How to Prioritize Your Writing Projects and Ideas

how to prioritize your writing ideas

Get your writing ideas in order.

There are always too many writing ideas or not enough of them.

Some days, we writers are so overwhelmed with ideas, it’s impossible to get anything done. Should you work on your novel? That essay you’re writing for your favorite magazine? You have an original premise for a short story. And you feel a poem coming on.

Other days, we just can’t find any inspiration. Read More

Fiction Writing Exercises for Stimulating Creativity

fiction writing exercises

Stimulate your creativity with these fiction writing exercises.

Do you ever feel like the story you’re writing is bland? Like it needs to be spiced up? Or maybe you want to write a story but you’re fresh out of ideas.

Fiction writing exercises are perfect for toning your storytelling muscles. They can also provide you with a wealth of ideas for writing projects.

Today’s fiction writing exercises are designed to stimulate creativity and get you thinking about storytelling from fresh angles. Read More

Using Imagery in Poetry Writing

imagery poetry writing

How to use imagery effectively in poetry writing.

When we talk about imagery, we’re usually referring to visuals — whatever we can see with our eyes. In literary (and more specifically, poetry) terms, imagery is anything that represents a sensory experience, regardless of whether it’s experienced through the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or hands.

There are various types of imagery that we can use in poetry writing, including visual imagery (sight), auditory imagery (sound), olfactory imagery (smell), gustatory imagery (taste), and tactile imagery (touch).

Poets use all types of imagery to make a poem come alive, so readers can feel it, and not just emotionally. Read More

How to Identify the Protagonist in a Story

how to identify the protagonist

Can you identify the protagonist?

In most stories, the protagonist is obvious: Harry Potter, Lisbeth Salander, and Katniss Everdeen are unquestionably the protagonists of their respective stories. But sometimes the protagonist isn’t so obvious.

In some cases, a false protagonist is planted to intentionally mislead the audience, but the story later reveals another character to be the true protagonist. In other cases, primary characters get strong roles within a story, making the true protagonist difficult to suss out.

George R.R. Martin is beloved and infamous for killing off main characters in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, and readers are often mislead or confused about which character is the protagonist at any given moment in the epic historical fantasy tale.

If we’re not sure which character is the protagonist, how do we go about identifying the protagonist? Read More

Where Do Successful Authors Get Their Most Brilliant Writing Ideas?

Where do authors get their best writing ideas

Where do authors get their best writing ideas?

Do writing ideas just fall out of the sky? Is it reasonable to sit around waiting for a great idea to land on your lap, so you can write the next big bestseller?

I don’t think so.

When it comes to developing worthwhile writing ideas, it’s either feast or famine for most of us. Some writers have so many ideas, we can’t decide which one to pursue. Other writers struggle to find something worth writing about; they don’t have enough ideas.

And even if you have a compelling idea, the idea itself might not sustain a story or a poem. It’s not enough to have a concept: you need characters, settings, plots, subplots, and themes.

When writers are at a loss for ideas, they often self-diagnose with writer’s block. I believe that’s a misdiagnosis. People struggling with writer’s block aren’t at a loss for ideas. Many are merely dismissing their own good ideas (often because they aren’t perceived as original enough), or they don’t want to put a lot of effort into looking for ideas. I also think that poor health or stress are sometimes misread as writer’s block, in which case the only cure is to take better care of oneself.

However, for the rest of us who are struggling to find the right ideas, there’s no shortage of sources we can turn to for inspiration. Why not start at the top? Why not find out where some of the most successful authors have gotten their brilliant writing ideas? If that doesn’t inspire us, I don’t know what will. Read More

Breaking the Rules: When Good Grammar Goes Bad

good grammar

Do you break the rules of good grammar?

Today’s post is an excerpt from 10 Core Practices for Better Writing. Enjoy!

“And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do mighty deeds, to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before—and thus was the Empire forged.”
— Douglas Adams

Everyone knows the old saying: rules were made to be broken. But some people love rules, live by them, and wouldn’t dream of breaking them. For these folks, good grammar means strict adherence to every rule, no matter how archaic or minute.

That’s too bad.

Don’t get me wrong. Rules are good. They keep us organized, consistent, and civilized. If there were no rules, we’d all be living in a perpetual state of anarchy. Read More

A Few, Good Writing Tips to Keep You on Your Toes

good writing tips

A few good writing tips to keep you on your toes

Have you ever gotten stuck in a writing project, and just when your frustration reached its peak, you heard some bit of sage advice that helped you see how to move forward?

There aren’t many writing problems that a few good writing tips can’t solve. Whether you need to develop your voice or use fewer clichés, quick tips can contain exactly the wisdom you need.

I keep a file of quotes by authors so I can refer to their expertise when I need it. I also have several books, notebooks, and other documents filled with writing tips and techniques, and I like to review these every so often to see what I need to bring into my own work. In many cases, these tips are just quick reminders of all the lessons I’ve learned before. Read More

Fiction Writing Prompts for the Young Adult (YA) Genre

ya fiction writing prompts

Fiction writing prompts: young adult.

Young adult literature is one of the most exciting genres in fiction. Young people are bright, bold, and open-minded. More importantly, they’re going to shape the future. What they read matters.

Classic young adult books like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders, and Lord of the Flies tell entertaining stories populated with compelling characters, but these stories also highlight important social questions and issues.

Stories like Catcher in the Rye inspire introspection, and contemporary stories like The Hunger Games force readers to consider the future of humanity.

And who can forget what is possibly the oldest and most famous young adult story in Western culture: Romeo and Juliet, the classic tale of two star-crossed lovers who are destined for tragedy? Read More

10 Good Grammar Resources

writing resources grammar

Grammar resources for writers.

There’s good grammar and bad grammar, proper grammar and poor grammar. Some writers have fun with grammar and for others, grammar’s a bore. But in order to communicate effectively and for our writing to be professional (and publishable), we all need reliable grammar resources.

There is no grammar authority, no supreme court of grammar where judges strike down the gavel at grammar offenders. Grammar is not an exact science (in fact, it’s not a science at all), and even among the most educated and experienced linguists, the rules of grammar are heavily debated.

Of course, there are some basic rules we can all agree on, and these can found in any good grammar resource. There are gray areas, too, which are skillfully handled by style guides.

As writers, we need these resources. They help us use language effectively. Good grammar ensures that our work is readable. And we all know that bad grammar can make a piece of writing unreadable, unprofessional, and sloppy. Read More

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: The Great Debate

creative writing exercises

Creative writing exercises: the great debate.

Today’s post is from 101 Creative Writing Exercises. This exercise is from “Chapter 9: Philosophy, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving.” It’s called “The Great Debate.” Enjoy!

Logic, order, and organization are essential in clear and coherent writing, whether you’re telling a story or writing a poem. Critical thinking is a fundamental writing skill.

If a story doesn’t stand up to logic, or if a poem has holes in its philosophy, readers will become disenchanted. If a character does something outrageous but doesn’t have a reasonable motive, readers will become disengaged.

Writing requires foresight and analysis. We use what-if questions to create, and we use if-then arguments to substantiate everything we write. Read More