NaNoWriMo – What It Is and Why You Should Join In

If you’re an aspiring novelist, but have yet to write your masterpiece, you might want to consider joining in with NaNoWriMo. Say what? NaNoWriMo is short for “National Novel Writing Month” (though, technically, it’s international). Every November, writers around the world join in a fiction-writing frenzy, aiming to produce a 50,000 word novel in just … Read more

Collaborative Fiction: Writing and Gaming Online

I’ve been thinking recently about the ways in which writing and gaming are mingled online, after a Daily Writing Tips reader wrote in to introduce us to a site which he and his brother have recently launched, called “Vote Pages”. This site aims to make the writing process both collaborative and game-like: A votepage is … Read more

Dialogue Writing Tips

Some writers love dialogue. They find that they have a natural ear for how different characters speak, and that the dialogue races along, carrying the story with it. Others struggle over every word of a dialogue-heavy scene, feeling that the characters sound stiff and unlifelike. Fortunately, there’s a huge amount of great advice on writing … Read more

Writing An Effective Fiction Query

I’d rather write a 60,000 word novel than a one-page query letter, but I know that a query letter is my chief tool for winning the attention of a literary agent. Here are some things to consider when pitching your novel in a query letter. Keep It Brief One page is best. Two pages are … Read more

A Novel IS Fiction

I’ve noticed that some people talk about “fiction novels.” A novel IS fiction. One can talk about writing a novel OR about writing fiction. To combine the two is to wear a belt with suspenders. (Another example of reluctance to let the word do the work.) In writing terms, fiction is any non-factual narrative composition. … Read more

Publishing Horror Stories

Want to know which mistakes to avoid? Here’s a publisher’s perspective. In the latest issue of Publishing Basics, Carolyn Madison reveals some of the errors that make publishers cringe.  These include misspellings, poor grammar and punctuation, structural problems, ambiguous messages and inaccurate content. They have a nice list of the always common misspelled words also: … Read more

How Short Can You Go? 50 to 100 Word Stories

How short can a “short story” be? Merriam-Webster just defines it as “shorter than a novel”, telling us that a short story is: an invented prose narrative shorter than a novel usually dealing with a few characters and aiming at unity of effect and often concentrating on the creation of mood rather than plot Most … Read more

How and Where to Publish Your Short Stories

One reader asks: “What advice would you give to someone who has bags of passion and loves life and just happens to have lots of stories and would like to know how to publish or where to publish?” I’m really glad this reader writes from the heart. A short story which is meaningful to you, … Read more

Keeping a Writers’ Notebook

If you’ve ever had aspirations towards fiction-writing, you’ve doubtlessly heard the advice to keep a notebook on you at all times, to jot down those elusive flashes of brilliance that come at the most inopportune moments. It’s definitely a good idea to have pen and paper to hand as much as possible – however, the … Read more

Using Writing Bursts to Generate Ideas and Enthusiasm

Many of us want to write fiction but rarely manage to get round to it. We struggle to find a free hour to write in – or the energy to write. Doing writing bursts is a great way to get going when time is short and motivation flagging. What is a writing burst? I came … Read more

A Writer Can be Anyone or Anything

I attended a writers’ workshop session at which a minor, but much-published author warned participants against creating POV (point of view) characters of the opposite sex. According to her writing philosophy, a woman writer should create only female POV characters and men, male POV characters. That’s not to say that the POV characters can’t interact … Read more

Street Slang For Scriptwriting

If you’re writing a script, one way that you can bring it to life is to let your characters speak in current street slang. That’s the advice from the creators of Raindance, which promotes independent film in the UK. They have suggested a number of current slang phrases to give your characters some street cred. … Read more