Essentials
Essentials

Why All the Genres?

I have run into a form of this question several times now since we have opened the site. People understand, of course, why we do all the genres, but they don’t understand why that is a good thing for them, in particular. “I write cozy mystery. Why do I care about a dark fantasy guide?” It’s actually a good question, with two answers. First of all, there is something to be learned from every genre. No matter what genre you write, you can write it better by borrowing aspects of other genres. I write primarily fantasy, but I studied thrillers...

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Narrowcasting and Newsletters

Originally, I intended to write about Newsletters as a thing, but realized as I sat down that I needed to back up a step and talk about what I think is the future of indie publishing. That turned into a whole series of thoughts on vocabulary—and you need a good solid grasp on words to understand how to work in this field—and I realized that I needed to start here. Broadcasting In the old days, everybody knew the term broadcasting. You transmitted a powerful radio signal that could be picked up at a significant distance by anybody with the right...

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Novelitist

Welcome to my review of Novelitist. I’m actually writing it in the software itself, which just tagged the word ”Novelitist” as a spelling error. Other than that, the site works really well. So well, in fact, that I’m considering using it for some of my writing in the near future. What Is Novelitist? It’s a writing tool for novelists. It also has short story and a few other formats, but it’s primarily designed for writers of long form fiction. Novelitist lives in the cloud, so you can log in from anywhere and get right to work on your next book,...

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Novel Writing — Revising

The thing you need to know about revising is not to fear it. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s necessary work and, when done right, can be both enjoyable and rewarding. The first trick I learned is to think about the etymology of the word revision: re – vision. You had a vision when you started the book and now you have a chance to envision it again. This is a time of polishing, of perfecting, of insuring your original vision is as pure and beautiful as it can be before sending it off to be read. Don’t...

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Novel Writing — The First Draft

Much of this section is from my book How to Write Fantasy Novels, Volume II: The First Draft, but I have edited it to ensure it is applicable to all genres of fiction. You’ve got an idea and you’ve begun to write. Now what? Now you write until the book is done. Would that it were so easy. But in a way, the best way to get the book done is to do whatever you can to just write. Don’t plan. Don’t think. Just write. In fact, a lot of the advice in this Essential will be centered around pushing...

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Novel Writing—Starting Elements

Before you start the Novel Writing Essential, it’s recommended you read Point of View and Tense from the Basic Writing Essentials. The concepts there combine with the starting elements here in powerful ways. After you finish, further reading includes The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. & E. B. White, Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, and Writing the Novel by Lawrence Block. Ideas that can serve as the starting point of a novel fall into a few main groups. You can start with more than one of them—in fact, it’s better if you do—but a novel can be...

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DS Amazon Quick View — A Vital (and free!) Chrome Extension

Tired of opening new tabs to see if a book is trad or self published? Fear not, DS Amazon Quick View is here to save you clicks, frustration, and time. Top 100 Amazon Bestsellers When doing market research, you’ll be spending a lot of time poring over the top selling books in the genres you’re investigating. And you want to spend most of your time looking at the independent books in that genre, as those are your competition, as well as your guide to what the readers want. But how to tell which of them are traditionally published and which...

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How to Use This Site

Welcome to Written Well. There’s a lot to see, so don’t be alarmed if you’re a little overwhelmed at first. That’s why we’ve put this guide together. Start With the Essentials If you look at the top menu, the leftmost item should be Essentials. This is where you’ll learn all the essential skills necessary to succeed as an independent author regardless of genre. It is split into four sections: It’s all pretty self-explanatory, but let’s break it down. General Skills and Knowledge has five articles on the core tenets of self-publishing. The mindset needed, as well as the many paths...

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Ergonomics for Writers

Ergonomics is the study of humans in their work environment. The part of it that matters to us is how it relates to keeping us healthy and safe and avoiding aches and pains and repetitive motion injuries. A comfortable writer is a productive writer, so don’t skimp on your office setup.  Everyone is comfortable in slightly different positions. So, before we get into the “correct” ways to work, let’s look at some general advice that should always trump whatever specific advice you get if the two are in conflict.   What The Experts Say  Correct ergonomics, according to the experts, means...

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General Novel Study Materials

Online Resources Plot Development Charts and Tips — from Writer’s Digest and author Jess Zafarris. Downloadable Worksheets — from Writer’s Digest and author Joseph Bates Salman Rushdie teaches storytelling and writing and Margaret Atwood teaches creative writing at Masterclass.com How to write a Fight Scene — by Rita Chang-Eppig Melissa Febos on Writing About Sex — “My whole practical thesis around the craft of writing a sex scene is this: it is exactly the same as any other scene.” 100 Tips That May or May Not Improve Your Writing — Caveat lector Books to Read Writing the Novel — Lawrence...

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