How Writing Creative Essays Can Improve Your Fiction (with guest writer Piers Golden)

Hello, writers! Kristen here. Today, I'm thrilled to welcome fellow writer Piers Golden to the blog.

 

Piers is currently a master's student in journalism at NYU, and today he's here to share the many ways in which writing creative non-fiction essays can prove to be a fresh way to exercise your fiction writing skills.

If you enjoy his article, make sure to connect with Piers and check out some of his other articles over on Facebook. Now, without any further ado, I'll let Piers take over his discussion on today's topic!

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Let's discuss book marketing! (a #StorySocial chat recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. Never heard of it?

#StorySocial is the weekly chat I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern on Twitter. Each week, dozens of writers get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked all about how to market our books—and enjoy the process, too!

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? No worries. I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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What is external conflict? (a breakdown of the four main types + tips for weaving it into your story!)

Conflict drives narrative.

As humans, our curiosity piques when two forces oppose one another. “What is happening?”, we ask. Why are these two forces at odds? How will the conflict play out? Who will win? What would I do if I were in that situation?

These are the questions readers ask, more or less subconsciously, as they read. Which means they’re also exactly the kinds of questions writers should ask themselves when crafting plots for their stories.

In stories, as in life, there are two types of conflict: internal and external. Internal conflicts are the mental, emotional, or spiritual struggles a person faces—Character vs Self—which we’ll talk about on the blog soon!

Today, however, we’re going to focus on the second type of struggle: external conflict. Shall we dive into the breakdown? 

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How to Edit Your Story For Success (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how to build fictional societies as part of the world-building process.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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5 Ways to Frame Your Story

You have a story idea, and you’re ready to write. But have you thought much about how you’ll frame your story?

Subjective storytelling is the framework most commonly found in modern literature, and it's perhaps the most obvious way writers think to tell their stories. With a subjective framework, writers utilize a limited point-of-view (i.e. the story is told solely via the main character's thoughts and experiences) to immerse readers in the main character’s journey.

But this style of storytelling isn’t the only way in which you can frame your story for success. What are your other options, and which is best for your novel? Let’s break down five alternative frameworks today!

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How to Plot Your Story For Success (a #StorySocial chat recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how to build fictional societies as part of the world-building process.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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How do we write in times of strife?

When the evening news is overwhelming, when injustice reigns and life reads like conflict straight out of a history book, how do we find the mental and emotional space to write?

This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit in recent months, but more so than ever following the events of Charlottesville this August. When a few blog readers expressed similar sentiments on Twitter, I knew it was time to unpack this topic to the best of my ability.

Writing in times of strife may seem insignificant or impossible, but nothing could be further from the truth. Your stories matter, and they are needed. Here are my best tips for bringing them to life when the world is in turmoil...

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How does reading help writers grow? (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how to build fictional societies as part of the world-building process.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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5 Ways Writers Can Stay Creative (beyond simply writing + reading!)


As writers, writing and reading are obviously the two best ways to fuel our creativity.

But reading and writing aren't the only ways we can stay on top of our creative game. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that you aren't truly maximizing your creativity if you aren't staying active in other areas of your life.

What fuels an artists' work will be different for each of us, but in this week's #FridayFive, I'm sharing five ways that I encourage creativity in my own life outside of simply writing and reading in the hopes that these steps may prove helpful to you as well.

Ready to dive in? Scroll to read a written recap or check out my #FridayFive video below (or over on Youtube---don't forget to subscribe!).

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Worldbuilding, Part Two: Crafting Fantastical Elements (a #StorySocial recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how to build fictional societies as part of the world-building process.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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What are your writing strengths? (it's high time we celebrated them!)

As writers, we often spend a lot of time dissecting and criticizing our work.

We're also no strangers to doubts and insecurities, as we discussed in last week's video and blog post. But just how often do we acknowledge or even relish in what we're doing well? Friends, it's well past time we started celebrating our writing strengths!

Today, I challenge you to think about where your writing strengths lie---and then share them with the world. You can do so in a blog post or a video, in the comments below this article, or over on social media. Wherever you feel most comfortable.

So, are you up to the challenge?

Don't worry, I'll kick things off by sharing a few of my own writing strengths first. You can can catch them in today's video below or over on Youtube, or you can scroll to read through a written summary. Let's go!

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Tips for Building a Fictional Society (a #StorySocial recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how to build fictional societies as part of the world-building process.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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How to Write a Trilogy: Q&A Session!


Who’s ready to talk trilogies?

Hello, writer, and welcome back to the third and (possibly?) final installment of our blog miniseries on crafting trilogies. 

In the first article, we broke down the three basic types of trilogies and four ways you can plot your own. We then picked up in article two with a breakdown of the many different ways you can craft character arcs for your trilogy, but we’re not stopping there!

When I was first asked to write an article on trilogies, I knew I wanted to talk about plot and character arcs, but many of you also had related questions and concerns. Because many of those concerns couldn’t quite fill out articles of their own, I’ve decided to tackle them today in a blog Q&A session. 

Ready to dive in?

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What are your writing insecurities? Here are a few of my own!


Every writer has doubts. Fears. Insecurities.

But in a world where we share the very best version of ourselves online, the version we want others to see, it can be difficult to remember that the writers we follow on social media aren't perfect. Not even the bestselling ones.

I'm certainly no exception to this reality. I have a bevy of insecurities that often weigh down my writing life, but I'm tired of letting the pressure to live up to other writers' online highlight reels dictate my confidence in my writing.

Insecurities are normal, and they don't have to keep you from living your very best writing life. That's why I'm sharing my own writing insecurities today! Check them out in the video below or scroll to view them in text.

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How Can Music Inspire Our Stories? (a #StorySocial recap)


Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about how music can inspire our stories.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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My Top 5 Tips for Finishing Your First Draft


Happy Friday, friends!

Today on Youtube, I'm kickstarting a brand new series called #FridayFive. Each week, I'll share a list of five random facts, tips, favorites, pet peeves, etc. related to writing or reading. I may do some get-to-know-me and/or Q&A #FridayFive's, as well!

I'm also currently trying to steer my channel toward a better balance of writing- and reading-related content since I've been pretty heavy on the reading videos lately.

My current plan is to crosspost any writing-related videos here on the blog with a recap or a transcript of the video, but if you want to check out my bookish videos too, make sure to head on over to my channel and subscribe!

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How to Utilize Clothing as a Powerful Storytelling Tool (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about food in fiction and why it can serve as a powerful storytelling tool.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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How to Craft Character Arcs for Your Trilogy

Welcome back to our blog miniseries on crafting trilogies!

In last week’s article, we introduced the series and covered a few trilogy basics, including the three main types of trilogies and four ways you can plot your own. But focusing on plot alone won’t help you write a successful trilogy. 

Today, we’re going to turn our attention to character arcs—specifically, the four types of character arcs you can utilize as you map out the inner conflict and development of your trilogy’s characters. Sound like a plan?

Make sure to check out part one of our blog miniseries before getting started, then come on back to dive into the wonderful world of character arcs below!

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Food in Fiction: Why You Should Write About Food in Your Stories (a #StorySocial recap)

Hello, friends! Time for another #StorySocial recap. In case you're new here (or if you've just yet to hear about our chats), allow me to cue you in: #StorySocial is the weekly Twitter chat that I host every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern.

Each week we get together for about an hour to chat about a fun writerly topic. This past Wednesday, we talked about food in fiction and why it can serve as a powerful storytelling tool.

Did you miss out? Couldn't make it? Forgot all about it? No worries! I'm sharing a recap of this week's chat below. Check it out!

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4 Ways to Plot a Trilogy

Are you interested in writing a trilogy?

From The Lord of the Rings to The Hunger Games and beyond, it’s plain to see that trilogies stand the test of time among readers. But writing a trilogy? Well, that can be tough!

A good trilogy must hook readers and keep them engaged, maintain good pacing and consistency, and steadily increase in tension toward an epic series climax. Mapping that out? Well, it’s certainly a tall order. No wonder so many authors find the task of writing such a trilogy daunting!

Recently, one of my lovely Patreon supporters asked if I had any tips or tricks for planning a trilogy, and I was shocked to realize I hadn’t yet written any articles on the subject. But better late than never, right?

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to break down the process of crafting a trilogy in depth so you can better plan your own. What’s on today’s agenda? An overview of the common styles of trilogy and the plot structures behind them. Let’s dive in!

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