Five Simple Tips for Conquering Creative Burnout

You’re excited about your novel idea. You want to write it, and you know you should be working on it, but life keeps getting in the way. When you do have time to write, you find yourself too physically and mentally exhausted. Burnt out to a crisp.

No matter where you are in life, you likely balance so many commitments that coming home to stare at a computer screen after a long day of school or work can seem like just another chore. Taking a break feels counterintuitive. Doesn’t that make the problem worse? How can taking a break from your passion prove refreshing?

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How To Structure Compelling Scenes

Every phenomenal story unfolds in a series of scenes. 

If each scene in a book is a link in a chain, one weak link can threaten the overall power of a story. By learning how to craft better, more compelling scenes — scenes that are irresistible in their interest and emotional pull — we learn how to craft better, more compelling stories. But what exactly makes for a spellbinding, well-structured scene?

To answer that question, we must first ask another...

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Seven Tips for Submitting Your Fiction For Publication

Over the past two years, I’ve been working towards turning my obsession with writing into a serious business.

During that time, I’ve developed several strategies and techniques that may benefit other writers, particularly new or emerging writers who haven’t yet developed writing systems of their own. Are you eager to get serious about your writing business as well? You can use the following strategies together or separately to increase both your confidence and word count:

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Feel like you're falling behind in your writing life?


As someone who blogs about writing fiction, I’m often asked about the fiction I write. 
How are your projects coming along? What kind of stories do you write? Are you published yet? Where can I find your books online? 

I’m always honored and encouraged when someone expresses interest in my work, but I’ll be honest: as a sort of public writing figure, I often feel a lot of pressure to excel in my personal storytelling, and that pressure can weigh heavy. When confronted with the fact that I haven’t yet published my work, that pressure compounds until I fear that I’m falling behind in my writing life.

This is a reality that I’ve dealt with for years, but now I’m gratified to realize that all the hard work I’ve put into owning my slow and steady approach to the craft has helped me build confidence in my creative journey. If, for any reason, you’ve also wondered whether you’re failing to live up to your creative potential, I’d like to share some of the hard truths I’ve learned with you today.

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Five Tips & Four Myths About Preparing To Edit Fiction

Editing a short story or novel is its own craft, using a separate skill set from writing. It’s a different approach and needs a different mindset. This isn’t to say that editing can’t be creative; it’s creating solutions to problems. Through editing, you’ll identify problems in your story and figure out the best solutions.

As you make the mental shift from writing to editing, you have to be able to look at your own work with a level of objectiveness in order to make your story the best it can be. In this post, I’d like to offer suggestions to help you gain perspective on your manuscript.

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How to Beat Writer's Block

Writer’s block is a fancy-schmancy term for getting stuck. It is a misnomer, and it's time we take our power back and beat writer's block together.

Writers, being somewhat eccentric and moody, vulnerable to imaginary worlds and people that actually exist in their work, accidentally gave getting stuck power when they named it "writer's block." In the words of Mike Wazowski of Monsters Inc., "You're not supposed to name it. Once you name it, you start getting attached to it." Seriously, it's like naming the stray kitten you found on the street.

And getting stuck happens in all areas of life. People get stuck on how to decorate a room, how to build a storage unit, how to bake a cheese soufflé, what to do with that stray kitten on the street…

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How to Utilize Motifs In Your Fiction

Motifs can serve several powerful purposes in storytelling.

Yet because motifs are often discussed in literary and academic circles, many genre-fiction writers fail to explore the potential of this powerful literary device — but literary devices aren’t for literary writers alone. Flashbacks, foreshadowing, mood, imagery, metaphor, and suspense are all literary devices that, among other examples, are commonly employed by genre and literary writers alike.

How, then, can all writers utilize motifs to strengthen the quality of their storytelling? Let’s dive deep into this topic today, writers!

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Seven Submission Tips From a Literary Agent’s Slush Pile

I’m an aspiring author. That means that every day I write, edit, query, and write some more. It means I attend conferences, network, and sit in crowded rooms “speed dating” with agents, hoping that one will choose to represent my work.

I’m also a Literary Agent Intern. That means that I watch as other people are chosen for representation while I keep querying each and every day. It means that I slog through hundreds of emails a month from the slush pile, hoping I can make another author’s dreams come true. It also means that I see the realities behind publication — that it takes work, grit, and a willingness to accept a few honest truths.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned while playing on both sides of the publishing fence:

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An Easy Outlining Method for Writers Who Don't Enjoy Planning

My personal journey as a writer has been a lonely and meandering one.

For as long as I can remember, a thousand fantastic worlds have lived in my head, the safe places I went when the real world was too painful or quiet to bear. About the time I began to understand myself as an individual, around eleven or twelve, I started writing down these worlds and the stories that took place in them. It was a carefully guarded secret, something that only happened when the mood struck.

As one might expect with such an organic and aimless writing practice, progress was slow. In retrospect, I realize that I was attempting to write about five stories under the guise of one. When I grew frustrated with the inconsistencies and difficulty in plot progression, I split this one story into three set at three different times within the same world, which, sadly, did nothing to clean up the confusion.

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Can You Really Make a Living Writing Fiction?

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of research on how one can make a living with their writing.

It’s my aim in 2019 to publish my first non-fiction book, Build Your Best Writing Life, which is the first step in transforming my creative business model from a focus on digital information products to one that’s built on publishing. Needless to say, I’ve been learning a lot as I’ve researched, and though I’m currently focused on non-fiction publishing, most of what I’ve learned applies to fiction writers as well.

If, like me, you’ve often wondered if you can truly make a living with your writing, then buckle in, my friend. Today, I’m breaking down a few common myths about what a writing career looks like, sharing whether (and how!) it’s possible to make a living publishing fiction, and doling out the questions you should ask to determine if pursuing a career in writing is right for you. Shall we dive in?

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Eight Ways Writers Can Combat Imposter Syndrome

I have a confession to make: I often feel like a fraud.

Despite knowing full well that I’m not, I frequently fear that someday I’ll be called out for not being a “real” writer. It doesn’t matter how many articles I publish, how many page views the blog receives, how many resources I create, or how hard I’m working to write and revise my books, both fiction and non-fiction, for release. No amount of progress or success has kept me from feeling like an imposter.

Can you commiserate? Here’s the good news: we’re far from the only writers who struggle with Imposter Syndrome. In fact, this common phenomenon is prevalent in the creative community, especially among those looking to make a living from their writing. 

Despite its near everyday reality in my life, I refuse to allow Imposter Syndrome to keep me from achieving my personal definition of writing success. I’ve been working hard to overhaul my mindset and to adopt both offensive and defensive techniques to combat Imposter Syndrome. And today, writer, I’m eager to help you do the same…

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Eight Things to Consider When Working In a New Creative Medium

In February of 2019, I began drafting my very first book on writing.

Called Build Your Best Writing Life, this book presents a roadmap to becoming the writer you long to be, breaking down how you can forge a healthy creative mindset and writing practice, harness tools for intentional growth, and map your way to the writing life you long to lead. As of writing this, I’m well into the drafting process and cannot wait to share the book with you later this year.

Being as I’ve been writing non-fiction here at Well-Storied for several years, I didn’t imagine that diving into my first full-length non-fiction project would be that big of a leap. Turns out, I was wrong. Oh, so terribly wrong… And that’s exactly why I want to share the hard lessons I’ve already learned about working in a new creative medium here with you today.

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How to Improve Your Editing With Scrivener's Linguistic Focus

Looking to improve the ease of editing a project?

If you’d like to strengthen your verb usage, refine your story’s dialogue, cut unnecessary adjectives, or otherwise hone in on a specific part of speech in your project, Scrivener’s Linguistic Focus feature is a lifesaver. With a simple click, Linguistic Focus highlights the chosen part of speech in your text, allowing you to easily make necessary changes and simplify your editing process.

Pretty awesome, right? Let's break down this epic Scrivener function in today's video lesson and transcript, which are excerpted from our video tutorial course, Storytelling With Scrivener. Click here to learn more about the course today!

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How to Craft Static Character Arcs For Your Novel

A character arc follows the inner journey a character undergoes throughout a story.

In most cases, we think of character arcs as being transformative. A protagonist overcomes a fear or flaw in an effort to achieve their goal, or an anti-hero finds themselves falling victim to their darkest doubts and desires. But what about those arcs in which no transformation takes place? Is a character arc lacking in development if the character remains the person they are when their story began?

Not at all, writer — or, at least, not necessarily. When crafted with intention, this type of arc can tell a powerful inner story. Today on the blog, let’s take the time to break down the major beats that bring this static arc to life.

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How to Craft Negative Character Arcs For Your Novel


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote an article on character arcs.

In that article, I explained the importance of developing character arcs in your stories, established the three arcs found in fiction, and broke down the eleven major beats that comprise the most popular of the three: positive change arcs. I also asked if you’d be interested in similar breakdowns of the remaining two styles, negative change arcs and flat arcs, and your answer was a resounding yes.

Despite this, I found myself caught up in other articles and topics and failed to circle back around — until now, that is. Today, I’m excited to delve into the dark descent of negative change arcs with you all, soon to be followed by an article on flat arcs as well. Have a character for whom a bittersweet or tragic ending is in order? This is the article for you, writer.

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Exploring Genre Conventions & Expectations (a #StorySocial recap)


Are you looking to spend dedicated time each week engaging with an awesome group of fellow writers?
 

Look no further than the #StorySocial chat. I host this hour-long Twitter event every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern with writers from around the world, and it's an absolute blast. This week, we explored genre conventions and expectations. Missed out? Catch all the highlights from this week’s chat in the recap below!

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Exploring Three Ways to Structure Your Book Series

I’ve always been drawn to book series, both as a reader and a writer.

Perhaps it’s the depth a series can achieve, allowing for rich and expansive storytelling, or simply because I long to spend more time with the characters I love. From a career standpoint, series also offer authors the opportunity to build upon their backlists with related works, encouraging book sales as readers return for more of what captivated them in book one.

Think you may like to write a book series of your own? It’s important to note that not all series are created equal. In fact, there are three distinct ways you can structure a book series, and understanding which structure is right for your stories and career goals is key to setting yourself up for series success. Today, let’s break down these structures together.

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Livening Up One-Dimensional Characters (a #StorySocial recap)


Are you looking to spend dedicated time each week engaging with an awesome group of fellow writers?
 

Look no further than the #StorySocial chat. I host this hour-long Twitter event every Wednesday at 9pm Eastern with writers from around the world, and it's an absolute blast. This week, we talked about livening up one-dimensional characters. Missed out? Catch all the highlights from this week’s chat in the recap below!

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How Critical Reading Can Improve Your Writing

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 

When I first read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, this quote cut me to the bone. I wanted desperately to stake my claim on the title of writer, but I wasn’t doing much to set myself up for success. I wrote here and there and maybe read a book or two, but I felt myself too hindered by all of life’s demands to truly pursue what it took to write a novel.

In truth, I had plenty of time to read, write, and improve my writing skills, but making the time to actively work toward our creative goals is a topic for another day. Today, I want to focus on why it’s so important to read with a critical eye. After all, doing so may just be the key to coming into your own as a writer.

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