

u/ConnorOlds · 13 pointsr/writing
  • "On Writing," by Stephen King ( - The first half is a good biography, and the second half is great insight into how Stephen King comes up with his stories. Not just the genesis of the story, but that actual "I sit down and do this, with this, in this type of environment." And then what to do when you finish your first draft. He is very critical of plotting, though. If you disagree with him about that, it's still good for everything else.

  • "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White ( - This is a handy little book for proper grammatical and prose rules. How to write proper dialogue, where to put punctuation, and how to structure sentences to flow in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

  • "Stein On Writing" by Sol Stein ( - I just picked this book up, so I haven't finished it--but it seems to be a little more in depth than Stephen King's On Writing. For instance, it looks more at not just what makes a good story, but what makes a good story appealing to readers. So whereas Stephen King preaches a more organic growth and editing process to write a story, this one seems to be more focused on how to take your idea and make it a good story based on proven structure.

    Honorable mention:

  • "The Emotion Thesaurus" by Angela Ackerman ( - This is incredibly useful when you're "showing" character emotions instead of "telling" the reader what those emotions are. For example, "He was curious," is telling the reader the character is curious. "He leaned forward, sliding his chair closer," is showing the reader that he is curious.

  • I think it's easy for writers (myself included) to get too wrapped up in studying writing, or reading about writing. The best way to improve your is to write more, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, articles or short stories, novels or book reviews. The same principle applies to most skills, art especially. While reading about the activity certainly helps and is probably necessary at some point, you're going to just have to perform the activity in order to improve. Imagine reading about running more than actually running to practice for a marathon. Or reading about flying instead of getting hours in. Or reading about piano theory instead of actually playing piano. But if you're coming from nothing, it would probably help to read those three books before starting in order to start practicing with a good background right away, instead of starting with nothing and winging it on your own.
u/creativityfuse · 1 pointr/writing

I can relate somewhat to what you're going through, I spent years in the corporate world writing business plans and requirement documents, then left to write fiction. The first thing that really helped me was allowing myself to spill things out without a censor, and without setting any standards (for the first few months at least). I ended up writing a ton of fragments, mostly childhood memories (autobiography vs. fiction), but then I slowly started making things up. There's a ton of great advice here from others about how to be a good writer, but if your challenge is tapping into your creative side, I think it's important to throw out rules and to allow yourself to be messy, to indulge whatever interests you, to not censor or edit yourself, and spend some time tapping into your creative side.

Once you've done that for a while and you feel like you are writing in a new way, then if you want you can focus on really learning to write creative fiction or whatever you want to do. I took classes at Gotham Writer's Workshop, which is based in nyc but I hear their online classes are great, and they have a ton of free resources on their site. Besides reading a ton of fiction I also read many books on craft. Someone already mentioned Stephen King's On Writing, which is quick and entertaining (not necessarily super-informative though). But I really loved Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, she has a chapter on 'Shitty First Drafts' and 'Jealousy' and is incredibly honest about the process. The most important thing though especially in the beginning is to allow yourself to have fun, explore, to release your creative juices and to pat yourself on the back for starting the process.

u/NewMexicoKid · 3 pointsr/writing

Consider participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the free, annual event designed to motivate writers to write a first draft of their novel (50,000+ words) in thirty days in November. There are many online forums on the site, often local events to help out and a social element that makes it fun.

Some people advise not using your grand idea for your first novel since it is often the case that your first novel that you write is the worst one you'll write (because you do not yet know the ins and outs of the craft). There is also the pressure to make the grand idea into the perfect novel, which can in cases prevent you from just writing and getting your idea down. What I did back in 2003 when I first heard about NaNoWriMo was put my grand idea aside and come up with a fun, throwaway idea to drive my first novel. Ironically, this turned out to be one of my favorite novels I've written over the years, so your mileage may vary ;-).

In terms of the craft, you might consider reading books like Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain -- a must-read book on the mechanics of writing scenes and structuring your book to hook the reader; and Writing for Emotional Impact, by Karl Iglesias, which tells you how to manipulate the emotions of your reader to great effect.

It is also helpful, of course, to read good books and learn from masters; and I would also encourage you to join a writing group or community. You can also learn a lot and benefit from giving and receiving critiques, e.g., at critters or critiquecircle.

I also agree with CogitoNM and Boxhead--you should just start to write. Try to write on a regular schedule. It is only by writing that you will gain the experience to hone your skills.

There are some preparatory workshop presentations that we've built over the years in the Illinois::Naperville region that might be of interest to you.

Good luck!

u/[deleted] · 0 pointsr/writing

Honestly you sound just like me. I still haven't completed a screenplay that I came up with the idea for 4 years ago (recently put it on the back burner and am on a different now. But I did make a lot of progress on it eventually). I get horrible anxiety when I write (/I have social anxiety/other anxiety in general). I think of ideas (I'm pretty creative) all of the time (often stories write themselves for me in my subconscious) but execution is very difficult for me. I also have a very unstructured mind which has a lot to do with it.

2 things that have helped me: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott This book singlehandedly broke down all of the tricks my brain did on itself that made me freeze up when I wanted to write. And it's really entertaining and funny and helps you be a better writer (though honestly you only need to read the first 2/3 of it)

And the other is organization/being able to write freely. I absolutely cannot straight up write my story in script format initially. It's very confining and freaks me out. Maybe start by writing by hand on plain white paper where you can draw pictures and arrows and sideways and cross things out and circle things. Write whatever you feel like. Ask questions. Describe what you're trying to say. Freewrite 4 pages and only assume the divinely inspired paragraph you are looking for will only show up on page 4, and everything else is unimportant but was necessary for you to get what you wanted.

Recently I started using a program called Scrivener (got it like a month ago and haven't looked back). Here's some screenshots of what it looks like for me. I put notes inside of notes inside of notes and write whatever the hell I want wherever, but also with structure. It's great. The content of my screenshots won't make sense, but I'm just showing you them so you can see what my process looks like.

Edit 2 more things:

  1. I hear write drunk edit sober but honestly that has never worked for me. To me it sounds really romantic. I guess a lot of good writers were alcoholics. For me when I drink the process doesn't get any easier and I just got more stupid.

  2. Even with this stuff I've got help with, it can still be hard to be good at being productive writing.

    ooh and 3. I always go to the library to write! The nice clean environment where you're physically there helps you not get distracted by a dirty room, you went all the way there so you're going to be less inclined to waste your time on facebook, and it's a chunk of time you're for sure dedicating to writing, you can't get groceries or clean the bathroom or something, you're there to write.
u/lost_generation · 5 pointsr/writing

I heard someone say once that you need to understand the rules before you can break them the right way. Anyway, I found these books helpful. I would never adhere to their advice exactly, but I did learn a lot from all of them and combine it with my own personal style:

John Gardner - The Art of Fiction

A bit dated, but it still does a good job of laying out what it means to write fiction. He has some good suggestions for exercises at the end.

Anne LaMott - Bird By Bird

Half craft, half inspirational. I'm not usually big on sappy, inspirational shit, but I loved this book and found it very helpful.

James Bonnet - Stealing Fire From the Gods

Focuses on the elements of great stories in film and books.

John Trimble - Writing With Style

This is a great overview of the technical side of writing well. The best I have found.

The main thing though: READ A LOT OF FICTION. You should read much more than you write. No one ever became a great writer by sitting around and reading about writing, but it can help you zero in on what to look for in the fiction of others.

Hope that helps.

u/hgbleackley · 7 pointsr/writing

I plot out the major arcs of both the story and the characters. I make sure to nail down the essentials of what is happening when, as well as developing a good understanding of my character motivations.

For me, a lot of planning involves just taking the time to mull over the themes I want to work with, or explore questions I want to raise. This involves asking a lot of questions to everyone I know, everyone I meet. It makes for great party conversations!

It takes a few months, during which time I'll also explore what's already been written/said about what I'm hoping to do. I look at similar movies and books, anything at all that's already been produced that has themes or topics similar to what I'm developing.

I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books.

As a concrete example, my most recent novel is about what would happen if everyone in the world stopped sleeping.

I spent months asking everyone I knew what the longest was that they stayed awake. I also read pretty much the only comparable thing on the topic, a fictional novel called "Sleepless" by Charlie Huston. I also read articles on sleep and neuroscience, as well as watched TED talks and other related videos.

Then I conducted a sleep-deprivation experiment on myself. I wanted to know what it would be like to not sleep. (I am a wuss and didn't make it that long- I need sleep more than the average bear apparently!)

This novel is in the style of World War Z (early title: World War ZZZ, huehuehue) and so it involved a lot of characters. Too many to keep track of in my brain, unaided.

I had index cards for each one, as well as drafts notes (using Scrivener- hurrah!). I got really comfortable with character creation. I read Stephen King's On Writing and O.S. Card's Characters and Viewpoint.

I was able to craft an overarching narrative by determining which characters would inject the story with which elements, and placing them where they needed to be. They got moved around a bit as I went on, but throughout I was very aware of the overall flow of the work.

Through careful planning, the actual writing (80,000 words) only took about seven weeks. I am a machine when it comes to word output, if I've done my (months and months of) homework. A second draft saw a lot of that cut, and more added in to bring it up to 86,000 words in three weeks of the hardest work of my life.

For me, planning is super important. If I don't plan well enough, I waste days. Days where my story goes off the rails, or my characters do things which don't make sense.

It's wonderful to see some things happen more fluidly, and I've had lovely surprises this way, but I always stop and think about if that is really what I want to be doing before I proceed.

I hope this long winded reply answers your question. I do enjoy sharing this sort of thing, and I hope it helps other writers do what they love to do.

u/George_Willard · 1 pointr/writing

I think I disagree, but guess I haven't read a ton of books about writing. In my experience, they can be helpful, especially to people who are just starting out. Maybe not as helpful as reading the types of books that you want to write (and reading the stuff you don't want to write—it's important to read widely), but I don't know if I'd call them a waste of time. King's book is great (but that might be because I got the impression that I'd like him as a person while I was reading that), Strunk and White Elements of Style and Zissner's On Writing Well are helpful for tightening beginners' prose, Writing Fiction: a guide to narrative craft has great exercises at the end of every chapter, and I'm reading Benjamin Percy's essay collection Thrill Me right now, and it's great. I feel like a large part of /r/writing would really connect with the first and titular essay in that collection, actually. He talks about reading a lot of so-called trash genre fiction before being exposed to literary fiction and how he kind of overcorrected and became a super-fierce advocate for that-and-only-that before he realized that you can take the good parts of both to create amazing stories. I've also never read any other respected literary person mention reading R. A. Salvatore, which was cool to see since I forgot I was a big Drizzt fan when I was younger.

u/Raphyre · 1 pointr/writing

I know it's not explicitly geared for short stories but The Nighttime Novelist is my go-to text for how to think about structuring a larger work. Though I have yet to publish my first novel.

Short story writing is very different. Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction and Stephen King's On Writing are both wonderful craft books that shed some of the practicalities of the Nighttime Novelist and look a good writing in its simplest form.

Much more important than nonfiction books, though, is finding short story markets you'd like to read. Figure out what kind of place might accept the most perfect form of the fiction you'd like to write, and then read those magazines religiously. While you're reading, do what you can to consider what these stories are doing well and how they are pulling off what they are pulling off. Use the vocabulary learned from craft books to better articulate (to yourself, mostly) what these stories are really doing, and begin to generate a sense of what good writing looks like. Then practice, practice, practice, write, revise, and write some more until you've got something worth sending out.

At this point in your writing development, the name of the game is simply learning to write well--keep that in mind, and try to make decisions based on what will help you become a better writer. And finally remember, there is such a thing as "practicing well."

u/ultraregret · 1 pointr/writing

Okay, so there are a lot of people who say there's "No real guide to writing." I understand why they say that but they're not factually correct. A lot of the best writers I follow all recommend a few key books. I started writing my book with no guides, which was fun, but I set myself up for a TON of rewrites because I didn't know what I was doing. I'm now deep in revisions and V2, and the only reason I'm finding success is I got my hands on some excellent books that showed me where to go from "You have a cool idea that might make a good book."

First, My Story Can Beat Up Your Story. Really good, basic, zero-fluff guide to writing (tailored to screenplays but it works just as well for novels.) I went from a mess of a first draft to a rock solid 10-page outline with this book alone.


Second, The Writer's Journey. People like Dan Harmon (Community, Rick and Morty) swear by this book. Little more fluff (by which I mean philosophical mumbo jumbo) but still an excellent resource for getting to know your characters, plot, structure, and what makes a story good as opposed to bad.

But all of these are basically just introductory texts to reading the Holy Grail of writing, The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. I started here and realized I was way out of my depth in terms of understanding why this book is important for writers, so I'm now backing myself down to Writing 101 rather than the masterclass.

u/nhaines · 1 pointr/writing

There's no magic formula that can get you writing, but you can develop techniques and habits that maximize your chances of being productive when you sit down to write.

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love is a great ebook, for a dollar, that walks you through how to prepare for writing, and talks about why each step helps. It has some great advice that will help you be confident by the time you sit down to write.

If $0.99 is too rich for you (or you're skeptical), you can read the author's blog post, which was later adapted into the above ebook. It's shorter and doesn't go into as much detail but still gives the core advice from the book.

In the end, you have to remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good. An outline will help you know which direction to head once you start a first draft. You have to finish that first draft and see the story laid out before you. Only then can you go in and start sculpting the finer curves and details and crafting and polishing the best prose.

NaNoWriMo isn't for any of that crafting or polishing. Just write, write, right. Check out the linked tips, and do some practice exercises before November. Figure out what you want to write. You'll be all set by the time it starts.

u/yourbasicgeek · 1 pointr/writing

Teach yourself that writing and editing are two phases. In the first, your job is to write. Get the story out of your head and on paper (or on screen). If the internal editor tells you to change something, tell her to shut up; she'll get her chance later.

In other words, write a shitty first draft. Tell yourself that it's okay to be shitty. I have been making a damned fine living as a writer for 25 years, and I promise you that my first drafts are still crap. (Not as crap as they used to be, but I assure you: They are crap.)

And that is fine. Because your initial role is to TELL THE STORY.

Once the story is written, then you can edit it. Then you can step back and see what does and doesn't work. Only then can you see what is and isn't "perfect" (yeah right, like there is any such thing). You can't see that when you're too close to it, anyhow. It's like a painter who's standing on top of the painting; you need to take a few steps back to see what really shows up.

And then, I promise you, you can enjoy it. (I love editing far more than I love writing.)

Best book for helping your drum this into your own head is Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. You'll say, "OMG she is writing about me!" and also you will laugh out loud, I promise you.

u/Mithalanis · 4 pointsr/writing

First, let me say I really admire your dedication, especially at your age. Wanting to improve for yourself and not just for a grade is something I see rarely in people, and I'm very impressed by it. I will do my best to give you places to look.

Short stories can be tricky. You could start by focusing on Edgar Allen Poe's idea of the "Singular Effect" - as explained in his essay "The Importance of the Single Effect in a Prose Tale". Basically, in a short story, you only have time for one effect, and everything should be used to support this. You can make someone laugh, or cry, or reflect, or feel dread, etc., but you don't have the space of a novel, where you need to do more than one of these things.

I would also encourage looking into John Gardner's advice - The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers is an amazing read, but also a full book, which maybe you don't want for a single assignment. In short, he encourages the "Fictional Dream", which is to say that, to some extent, the reader should forget that he is reading. He should be sucked into the story and the writing so completely (because the writing is so flawless) that it is like he is dreaming. Anything that pulls the reader out of the story, due to inconsistency, or factual error, or poor execution, etc. needs to be improved.

In terms of putting stuff together: the class Three Act Structure might be a good place to start. A lot of traditional stories follow this pattern.

Short Story Collections / Short Stories to Read (In absolutely no particular order)

Where I'm Calling From - Short story collection by Raymond Carver (Especially "Cathedral")
"A&P" - John Updike
"In the Cemetery Where Al Jolsen is Buried" - Amy Hempel
The Things They Carried - Short story collection by Tim O'Brien
"The Gift of the Magi" - O. Henry
"The Swimmer" - John Cheever
"Big Two-Hearted River" - Ernest Hemingway
"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" - Ernest Hemingway
"A Rose for Emily" - William Faulkner
*A Good Man is Hard to Find" - Short story collection by Flannery O'Connor

There's literally hundreds more, but I feel like if I keep going, this will just get out of hand.

Best of luck with your endeavor.

u/SilentNightingale · 2 pointsr/writing

I've used a couple of different methods, including the one Rachel Aaron describes in 2K to 10K, but I've found the most success using the Snowflake Method.(Here's the Amazon link if you decide to purchase the book.)

To me, this is a very organic and easy-to-follow method. With each step (e.g., Step 5, which requires you to delve into a character's backstory and role), I find myself filling previously missed plot holes or discovering the real reason for a character's actions. For example while working on Step 8 the other night (creating a scene list), I suddenly found myself adding six new chapters (about 18 proactive and reactive scenes) that completely solved a gap in my antagonist's timeline. When I realized that something didn't quite work, it was much easier to delete one weak sentence than throw away a 1,500-word scene that didn't add anything.

The best way I can think of to summarize this method is that you will start with a very basic idea and then extrapolate it in multiple steps. As you progress, ideas will ebb and flow. Small changes during this process save so much time. You'll find that after you finish the steps, the writing is easy. I know that when I'm done with the steps and finally begin to write, the skeleton and muscle are already there; all I have left to add is the skin and maybe one or two tattoos.

In any case, I would certainly recommend taking a look. One of the women in my writing group just switched to the Snowflake Method after becoming stuck in the middle of her third novel (part of a fantasy series that has had good sales on Amazon). She sent me an e-mail the other night telling me that she was now a believer, having finally resolved the issues that had resulted in a stagnant project.

Hope it helps!

u/AlexPenname · 4 pointsr/writing

Pick up some books on story structure. Save the Cat is a great one--it's about screenwriting but it has a lot of good advice that applies to writing novels as well. Joseph Campbell is a good call for this too, so you've got a good title there. I'd google "character building in novels" and check out /r/worldbuilding too, if that's your thing.

But once you read up on story structure, start practicing. Seriously, when you set out you're going to be horrible at wordsmithing (meaning you won't be able to string together beautiful sentences, and you probably won't be able to get the perfect imagery on paper) but that's ok! As a beginner, now is the time to focus on structure. Write yourself some really bad books where you just explore how to craft a plot, how to build characters, how to make a world... and the more really bad books you write, the closer the decent book is, and the amazing book.

The most solid advice is definitely just "sit down and start writing", but if you want to take advantage of being a newbie then ignoring craft for structure (at first) is the way to go about it, definitely.

Good luck! It's a great journey.

u/Gameclouds · 3 pointsr/writing

I'm surprised people haven't said much about the actual writing itself. Tone is an issue, but the actual structure of your writing needs work. I'll pull a few examples that way you can see what I mean.

"Unless you’re a member of an isolated ancient tribe living under one of the six remaining trees in what used to be the Amazon rainforest, you have almost certainly heard the term “Machine Learning” floating past within the last few years."

Your first sentence is almost a paragraph. This is a problem. Writing should be succinct and to the point. Clarity and strength of word usage will make what you say much more meaningful.

"In fact, personally, I’m convinced that if humanity doesn’t eradicate itself prematurely, there won’t be anything left humans can do that can’t be done much better, faster and cheaper by a suitably designed and programmed computer (or a network of them)."

This is a sentence in your third paragraph, which is again almost an entire paragraph by itself. You also severely diminish the strength of your sentence when you use things like 'In fact', 'personally', 'I'm convinced'. Your readers know that you are convinced because you are the one writing it. You need to convince them.

"Even though a computer can do just about anything, making it do what you want it to do can be very hard indeed."

Adverbs are not your friend. - Stephen King

Strength of sentence structure is impacted when you use adverbs like 'very'. And throwing on an 'indeed' doesn't do you any favors either. Make a point to think about what you are adding to your sentences with these words. Is the answer "I am adding nothing with these words."? Then those words should not be there.

I'm going to leave you a list of books where you can learn from writers that will help you with these things. Try not to get discouraged. We all have a lot to learn, so just think of it as part of the process. I would HIGHLY suggest you at least look into Elements of Style.

Sol Stein's On Writing

Stephen King's On Writing

Elements of Style

u/Kobi1311 · 1 pointr/writing

Your Writing;

Some good writing in your details and solid word images. You have a good sense of humor, I would have enjoyed more of your dry timing. The story and characters, that was very difficult for me to follow. The paragraphs seemed to dance, move to one thing or another, almost like it didn't need to connect. They did connect but It felt to me I had to work hard to get it.

I stopped when Owen got to Lake Tahoe.

I found it hard to understand when it's the Mc thinking, or a dream, or something else. It didn't feel very real to me. I didn't get a any sense of a 'when', no sense of time passing, nor a viewpoint that let me understand what I was reading.

I thought Owen was a type of kid I wouldn't much like to hang out with. The red haired girl, not sure. Good world building, a firm start.

Other ways to get better feedback;

If you want to avoid bad habits before starting, be clear about how much help you can get here. Ask specific questions about areas you think don't work. Post a small intro, maybe just a scene or two from a chapter. Start a bit smaller. Build up from there.

The best help I see comes from very specific questions about your work.

More detailed critiques can be found at the link shown below. There they will read all of it and give very detailed responses, however there is a catch. You have to do a 1:1 ratio of other works in order to receive the same. So you'd have to complete a high level critique of a 2,500 plus story, then you would get the same.

If you don’t follow this rule, your post will be marked as a leech post. And if your leech post has been up for 24 hours without any new critiques from you, it will be removed.

[Destructive Readers]( "The goal: to improve writing and maintain the highest standard of critique excellence anywhere on Reddit. DestructiveReaders isn't about writers being nice to writers; it's about readers being honest with writers. We deconstruct writing to construct better writers." )

Sharing the writing process;

A lot of us here are working and struggling with becoming better writers. So you are not alone in this painful process.

I myself find the task of becoming a good writer very daunting. I only keep going because I create a belief in myself. After that I go through the slow hard swim in the deep dark oceans of the unknown. I have no directions, no compass, only fear which if allowed becomes an anchor.

It would be good to know something about your skill level, things you've already read to improve crafting stories, classes you've taken, daily exercises or how much you write each day.

Myself; I do a daily poem, then write from 5/6 am to 9 am, that will be either my current novel or on a short I plan to submit to a magazine. I listen to Podcasts and do exercises from Writing Excuses

Books I use as my reference on writing;

u/ngoodroe · 3 pointsr/writing

Here are a few I think are good:

Getting Started

On Writing: This book is great. There are a lot of nice principles you can walk away with and a lot of people on this subreddit agree it's a great starting point!

Lots of Fiction: Nothing beats just reading a lot of good fiction, especially in other genres. It helps you explore how the greats do it and maybe pick up a few tricks along the way.

For Editing

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers: there isn't anything in here that will blow your writing away, land you an agent, and secure a NYT bestseller, but it has a lot of good, practical things to keep an eye out for in your writing. It's a good starting place for when you are learning to love writing (which is mostly rewriting)

A Sense of Style by Steve Pinker: I really loved this book! It isn't exclusively about fiction, but it deals with the importance of clarity in anything that is written.

Garner's Modern American Usage: I just got this about a month ago and have wondered what I was doing before. This is my resource now for when I would normally have gone to Google and typed a question about grammar or usage or a word that I wasn't sure I was using correctly. It's a dictionary, but instead of only words, it is filled with essays and entries about everything a serious word-nut could spend the rest of their^1 life reading.

^1 ^Things ^such ^as ^the ^singular ^their ^vs ^his/hers


Writer's Market 2016: There are too many different resources a writer can use to get published, but Writer's Market has a listing for Agents, publishers, magazines, journals, and contests. I think it's a good start once you find your work ready and polished.

There are too many books out there that I haven't read and have heard good things about as well. They will probably be mentioned above in this thread.

Another resource I have learned the most from are books I think are terrible. It allows you to read something, see that it doesn't work, and makes you process exactly what the author did wrong. You can find plenty of bad fiction if you look hard enough! I hope some of this helps!

u/therachel2010 · 2 pointsr/writing

The struggle with all new writers is that your taste will always exceed your ability in the beginning. You want to write because you've got a story or an idea that speaks to you. You probably know what makes a good story, which is what makes writing so enticing.

But like an art critique who wants to try their hand at painting, it can be a frustrating experience. You just have to keep trying.

As far as writing materials go I personally recommend On Writing by Stephen King. His methods don't work for everyone, but it's a great start. Try listening to the Writing Excuses Podcast, or watch Brandon Sanderson's creative writing lectures on youtube. (Here's a link to the playlist I am currently watching. It's fabulous.)
I also enjoyed Make a Scene. It is excellent at breaking down difficult concepts.

Other than that, just look around. Google writing blogs for tips, track down the blogs of authors you like, read as much as you can in the genre that you want to write. If you're consistently working towards improving your craft, you will improve. The more time you put in, the faster your improvement will be.

u/Hdhudjdnjdujd · 1 pointr/writing

There are two books that I recommend reading. On Writing by Stephen King and The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. I have learned a lot from both. One of the best pieces of advice from King was; read a lot and write a lot. It seems too obvious to be helpful advice, but I started a reading regiment that matched my writing regiment. Soon I was studying books as well as reading them, and I learned a lot more about wordplay, grammar, and vocabulary.

As far as grammar is concerned, I want my writing to communicate my emotions to the reader. That's my ultimate goal. Sometimes that requires perfect grammar, sometimes that requires breaking the rules. Take The Road by Cormac McCarthy for example. He's basically thrown all grammar rules out the window for the sake of his story, and it's an excellent story.

One of my writing professors told me there are three rules to breaking rules, and they have become my favorite rules of all. They are:

  1. You have to know you're breaking a rule.
  2. Your audience has to know you're breaking a rule.
  3. Your audience has to know that you know that you're breaking a rule.

    If you can accomplish those three than it's a safe bet you haven't lost your reader. However, readers will put down a book just because of the grammar, so we must be diligent.
u/xenomouse · 3 pointsr/writing

This is going to sound like really flippant advice, but I swear it's not: buy this book. There is a lot of basic stuff you need to know - how to build character and setting and plot, how to outline, and yes, how to market and publish - and this will spell it all out a lot better than any of us could do in a short post on Reddit. It is definitely an intro book, so it's not like this is all you'll ever need, but it's a good place to start, get your bearings, and figure out what you need to focus on next.

When you do figure that out, there are tons of books dedicated to everything from plot structure and scene structure to dialogue and character arcs; buy those too. Use them to improve your craft and fill in your gaps.

Also, read! Read a lot. Pay attention to how the authors you love set a scene, how they describe things (and to what extent), how they structure their chapters and scenes, how they write dialogue. All books contain real, solid examples for you to study and learn from. Figure out what you admire, and mimic it. Figure out what you hate, and avoid it.

And last, keep in mind that your writing probably won't be amazing right away, and you might have to rethink and rewrite your book a few times as you're learning (or maybe even start a new one) before you really feel like you've gotten the hang of it. Don't give up, just keep learning and keep working.

u/AncientHistory · 2 pointsr/writing

> How do I improve my writing (both critical and creative)?

Read more, write more. In your case, I think you probably want to focus less on creative writing and more on technical and business writing, which are very different beasts.

> What books should I look at to help me do this?

The Elements of Style is a good start. You might also get some use out of Understanding Rhetoric

> When trying to interpret and "look into" a text how do I do that very well?

You need to consider the text on several levels: What is the text telling you? How is the text telling you that? What does the author want you to take away from the text? Is there a subtext (i.e. an implicit message in the text that is not spelled out) or any symbolism in the text?

> What would you say is the greatest misconception about the process of creative writing?

That there is one process. Creative writing is as varied as the number of creative writers there are out there, and not every technique and approach will work for you. From the sound of it, just in terms of a college application essay and a desire to enter the business world, you don't really need to focus on creative writing - you want to focus on rhetoric, persuasive writing, and technical communication.

u/travisxavier · 2 pointsr/writing

Hopefully all writers feel this at some point as it is the entire point of communicating through writing: how to accurately express how you feel and what you wish to say intelligently and accurately so your audience understands.

One book I've found has helped immensely is Elements of Style (I'll provide a link below). It is a short little book that has numerous invaluable tips; for example, how exactly do you use those pesky little commas? It's in there. And it helps that it's fairly inexpensive.

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

PS. My friends and I are doing a podcast on writing called Pints and Prose ( in which we talk about all things literary including grammar. I would love to see what you think and if you have anything you would like to hear about. Hope you like it and hope the book helps!

u/MFCORNETTO · 2 pointsr/writing

Some hard truths:

  • When people say "writing," what they really mean is "re-writing." Nothing you've ever read has been a first draft. Every first draft is shitty. Just get the words out, you'll be getting rid of most of them anyway, but you have to get them out of your head.
  • Writing is 80/20 skill/talent. Talent you can't do anything about. Good news for you, because the majority of writers became good by just putting the hours in. It's like learning guitar or becoming good at golf or picking up salsa dancing: practice + time = skill.

    Some take-or-leave advice:

  • Start with writing about your life. It doesn't matter if anyone ever reads this or not, but it's the best practice out there. The books that helped me with this are What it Is, by Lynda Barry and The Vein of Gold, by Julia Cameron.
  • If you haven't read Bird by Bird yet, go read it twice.
  • Keep a vaguely detailed journal of what you did that day. Examples: "Went to class, prof wore that same stained sweater vest today," "Coffee with Julie, talked about the fight she and Brent had about coasters," etc. General life stuff you wouldn't think to write in a journal (if you think the goal of that journal is to document EVERYTHING are the little bits in fiction that make it feel real - go back and read these little quips when you're stuck. They'll help you find your voice again). You can write a page and a half about the color of the leaves on the day you first saw the girl you're going to marry, but the more you can make the reader create the image in their head instead of force-feeding it to them, the more it will resonate with them. This is basically show-don't-tell, or Unpacking.

    Hopefully that helps. Otherwise, I owe you 30 seconds of your life back. I will compensate you with Reddit Silver.
u/btwriter · 2 pointsr/writing

The Elements of Style is the classic reference and I've probably read it over a dozen times, but it has seen a pretty big backlash and it does contradict itself in some humorous ways. I'd recommend Style: Ten Lessons In Clarity And Grace by Joesph M. Williams. I found it much more clear and sensible than TEOS. In addition, I'm a big fan of Garner's Modern American Usage, not as a book on grammar but as a reference for use during composition. For what it's worth, I got both of these recommendations from professional editor John McIntyre. (But TEOS has Stephen King's blessing, so there's that as well.) Those and King's On Writing are the only writing books I've ever been able to stomach.

u/InkKnight · 4 pointsr/writing

Allow me to help on a few notes, listen if you want

  1. Asking people for stories isn't really a great way to find a good story. If people have a good story, they can probably write one themselves. If it's not a good story that they'd want to write... then why would you want the crappy story? It's also lazy and won't help you yourself build a good story, that's part of being a writer.

    B. Often times your story starts with a character idea. Seriously, it doesn't even need to be the protagonist, but most of the time it will be, or the antagonist. A story doesn't need to be thought as a lego building instructions, you don't have to follow the steps from beginning to end. You could write from the middle out, just as story building you can start with a character and world build around that character. Ask yourself why this character exists. What kind of story would fit this character? What event would they be good at. Then figure out how they got there, how they are in the state they're in, and what they'll do till the end of the story.

    3 or C or the little roman numeral triple "i" thing: Stephen King made a fantastic book on writing. It's titled: On Writing: A memoir of the craft.
    Amazon has it for like 11-12 bucks, and by personal experience it's a must have in any writers arsenal from novice to expert.

    4,D,iv: Good Writing my friend
u/neotropic9 · 1 pointr/writing

Syntax as Style by Tufte is the best for sentence level mechanics. By far.

On Writing Well by Zinsser is the best for non-fiction.

If you're interested in fiction, Story Engineering by Brooks is the one I usually recommend for structure. But you might use Knight's Creating Short Fiction for that purpose. Or Save the Cat by Snyder.

People often recommend Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It has the benefit of being very short and direct. It will make your writing better, if you're a beginner. Your essays will read more smoothly. But I don't like recommending this book because it lacks nuance and is sometimes wrong. If you just want to improve your writing as quickly as possible, get this book. If you actually care about language, get Virginia Tufte's book instead.

u/steel-panther · 1 pointr/writing

You mention commanders, that invokes images of the military, if you ever plan to do anything with your work and you are in the military, check into things because I recall even personal work on private time, if not written off by a general automaticly is owned by the military.

As for just writing, I copy pasted my reponse to another post like this. Doing, and reading are your best friends and picking up some writing help books are a good idea.

There are plenty of books like this.

My main recommendations revolve around self help books like that above, and actually reading other people's fiction. I believe that will be the biggest help to you based on my own experiences.

u/WellsofSilence · 3 pointsr/writing

I don't know if you want basic structure stuff or more advanced things, but here are a bunch (only one of which is a book, sorry).

The most basic you can get is three act structure. This and this summarize it fairly well.

The Snowflake Method is a good method for developing plot.

Story Engineering is a book that does a fairly good job at explaining the elements of plot structure.

The lectures from Brandon Sanderson's class at BYU are online, and two of them (2012 #7 and 2013 #8) focus specifically on plot structure.

Writing Excuses has a good episode about the Hollywood Formula (here's a TV Tropes page that basically summarizes it). Writing Excuses has a bunch of other episodes on plot structure as well.

This is a good presentation about basic story structure, and here you can download the actual powerpoint.

u/mmafc · 5 pointsr/writing

Here's Noah Lukeman on the semicolon in A Dash of Style:

> The primary function of the semicolon is to connect two complete (and thematically similar) sentences, thereby making them one. . .[G]rammatically the semicolon is never necessary; two short sentences can always coexist without being connected. Artistically, though, the semicolon opens a world of possibilities, and can lend a huge impact. In this sense, it is the punctuation mark best suited for creative writers.

Lukeman quotes John Trimble:

> The semicolon is efficient: it allows you to eliminate most of those conjunctions or prepositions that are obligatory with the comma--words like whereas, because, for, or, but, while, and.

And he quotes Lewis Thomas:

> Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.

John Gardner is a master of punctuation. He uses the em dash, parentheses and semicolons like a champ. To me it evokes a voice that's closer to how thoughts emerge than does the simple declarative statement, which makes my brain happy. One man's luscious thought is another's tortured prose. Here's an excerpt from The Art of Fiction:

> Thus it appears that to make us see and feel vividly what his characters see and feel--to draw us into the characters' world as if we were born to it--the writer must do more than simply make up characters and then somehow explain and authenticate them (giving them the right kinds of motorcycles and beards, exactly the right memories and jargon). He must shape simultaneously (in an expanding creative moment) his characters, plot, and setting, each inextricably connected to the others; he must make his whole world in a single, coherent gesture, as a potter makes a pot; or, as Coleridge puts it, he must copy, with his finite mind, the process of the infinite "I AM."

u/Asura72 · 1 pointr/writing

Here are a couple of books and a few other things you can do to help you improve. Generally speaking I would only use books to learn the nuts and bolts of writing (grammar, passive vs. active voice and Point of View - stuff like that). Everyone writes in a different way, there are a thousand paths up the mountain as the saying goes, so learning how Stephen King writes (On Writing) may not help you understand how you write.

If you only read one book on writing, make sure it's Elements of Style by Strunk and White - It's short and covers all the basic mechanics of writing.

As others have said, read widely. This is probably the most important thing you can do. Read and then read reviews and critiques. You will begin to see common themes to what people like and dislike. If you can spot these in the work of others, you will learn to spot them in your own work.

Join a critique group. This is basically the same thing as reading Goodreads or Amazon reviews, but supercharged. You see the raw material, warts and all. You will probably get more from learning to critically assess the work of others than you will from their critiques of your work. Lots of libraries have writers groups or you can join one online like Critters.

I would suggest not to jump straight into a novel. Learn to write short stories and polish your craft there. A 3000 word short story is less of an investment in time than a 100,000 word novel. You will make mistakes in the beginning, best to make them quickly and get them over with, learn and move on.

u/noodles666666 · 1 pointr/writing

Writing a Christian book without actually writing a Christian book.

Read on Writing.

>Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

Love you

u/electricdidact · 2 pointsr/writing

Okay, everyone's "read and write" advice tells you what to do, but not how to do it. Simply reading will not teach you how to write well; it will only teach you how to write LIKE other people do. If you want to "learn the rules," what you need to do is learn how to think critically about your own writing. For that, either take a creative writing class or read a few good books, or both. I'd recommend picking up a couple books. First, go through The Art and Craft of Fiction ( by Michael Kardos, and then read something like Stephen King's On Writing ( These will provide you with the central problems that writers of fiction must keep in mind.

Then, write regularly. Practice editing your own work. Find some other writers to read it and give you feedback.

u/jimhodgson · 6 pointsr/writing

I don't plan scenes or chapters.

I post this all the time but I love Butcher's advice on scenes:

I break for chapters when I can feel that something is resolved, while at the same time there's still a question at hand. I use smallish chapters because I think it makes a book feel faster paced.

I think readers like the breaks, but I also want to make sure they make the leap to the next chapter.

FWIW /u/jeikaraerobot, I think, is referring to Dwight Swain and "Techniques of the Selling Writer"

u/raubry · 2 pointsr/writing

Good advice by all.

Two essential books - in my opinion:

The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner. Most libraries/library consortia should have a copy. Even if you don't read the whole book, jump to the chapter near the end titled "Exercises". Pure gold. It's about building your chops and doing your scales. When you're ready, you'll have more tools in your toolkit. OK, enough of my crappy metaphors...

For pure inspiration/support, I haven't seen anyone beat Brenda Ueland's If You Want To Write. I used to think Writing Down the Bones was the best, but so far Ueland's book - although older-fashioned - seems to stand the test of time better.

I just discovered Joy Writing by Kenn Amdahl. I love everything he writes - such as There Are No Electrons, Algebra Unplugged, and Calculus for Cats - so I figure he has some good info on writing. This might become a classic.

u/THE-1138 · 1 pointr/writing

Glad this could help you! The smallest things can make a big difference, I think. Stephen King says he always writes early in the morning and he blasts rock music when he writes. I didn't think it could make much difference but it actually seemed to help me get started.

He said to read every day, too. And to not go to the empty page lightly. You have to have a determined attitude, he said.

Also, this book helped me tremendously as well:

It really simplified the writing process for me. It helps you build a framework for your story and shows you the basic elements that good stories need to be complete.

u/EditDrunker · 1 pointr/writing

On Writing Well by William Zissner and Elements of Style by Strunk and White will help you write with clarity and succinctness. King's On Writing and Lamott's Bird by Bird will give you good general advice (and the reading list at the end of King's is great), but yeah, they don't get into the nitty gritty details too often (which is why some people like them and why some people don't).

Thrill Me by Benjamin Percy is a great collection of essays on fiction. It's somewhere between On Writing's and Bird by Bird's generalness and the specificity of On Writing Well and Elements of Style. You might even disagree with some of Percy's essays but he tackles topics that are important to think about regardless.

And I can't recommend Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Barroway and Elizabeth and Ned Stuckey-French enough. It's a little pricey—look for it at your local library before you buy—but it's basically a undergraduate class on writing, complete with readings and exercises.

u/WillWeisser · 2 pointsr/writing

Look, I'll give you some straightforward advice. It's up to you if you want to listen to me or not. If you like, you can look at any successful science fiction novel to confirm or disprove what I'm saying, or look at other sources of information such as this or this or this. Or heck, just google "why is info dumping bad".

OK, advice time:

Start the story by focusing on the main character, and give him a big problem to deal with right away. Then proceed with the plot by having him attempt to solve the problem. Don't have characters deliver long, information-dense speeches, the only purpose of which is to fill in the reader on details of the setting. Just let the details of the setting become known organically in the course of the narrative. The reader wants to read a story; they don't want to know about how we're going to run out of usable energy sources in 1000 years, or if the planet is 23 light years away, or the details of the time dilation and on and on. Maybe if any of this was really interesting and novel, you could include details of it up front to entice the reader, but it's just a standard scifi trope that's been done a million times. So, focus on the characters, get us engaged with them emotionally, and trust that the reader will be able to piece together the relevant details as they go instead of spoonfeeding it to them all up front like a baby.

u/H_G_Bells · 8 pointsr/writing

Hello and welcome!

There is a helpful FAQ in the side bar. I'd recommend reading some books on writing, such as On Writing and Characters and Viewpoint. You can definitely get published without a degree (my sci-fi book is coming out in a few months, hurray!) but you do need to put the time in to learn what you're doing, formally or informally.

My best advice is to write, a lot, and keep writing.


u/crushingdestroyer · 1 pointr/writing

If you want to learn how to write film/tv scrips, I would suggest checking out the book Save the Cat! Here is the amazon link:

The author has a beat sheet that is important when writing scripts. Here is his website that shows a bunch of movies given the beat sheet treatment. Actually pretty cool and might help you figure out what makes a good movie. Check it out here:

u/slowlybutsurelyknee · 3 pointsr/writing

John Truby's Anatomy of Story is a great one. Joseph Cambell's A Hero with a Thousand Faces is also where The Hero's Journey comes from and worth a read to see what kinds of universal motifs and beats exist in stories.

Also second On Writing & The Elements of Style! Brandon Sanderson is also great, and he does FAQ Fridays on his blog where he answers questions on writing as well!

u/DRodrigues-Martin · 2 pointsr/writing

Hi u/Calicox,

Brandon Sanderson has a series of lectures he did at Brigham Young University when teaching a creative writing class there. Here's his lecture on character, but the others I've seen are also worth your time.

You may find the following books helpful:




u/noveler7 · 12 pointsr/writing

Read the whole series. Then this. And this. I used to be the same way. I got a little better using Freytag's triangle, but it wasn't specific enough. These resources helped turn me around. I still love great prose and toil over every word. Words are all we have. But beneath them, the story has to be there.

u/IHaveThatPower · 6 pointsr/writing

I (typically) write in sessions ranging from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. In that window, I put down between 800 and 2400 words. The initial 500 or so are always slower than the rest.

At that pace, and using your six sessions per week, it would take between 7 and 21 weeks to write a 100,000 word novel. That seems like a perfectly reasonable pace to me.

Perhaps the issue is one of organization, rather than time?

u/makesureimjewish · 2 pointsr/writing

i read these two books, hugely helpful:

link 1

link 2

i know everyone has their opinions about the best books but i really enjoyed both and they're very motivating

u/lifeandall · 3 pointsr/writing

There is an excellent section in the book Bird by Bird that talks about wanting to be published versus the benefit of writing. The author talks about teaching a writing class and being interupted several times, even on the first day of class, to be asked about publishing. In her sarcastic tone, she replies most of them will never be published, but if they persist in writing, they will be transformed. Many of them leave the class after the first day. Writing IS the reward. Publication is great, but shouldn't always be considered the end all.

u/mushpuppy · 3 pointsr/writing

Doesn't seem like you're as interested in getting help with writing as you are in getting help with illustration.

Still, regarding writing, I strongly recommend reading Scott McCloud's two seminal books on comic books: Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics.

I learned as much about comics from reading those two books as I learned about film from reading Story, by Robert McKee.

I.e., my appreciation and understanding of both media forms increased exponentially.

u/weekendblues · 2 pointsr/writing

Not fucking bad at all. There are a few changes I would make with pacing and a couple of minor spelling/punctuation mistakes, but I think this is quite a nice piece of writing with good voice that tells a story relatively well. This is the kind of thing that with a bit of editing can really be quite good. Forget about your SAT scores and college placement and all of that; keep writing. If you really want to master grammar and common usage, pick yourself up a copy of The Elements of Style and read it cover to cover.

u/the5200 · 5 pointsr/writing

In the words of Chuck Wendig, "Finish your shit." Just completing the manuscript will teach you a lot, and it's great experience for you as a writer. If this is your first novel-length work, it will likely be painful to get everything out there, but do it anyway.

Perhaps don't think of it as a trilogy right now, though. Write a complete story, take it where you intend to take it, and just write the best manuscript you can. A novel is stressful enough, so you don't need to add on the idea of writing Book 2 and Book 3 to yourself during this process.

There are good resources out there for showing emotions, etc. You can show it with creative tags, or by the characters' actions. Many writing guides will tell you to at least try to stay away from adverbs. If you feel yourself using too many of those, try to cut most of them out and replace them with something else. Instead of "he eyed him contemptuously" try to show that contempt on his face through a few words of description (jaw tightening, clenched, eyes narrowing, top lips curling up, etc). Here's a decent resource for helping you to describe emotions (a handy tool that might help you out of a few tough spots here and there).

With respect to motivation, I leave you with the quote attributed to R.A. Salvatore: "If you can quit, then quit. If you can't, then you're a writer."

u/ryancows · 2 pointsr/writing

advice from teachers that has stuck with/influenced me:

  • build the myth of place, place can drive as much as character (as in, it can be what shapes/informs character)
  • think critically about what you focus on, but also what you avoid
  • whatever you create, make it necessary for the form (as in write what can only be explored in fiction, film what can only be explored on screen, etc.)
  • talk out your dialog--converse with your characters aloud (if your roommate doesn't think you're crazy, you aren't doing it right)
  • editing is 70% of writing
  • the whole shitty firsts drafts thing, really there are gems in that whole book, though the relig parts turned me off
  • [be willing to] kill your darlings


  • E.L. Doctorow: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
  • Roberto Bolano: "Never approach short stories one at a time. If one approaches short stories one at a time, one can quite honestly be writing the same short story until the day one dies. It is best to write short stories three or five at a time. If one has the energy, write them nine or fifteen at a time."
u/Bookish_Love · 12 pointsr/writing

This is a neat list, but I agree with some of the other commenters--I think it's easy to mis-use this sort of list as an excuse to slip into lazy writing.

Personally, I suggest Angela Ackerman's book "The Emotion Thesaurus." I like her book because it focuses on the psychological aspects of human emotions, and the physiological effects they can possibly have. She doesn't just list a bunch of physical actions, but rather takes the time to delve into what sort of character would use a certain set of actions, and when might be appropriate to include them. It's only a couple bucks on Amazon, if you want to check it out:

u/Johnletraingle · 1 pointr/writing

There's no shortage of both paid and free resources.


I would recommend:


  1. Robert Mckee's "Dialogue". The definitive tome on writing dialogue.


  2. "Self -editing for fiction writers". All-round comprehensive book on craft. Covers all aspects of writing, with clear straightforward advice.


  3. "Helping writers become authors" podcast. Heavily focused on craft and technique.

    Listen for free here:

u/moseybjones · 1 pointr/writing

Two great books I recommend:

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and Book Architecture by Stuart Horwitz.

You'll find that writing a story isn't too different from what you're used to in journalism. These two books offer the knowledge and skills to build a strong backbone. Once you understand how a story works, the rest is all you. If you have the basics down, you can focus on the art much more easily. And when you're done, a) you won't need to do nearly as many edits/rewrites, b) you'll have a damn fine story, and c) you have a better shot at getting published.

u/RedJetta · 5 pointsr/writing

These are the sources I would use if I were to give a class on writing. Totaling out at about fifteen bucks if you don't mind used books or, you could go online and find a PDF I'm sure.

This book is widely considered the holy bible for logophiles.

Do that first, practice the core conceptsas you go along, then read this.

and lastly, since you're interested in fiction, I would read this.

The take away is understanding, so don't just skim if you can help it. Meanwhile, I'd write short stories. (aim for about 2-3k words at first) Monthly, one hundred words a day and keep at it for three-four months. See how you improve and such along the way and then, increase your goals. two hundred words a day. One story instead of different short stories.
*The most important thing is setting a goal for yourself and seeing it through to the end.

u/SpyVSHorse · 2 pointsr/writing


There are many books like this, but the one I'd recommend is 'Save the Cat!' By Blake Snyder. It was created for writing screenplays, but does an artful job of outlining the genres of all types of stories and their average length per beat. These beat sheets can be quite handy to use as a rule of thumb.


u/lingual_panda · 1 pointr/writing

Here are a couple more recommendations for you:

  • The Elements of Style is a really approachable explanation on grammar. Very little English-class jargon, tons of clear examples. I laughed quite a bit.
  • How Not to Write a Novel, also very entertaining and covers every aspect of writing and storytelling in great detail.
u/Fishbowl_Helmet · 2 pointsr/writing

Just start. You read mass quantities as broadly as possible, you read as much in your genre--or genres--of choice as possible, and you write as often as possible. You finish what you start, you revise what you've finished, and you read the final result with a critical eye in the hopes of improving your craft. It's simple. The shit just ain't easy.

Start simple. Pick your favorite genre. Write some short stories in that genre. Use either first person ("I shot the sheriff") or third person ("He shot the sheriff"). And use past tense ("He shot the sheriff") instead of present tense ("He shoots the sheriff"). You can branch out from there once you get the basics down.

Grab a few of the best how to books in your genre(s) of choice, but don't stop writing as often as possible, and don't just keep on reading every how to book ever published.

One of the best books is a general reference, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.

But really, it comes down to read, read, read, and write, write, write.

u/waffletoast · 1 pointr/writing

I highly recommend getting Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He talks about the 6 "Core competencies" for a publishable novel that will stand out.

I think this plot has promise. The issue isn't plot holes, but I just don't feel the concept and theme is strong enough, which are 2 of the main core competencies Brooks talks about. I am not sure what the main conflict of the story is supposed to be? Maria's death is a good hook, but it seems like you use it just as a catalyst to explore two teenagers in love on the cusp of going to college.

This could work, but maybe you can tell me more about what about this story compels you.

u/real_big_words · 1 pointr/writing

On Amazon, I once found an Emotional Thesaurus That's not exactly what you're looking for, but I liked being able to pick an emotion (such as wistful) and look at the different words and actions related to it.

Hope that helps!

u/Agent_Alpha · 5 pointsr/writing

I recommend getting into books like Save The Cat! by Blake Synder and The Story Solution by Eric Edson. They're good tools on how to approach stories from a screenwriting format, giving you an idea of how to develop structure and pacing for your audience's benefit.

u/furiousgazelle · 1 pointr/writing

Could you be more specific on the type of magazine editing job you're looking for? (Headlines, features, etc. – it can also make a big difference in what type of magazine you want to work for.)


This is a pretty great book on all around nonfiction writing and editing Check your library for a copy; if they don't have this one I'm sure they can recommend a similar book.

u/ibwip · 5 pointsr/writing

First off, start a blog and force yourself to write 3 articles a week. It will get you in a routine, and after a month you will see drastic improvement. Getting hired through a traditional j-school program or an internship is highly improbable. I got hired at my first paid gig because I knew how to code in a few web languages. After two months I was writing features on international finance. Do not under any circumstance pursue graduate work in journalism or a JD. You are wasting your money. Most journalism work is trending towards specialization, while j-school prepares you as a generalist. Not only that, you can learn all of the tricks simply by writing and reading a few books. Four years ago, I was in your position. Now I write for a living.

I'd recommend the following books/articles for any person interested in writing
On Writing Well
On Writing
Malcolm Gladwell's Advice
Interview with Matt Taibbi

Best of luck

u/MakeItHilts · 4 pointsr/writing

The best book I've read about fiction storytelling is The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner.

Gardner was a legendary, I think, writing teacher and author. The short story-writer Raymond Carver used to credit his old professor with his understanding of writing, the discipline and the whole approach to the task of being a writer. Anyway, it's great!

u/ziddersroofurry · 3 pointsr/writing

Not at all. While schooling can help you out the best way to learn how to write is to write. That being said there are a few books that are considered must reads, and of course the more well read you are the better able you are to express yourself.

u/ratjea · 2 pointsr/writing
  1. The War of Art by Steven Pressman is helpful with procrastination.

  2. I'm finding great success with Focus Booster to help break through resistance. It helps you structure you work time into 25 minute blocks with 5 minute breaks. You can do just one 25 minute block if you want, though.

    Resistance/procrastination is a bitch. I think it's not the talent, planning, or anything else that makes a successful writer. It's breaking through resistance and getting the shit done.
u/xoites · 2 pointsr/writing

I highly recommend this book:

But don't stop there. There are many good books out there to help you get started writing.

I want to point out that one book i have read says that reading about writing is part of becoming a good writer.

u/Flying_Atheist · 2 pointsr/writing

Not a website, but rather a book. I would highly recommend Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. It's incredibly entertaining and very educational.

EDIT: here's a link

u/sallinda · 1 pointr/writing

I really enjoy Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird her guide to writing "the shitty first draft" is really helpful even after 8 years later. I would also recommend looking up your favorite authors specifically and seeing if they wrote or contributed to anything about the technical aspect of writing. Even if they don't have an actual writing book, they might have podcasts/blogs/interviews about their writing process. You could try to then mimic the process of books that you already know and enjoy.

u/littlebutmighty · 1 pointr/writing

Sure. I recommend 3 books for grammar, style, and self-editing:

u/mstewstew · 3 pointsr/writing

Oh man, that's tough. I was lucky during my first book. I've always been in writing (as a journalist) and have thought about writing a novel for a very long time. That meant I had a lot of ideas stored up, and writing this first book was like opening the floodgates. Admittedly, I took it very slow, writing it out over a year or so.

During that time, I read From 2k to 10k a Day by Rachel Aaron. She has a great system for writing faster. She makes a strong case for plotting, and has totally converted me. I think that's what has kept me from suffering from writers' block. If ever I doubt where I'm going, I just go back to the outline and reassess what I'm doing. The added benefit to that is, I always know where I'm going, giving me time to focus more on prose, which has helped my writing tremendously.

u/garyp714 · 4 pointsr/writing

Writers don't 'read' scripts in Hollywood from outsiders because the industry is flooded with unsolicited manuscripts every year. And 99% are horrible.

In Hollywood, readers and low-level assistants/development execs are the filter that an outsider must get through to be taken seriously. These people are handed 20-30 scripts a weekend, some from the top executive's buddy's daughter from texas, some from an agent friend, some from a writing contest. These 'readers' are so pissed that they have no weekend that they look for any small issue with the writing to tell if it is a non-professional, an industry person or some flake from Nebraska.

So to make a long story short, there is an industry standard and if the script deviates in form or style from the standard, into the recycle pile it goes. Period.

So screenwriters out there? You MUST write for the beleaguered reader, these put-upon, exhausted people that would rather die than read another poorly written script. The script has to work on all levels and the format perfect. Just having a good idea is not enough.

Try this:

Great book on the simple things to avoid.

Oh and writing screenplays is an artisan skill, incredibly detailed and complex work. If you take it on as such you will need time and knowledge and practice, practice, practice.

Another great great great book:

You can't do a half-ass screenplay that will sell. You need to know the rules.

u/Karl-Friedrich_Lenz · 1 pointr/writing

That obviously depends on the day. If I have nothing else to do I would expect 5K at least. If I'm busy I might not get anything done.

Anybody interested in writing faster might benefit from reading Rachel Aaron's 2K to 10K at $1 for the Kindle edition.

Main lessons from that: Take a couple of minutes before starting to write a short outline, be really excited and interested in the scene you want to write (if something bores you, it will bore readers as well), keep records of your progress.

u/justgoodenough · 2 pointsr/writing

I'm starting too. Here's the list of resources I am planning on working my way through. No promises that you will know how to write after you are done, but it's a place to start. I haven't read/watched everything on this list yet (I'm just starting Brandon Sanderson's lectures, I have read On Writing, I have read some of Chuck Palahniuk's essays, and I went to a lecture on plotting that was largely based on Save the Cat), it's just the list of what I am planning on checking out.

Brandon Sanderson's Creative Writing Lectures

Chuck Palahniuk's Essay on Writing

On Writing by Stephen King

[Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott]

Story by Robert McKee

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

This thread also has additional resources.

Oh, also, this is a funny resource, but I like reading Query Shark because one of the things that comes up over and over again is boiling a story down to three questions: who is your main character, what do they want, why can't they get it? I think when you are writing, you want to keep those questions at the core of your story and a lot of her comments on the blog are about cutting through all the extra stuff and getting to that core.

Edit: I missed that you said you already watched the Brandon Sanderson lectures. Sorry!

u/Letheron88 · 1 pointr/writing

I'm not sure about what questions you could ask a coach, but any information i'd ever want to learn about writing can be found in the following books:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Stein on Writing

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne

Maybe some questions you can answer for us? Why have you sought out a writing coach? What kind of writing do you do? How long have you been writing and at what level?

You may get some better responses after these questions. :)

u/BorisGuzo · 2 pointsr/writing

There's no easy answer. Here are a few starting points.
Pixar's Stanton on story
Great book by James Scott Bell
Part 1/5 of series by Dan Wells, you can find the rest, all are good.

I hear you, don't give up.

u/jtwritesthings · 2 pointsr/writing A lot of it might seem a bit obvious if you already have editing knowledge, but as an editing beginner I found this book to be super helpful.

u/av1cenna · 15 pointsr/writing

I can give you three books that I recommend without reservation. The first is the easiest to read and a solid introduction to fiction editing. The second goes into more depth, with an excellent workflow for the revising process in the latter chapters. The third is the most dense, like a college class in fiction editing with a focus on how the 19th and 20th century masters actually revised their works, but it is also the most thorough.

Self-editing for Fiction Writers (written by two editors)

Stein on Writing (written by an accomplished editor)

Revising Fiction (written by an college professor, writer and editor)

u/YourHaughtyNarrator · 1 pointr/writing

For fiction, check out Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. It's a comprehensive guide with sections on process, elements of craft, and revision. Each section also features an outstanding short story (or two) and numerous writing exercises. My own dog-eared copy, which I use for lessons in my fiction workshops, is right here on my desk.

To improve your sentence-level writing and refresh your memory on the particulars of grammar and mechanics, you won't go wrong with a copy of The Elements of Style.

u/lonewolfandpub · 1 pointr/writing

I'll do you one better. I'll give you my damn playbooks.

Elements of Style and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. They have the fundamentals that'll take you to the beer league championships and beyond. Once you've got them down, you'll be in excellent shape.

u/icyrae · 1 pointr/writing

For punctuation, Eats, Shoots & Leaves. For grammatical style, On Writing Well, though it's less of a grammar book. Workbook, Schaum's Outline of English Grammar.

One of the things my grammar teacher did that really helped me grasp the different pieces of grammar (clauses, modifiers, etc.) was to have us each choose a 500-ish word piece of writing, that she would approve, and then for each grammatical element we were studying, we would take that piece and find every instance of that element, and have our small groups check each other's as well. Our choices for college (Chesterton, Lewis, Lopate, White) might not be appropriate for high school or middle school, but you could have them pick pieces from books and authors they love. Hunger Games. Harry Potter. Rick Riordan's books. That way, when you're in a small group, you can see how different authors utilize different elements more or less and what it looks like in first person vs third person, etc.

u/yelruh00 · 3 pointsr/writing

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott is a great book that not only helps your writing but also helps you to be more introspective and find your creative self.

u/dpowers7 · 5 pointsr/writing

He's just... a badass. I loved It, need to re-read it someday soon. King has a way of creating a vacuum when the front cover is opened, you just find yourself turning pages. I've often felt that this is necessary sorcery.. The black art of tricking a reader into getting themselves ensnared. Like a Chinese finger-trap, you can resist, but it will just get tighter.

Also, for anyone who missed it. Stephen King wrote (in my opinion) one of the best pieces available for other writers, titled On Writing.

u/MichaelJSullivan · 1 pointr/writing

With the exception of my first two books (which each were written over sequential one month periods), my writing output has pretty much been even across 13 year - right around 1,500 - 2,000 words a day. The reason those first two books came out so quickly is the story had been building for her a decade, and when I decided to write it, the damn broke and I barely ate or slipped while I purged them from my brain.

That pace is more than good for most writers (and also the most common word count of those who write daily. Now that said, Rachel Aaron, is a writer who is quite talented and she wrote a book called 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. I've not read it because I have no desire to increase my writing to that pace, but, knowing her, I think there is probably some good stuff in there.

u/OfficerGenious · 1 pointr/writing

There's a book called the Emotional Thesaurus that might help. I hear good things about it and I see articles reference it everywhere. It might be really good for you.

u/GasStationTaco · 7 pointsr/writing

Great advice. This is from a book called Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (link below). The Harry Potter image comes directly from chp 3 I think. Best book on writing I ever read.

u/PurpleWomat · 2 pointsr/writing

Okay, this is a little left of centre but what helped me focus my ideas was a book called 'Save the Cat'. It's about screenwriting but it is extremely good for helping you narrow down and focus your story.

u/iamwritingabook2 · 4 pointsr/writing

No tricks per se, otherwise forcing yourself will be short lived and will produce low quality results. Having said that, this is what I did / do:

  1. Read "The War on Art" you'll understand why it's so hard to start doing something that you want to badly (TL;DR: it's your lizard brain / the resistance. Still read the book)

  2. Your brain works better in the morning, we all know that. And there are soooo many things we need to do distractions, well.. writing is your job, and you get paid with those distractions. Wake up and don't do anything until you have written some (you can quantify yourself what this some is, 250 words? 500? 2,500??) not even brushing your teeth, and surely not breakfast (that's the pay for writing). Questionable about bodily functions, it all depends how well you perform under pressure (jk). YMMV

  3. Develop better habits, starting from #2 above.

    Quotas seem to work, you can have a words quota, or time quota, or a combo.

    What I have seen working is a quotas, you determined how many words/time a unit of writing is, let's say 500 words or 30 minutes; and how many units is your minimum per day. You take it from there.

    Here's the real trick you have just read my thing and you're not going to like it at all. Great! You and I are not the same. Pull it apart, be the brutal editor of my work, make it so that it works, pretend you're doing it not for you but for a friend who asked you for help. Then... follow your own advice, but for the sake of the Muses and the Gods of writing, keep #1.

u/BryceZayne · 2 pointsr/writing

The best book I know of for plot and pacing is "Save The Cat" - it's mostly a book for screenwriters, but its in-depth advice on structure and story building can be widely used for regular fiction too.

Anyone who is an aspiring screenwriter or storyteller in general can't go wrong with having a copy of Save The Cat on their bookshelf

u/GotMyOrangeCrush · 1 pointr/writing

Sol Stein is a masterful editor; below is a good book to read.

Watch your comma usage. Too many commas slow down and break up the flow of the sentence.

Am not trying to be hyper-critical, just calling it like I see it and want to help.

u/dmoonfire · 1 pointr/writing

Look into the snowflake method or variations of that.

For me, I start with a beginning and an end.

  1. Boy wants to be a great warrior.
  2. Boy realizes that he never will be a great warrior.

    Then, add in points that would be the climaxes or high points of the story.

  3. Boy wants to be a great warriors
  4. Boy gets his chance, runs away in terror.
  5. Boy has a fight with evil boy and does the right thing.
  6. Boy realizes that he never will be a great warrior.

    By now, I got two characters to work with. I expand that out int the highlights of the story.

  7. Boy wants to be a great warriors
  8. Boy gets his chance, runs away in terror.
  9. Boy realizes his mistake and goes back
  10. Boy drags Boy2 across the desert to safety.
  11. Boy has to watch Girl become the warrior he wanted to be.
  12. Boy is almost killed by evil woman.
  13. Evil woman doesn't kill boy.
  14. Boy has a fight with evil boy and does the right thing.
  15. Boy realizes that he never will be a great warrior.

    Once you have the highlights, treat them as a work breakdown structure (WBS). And figure out how you are going to show it.

  16. Boy wants to be a great warriors
    1. Needs to fail at some task
    2. Contrast with Girl who succeeded
    3. His own grandmother beats him up for being pathetic
    4. Man tries to comfort him, Boy promises he'll be the greatest warrior
    5. Boy's brother shows up, he's awesome
    6. Boy3 and Boy4 beat on Boy, Brother has to save him

      And so on. Once you get the various ideas, you start to group them together in logical units (we like to call these things "chapters") and an in an order that makes sense.

      Once you have your logical units broken up, start expanding each one into the salient points.

  17. Boy wants to be a great warriors
    1. Needs to fail at some task
      1. Trying to sneak into the shrine.
      2. Not very good at it.
      3. Gets caught and lectured
      4. Has to make a choice of who is going to punish him
      5. Chooses grandmother

        Basically, this is how I write things top-down. Yeah, there is a bit of refactoring (a lot), but it seems to work.

        I also recommend Techniques of a Selling Writer since it has a good discussion of the types of chapters/scenes (character development, plot development, action, etc).
u/bobthewriter · 2 pointsr/writing

i really like Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.

Really interesting and informative ideas about the structure for a mainstream/commercial novel:

u/Antaria77 · 2 pointsr/writing

There's a good book series, hold on I'll link it, bought these for myself, and they're great

u/eselle · 1 pointr/writing

You'll probably get a lot of people saying 'On Writing', but for me that was too abstract for what I wanted. The best thing I've read has to be, hands down, 'Story Engineering' by Larry Brooks.

u/fernly · 1 pointr/writing

Anatomy of a story on amazon.

On that page is an interesting promo for a free trial of something called Amazon Storybuilder that might be relevant to OP's query.

u/PCBlue22 · 8 pointsr/writing

I tried reading your first paragraph aloud; it felt like my mouth was full of thumbtacks.

Climbing out and onto the fire escape two stories above the food vendors of the sixth district of the city, Moonrow, the street food's scent made him instantly hungry and the harsh sounds of the busy night below somehow relaxed him.

What is the subject of this sentence? The street food's scent? The scent appears to be climbing onto a fire escape? You're stuffing too much shit into one sentence. He climbed onto the fire escape, and he smelled food, the smell made him hungry, and he heard the city, and the sound relaxed him, somehow.

He sat on the metal steps leading to the apartments above and watched the people move in between the rusted bars below his feet.

Is it important that the words "above" and "below" fit in the same sentence? This is awkward. Again, trying to stuff action and description into the same sentence.

The Sixth was the mutually agreed upon best place to be on weekends like tonight, and because of that every district throughout the city was represented.

This should be two sentences, or at least attacked with a semicolon. And this is telling, not showing. And "mutually agreed upon" is an awful way of saying "considered."

I respect that you're trying to get into writing. Continue writing. And study the basics:

The Elements of Style

On Writing

Later, if you're serious, get into a workshop full of people who are much better than you, who will openly tell you when your work is bad and that you should feel bad.

u/scottoden · 2 pointsr/writing

If you're planning to go the traditional route, then it's absolutely necessary that you learn to self-edit your own work. Brown and King's Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is an excellent book that teaches the basics of what you need to know to give your work a good polish.

u/Godphree · 4 pointsr/writing

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder was extraordinarily helpful to me in just getting the nuts & bolts structure of my story ironed out. You may not think you're writing a screenplay, but if you write your book following his "beat sheet," I imagine it'd stand a good chance of being optioned.

u/bethrevis · 2 pointsr/writing

I recommend reading Rachel Aaron's book, 2000 TO 10000. It's basically a instruction manual for how she become more disciplined in writing. I've gotten some great ideas from it.

And the buy link--it's $1 right now:

u/blin18 · 1 pointr/writing

You can write internal monologue from either perspective. If your book is 3Rd person limited perspective, then you can slip seamlessly into internal monologue using the same 3Rd person past.

Or, if you want to zoom in really close, use first person present for monologue. In these cases, you are using the exact words that play in the characters head. The convention for this type is to use italics. This signals the change of perspective to the reader.

There is a chapter on internal monologue in this excellent book on self editing. If this is the sort of problem that interests you then you'll love the book.

u/Gundari22 · 2 pointsr/writing

I'm fortunate in that I married an editor, but I have read

I certainly don't think it's the end-all-be-all of self editing. The writers come off as a bit full of themselves, they can lean a bit too heavily on examples, and they sometimes take a little too long getting to the point (I'm also a little impatient at times). BUT there is some good stuff in there.

u/eunicepark · 2 pointsr/writing

I found this book on editing very helpful. I think you can find it online for free, too, if you hunt around a bit.

u/Forricide · 1 pointr/writing

Hey - quick question for you. I'm considering picking this up (from here?). The reviews seem rather positive; is it easily understandable and still relevant today?

u/splendidtree · 2 pointsr/writing

> Romanian

You know, I actually wondered if English was your first language because you did it consistently and I wondered where it was you'd learn the dash trick. But you are right. Quotes are always used in English.

> I am prone to go to extremes in the other direction

It is a fine line, I agree. I haven't read it myself, but my writer friend highly suggests Stephen King's "On Writing".

u/wormsalad · 1 pointr/writing

I've been reading up on Scene - Sequel and MRUs this week, so I figured I'd throw in some useful links to jump start you!

A general overview of the Scene Sequel concept:

Then some examples:

This next one is my favorite MRU post. It covers another version of the MRU called Stimulus, Internalization, Response (SRI) and has the best break down of the MRU/SRI method I've seen yet. (

All of these methods come from a book by Dwight V. Swain. I haven't read it yet, but if you want to know more that'd be the source.

u/louis_d_t · 1 pointr/writing

There are 1001 books on the subject. If you're looking for recommendations, I'll plug On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

If you're looking for one simple answer, it's this: get to the point. People get bored really, really, fast, especially on-line, so every sentence, every word, has to do something for you. Don't just write. Write with a purpose in mind, and fight for it.

Read good writing. The New Yorker is (arguably) the best magazine in the world. Read that. Read The New York Times. Read anything that seems exceptional to you.

Start small. Look for a volunteer position. People always need writers. If you're lucky, find someone to teach you. Work for someone else before you work for yourself.

u/white-pony · 2 pointsr/writing

A good book that gives a ton of this type of body language and cues for pretty much any emotion is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

u/Menzopeptol · 5 pointsr/writing

I don't think you can beat On Writing. And you can always adapt suggestions/rules from screenwriting if fiction's your thing. Other than that, check out Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules for Good Writing.

Or think about what your favorite authors do, and have a long think about what you can do differently/more fitting to your you-ness. That's what I started off with, and I've had a few pieces published.

Edit: Linkage.

u/kaneblaise · 4 pointsr/writing

I have and really like The Emotion Thesaurus, but I'll check that one out too! Always nice to have more tools in the toolbox.

u/NovelNovelist · 1 pointr/writing

Ooh, you should check out Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I haven't read it in about 15 years, but I recall it presenting the information in a very fun, memorable way.

u/LinguaManiac · 2 pointsr/writing

Everyone's told you everything already. I just want to say it again, so you know that there really isn't a secret sauce or anything.

First, read all the time. And keep challenging yourself against better authors. When you go back to re-read a book you loved only to find that every other sentence makes you crazy for how poorly its written, you know you're getting somewhere.

Second, write all the time. It doesn't have to be a finished product. It doesn't even have to be anything that will make its way into a finished product. It can simply be a paragraph that you find yourself compelled to write. That's fine. I (and I don't know if others do this) end up writing the first half of a short story at least twice before I can even get through the whole thing once.

And that brings me to another point. Your first draft will suck -- like, a lot. Just edit. Then edit again. And (after another ten or twenty edits) edit the last time.

To address your specific question about grammar: pick a grammar guide and go with it. Then learn to ignore about a third of the rules if it fits the story. Everyone will have their own preference for grammar guides. Mine is The Elements of Style by Shrunk and White (

Just remember, as I said, to ignore the stuff that's silly, like using inflammable instead of flammable.

u/remembertosmilebot · 1 pointr/writing

Did you know Amazon will donate a portion of every purchase if you shop by going to instead? Over $50,000,000 has been raised for charity - all you need to do is change the URL!

Here are your smile-ified links:

On Writing Well

Elements of Style

Thrill Me

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft


^^i'm ^^a ^^friendly bot

u/nikofeyn · 1 pointr/writing

i highly recommend the book the anatomy of story. it is tailored towards writing a screenplay, but the advice inside transcends the medium of story.

in my opinion, you can learn both the mechanics of grammar and writing and the mechanics of writing a story, but the latter is where it's really at. everyone writes because they have a story to tell. this story can be fiction, non-fiction, something in between, biographical, etc., but there's a story in there, and as a writer, it's your job, and likely your inner calling, to bring that story out and present it to your audience. learn to tell a good story and the mechanics of writing will follow.

u/charugan · 9 pointsr/writing

It isn't a website, but Strunk and White is an incredibly valuable resource for any writer.

u/Veeks · 1 pointr/writing

Eats, Shoots and Leaves is both hilarious and educational. Highly recommend.

u/mariedirsa · 9 pointsr/writing

Story - That it's focused on screenwriting is almost irrelevant. The information in this on story structure is astounding.
45 Master Characters - This is character development down to the nth degree.

u/boxingmantis · 1 pointr/writing

Style guides are helpful for final polishing, but I don't recommend people use them on a manuscript in development. I was impressed with this book out for revision work.

u/AidenJDrake · 1 pointr/writing

Plot and Structure By James Scott Bell: Far and away one of the best book I've ever read on writing.

I actually just started Techniques of the Selling Writer by Swain, which I have heard great things about but I haven't read far enough to give my own opinion.

u/Doctor_Island · 1 pointr/writing

There's such a thing as being too loose, and there's such a thing as being too tight. Some people just start writing with page one and have to do 50 drafts because their story keeps shifting under their feet. You're having the opposite problem. You want to plot out a story mechanically and there's no organic growth.

I'm confident if you just started writing your ideas would evolve and grow. Adding detail and action will that do that on it's own. But maybe you should learn a bit about organic story development first. I recommend The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. It will help you work through all of your ideas in a process so that they can grow and develop.

u/Brometheus24 · 1 pointr/writing

First off, it's really awesome that you're starting at a young age!

For grammar and style, this is the go-to for me and most of the writers I know:

For prose and fiction writing in general, check this one out:

I will say that there are moments in The Art of Fiction where the writer, John Gardner, has some very snobby opinions about types of fiction he doesn't like (genre fiction, mostly). But, ignoring those moments, it's a great resource.

u/sdbest · 1 pointr/writing

Treat yourself to On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser. It's not only one of the finest books on writing nonfiction, it's also a damn good read. That means the book itself is a case study in writing well. I see a previous person made this recommendation, too.

u/slothful_writing · 11 pointsr/writing

I have a lot of random things I've bookmarked. In addition to the others listed here:
Synonyms for the word very
FoxType editor, similar to Hemingway
Directly access FoxType thesaurus
Interesting application that generates a kind of word-cloud of the most commonly used adjectives in relationship to a noun
Reverse dictionary
Emotional synonyms

There are also some thesauruses that I bought from Amazon for specific things that I really find useful. Two that I use most often are:

Urban Settings
Emotional Thesaurus

u/komodokid · 2 pointsr/writing

I feel ya, I bought the "Emotion Thesaurus" because i was struggling with this. It made me realize I was creating flat, emotionless dynamics between characters because I just didn't know how to express it other than in dialogue.

Honestly the only way to work through that is to experiment. Like try write a scene with an obvious emotional arc, something easy to work with and cliché and on the nose. You kind of get a feel for it as you progress, and then you can work with nuance and hidden motives and overlapping emotions (still working on that myself). It's just one of many tools in the writer's toolbox, but it's critical, without the emotional development and progression, no one cares.

One great piece of advice i read and shared recently (and promptly forgot the source) was that to explore emotions in fiction, a great strategy is to show thought processes. Like rather than "Joan was sad about losing her dog" you could work with "Joan realized she may never find a dog like the one she had lost. Was it her fault? Was she a bad master?" and explore the emotions with self-reflection and introspective inner monologues etc.

u/CorvidaeSF · 6 pointsr/writing

Yeah, the Pixar list and a similar work--Invisible Ink--helped train me to "see" meta-structure in storytelling in my work and others. This was important groundwork for when I eventually buckled down and read Robert McKee's Story, which itself is the groundwork for many of these digested lists. But they were all important for me in the overall learning process and learning to abstract and adapt them to my own work.

u/timoteostewart · 3 pointsr/writing

I found Stephen King's On Writing to be enormously motivating and educational.

u/ajdzis · 2 pointsr/writing

The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell sounds like what you're looking for. While it's not a "how to" guide, the book is an artfully written exploration of mythology, psychology, and the concept of "monomyth" -- universal symbolism and meaning structures across cultures and time-periods. It also guided/inspired Star Wars.

edit: lined to book

u/SceneOne · 1 pointr/writing

Save The Cat by Blake Snyder (Technically for movie writing, but a ton of tricks and tips that would help any writer.)

Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker

Stephen King: On Writing By Stephen King

u/Psyladine · 1 pointr/writing

Sol Stein recommends the opposite as well: examine crap to identify what doesn't work. Since that sentiment is mirrored in our sister profession, I'd call that a good tip.

u/DogKama · 2 pointsr/writing

One of the best books I ever read was Stephen King: On Writing, and what he said about dialogue stuck with me. Basically, he said take your characters and throw them into a room/situation and just watch them.


u/cakemonster · 1 pointr/writing

It's not specific to blogging but I think you'll be very well served by reading William Zinsser's "On Writing Well."