Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: writing help

“How to Write a Great Story: A Roundup of Best Advice”

Today is a re-blog day; but, official re-blogs can only be done from WordPress sites… Great Story Roundup

So, let’s pretend…

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve seen Jane Friedman here many times.

Here’s a “re-blog” of her intro to how to write a great story: A Roundup of Best Advice.
Jane says:

“Over the last five years, I’ve had the good fortune and privilege to feature storytelling advice from many bestselling authors, as well as editors and agents. Here’s a round-up of the best and most popular advice on writing craft and technique I’ve featured since 2011.”


New Writing Resources Community on Google Plus !

I’ve written before about my struggles with social media, the most intimate previous post being Social Networking and Insanity . . . back in September of 2011.

In that post I said:

“As I was digesting all the information about ‘building an author platform’—working to increase my ‘friends’ on FaceBook and my ‘followers’ on Twitter—I struggled with the lack of Relationship in the connections.

“I finally dumped FaceBook and Twitter, joined Google Plus. It didn’t take long to feel the struggle against what felt like wasted time.”

That was over a year ago

I recently added Twitter back but have only been leaving links and teasers to my blog posts there and on G+.

I’ve always thought G+ had the most potential for “Real” conversation but was still dismayed at the constant streaming of images and videos with little value for my tasks


Google Plus added Communities and I was invited to Writing Resources.

To interact with this Community you do need a Google Account but it’s free :-)

Here’s what Google says about G+:

“Google+ makes connecting on the web more like connecting in the real world. Share your thoughts, links and photos with the right circles. Use easy, spontaneous video chat to strike up conversations with as many as nine people at once. Get everyone on the same page with fast, simple group chat. We’re very excited about the new approach to sharing that we’ve created through Google+, but this is really just the beginning.”

The moderator of the Community is Rebecca Blain—do check out her blog >> On Writing.

One of the first things that impressed me about this Community was Rebecca’s dedication to removing postings that are merely “shameless promotion”—she works to make sure folks are sharing information writers can actually utilize—including the requests for help or insight about the challenges they’re having.

One of the best features of the Community is the way you can have all the postings appear or filter them into these categories:

Writing Tips
Recommend G+ Writers
Author Blogs
Scams / Writer Warnings
Editing / Editorial Services
Writing Supplies
World Building
Formatting for Publication
Writing Software
Querying Agents
Querying Houses
Researching Facts for Fiction
Traditional Publishing
Science Fiction

Another aspect of the Community I appreciate is this message to the members:

“Please do not link to (or post) your poetry, fiction writing, or non-fiction if it is not a writing resource. There are other communities dedicated to the sharing of specific fiction work. Writing Resources is a community dedicated to learning about the art of writing and sharing knowledge with other writers, no matter what length of story or genre type.

I’m sure I’ll be writing here again about this Community—linking to specific postings and sharing my feelings about being involved
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Writing Advice, Even from Well-Known Authors, Can Be “Dangerous” . . .

The word “dangerous” has the root meaning “power to harm”, based on the Latin dominus, “lord”.

How could advice from established authors “harm” a writer?

Primarily, I feel, by being accepted as hard and fast “rules” or “laws”.

For every “rule” in the books, some book of creative writing has successfully “broken” it :-)

Plus, I’ve weighed in a number of times here on the value and danger of writing advice

Maria Popova has been featured here a number of times and, due to her blog Brain Pickings, I’ll now give you links to a number of authors’ (and, one TV character’s) advice:

Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story

10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine

Jack Kerouac’s List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Prose and Life

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

Susan Sontag on Writing

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

What are your thoughts and feelings on “writing advice”?

What’s some of your own writing advice??
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Can A Science/Tech Guy Help Creative Writers?

sci/tech and writing The science/tech guy I’m talking about is David DiSalvo and the article I think can help creative writers is on the business site Forbes.

Even better, the article is called 10 Smart Things I’ve Learned from People Who Never Went to College

David sets the scene with these words:

“I grew up in an extended family of folks who for the most part didn’t attend college. Many of them were working full time before they left high school, and a few (like my father) went to night school after they’d already been working for a long time.  From an early age my perspective was steeped in wisdom from those who never went to college, but managed to live fulfilling lives just the same. ”

As usual, hoping you’ll take the link and read the whole article, I’ll give you only the descriptive titles of David’s 10 things I feel can help creative writers, with my brief comments:

1.  You can learn something useful from anyone.

For creative writers, this can certainly refer to Beta readers—expand your criteria for selecting them—you could get a pleasant surprise

2. If quality slips, it really doesn’t matter how good your ideas were.

Yep. The writer gets a Brilliant idea and fails to follow-through with the intense work it takes to turn it into a finished work

3. Don’t ever let a bully intimidate you – not even once.

Especially if that bully is in your own mind :-)

4. Reciprocity is the name of the relationship game and always will be.

Especially if you decide to self-publish and take on all the promotion work.

5. Learning is good; Doing is better.

Perhaps you should stop reading books about writing and take more time to write?

6. Kindness isn’t optional.

So broad, this advice—be kind in your judgements of your own writing, be kind to people who ask you how you write, be kind to those who don’t understand your dedication to a profession that seems to them like a waste of time………

7. You can survive anything (assuming it doesn’t physically kill you).

Why, perchance, this even means you can survive negative criticism and reviews :-)

8. Get a dog.

Or a cat, or a lizard, or a monkey, or get on deep and intimate terms with your Muse

9. Money is important, but experience is invaluable.

Very personal take on this one—accept a low-income position that doesn’t tax you so you can write, write, write.

10. Just be ready.

And, how do you get “ready”? Write, write, write :-)

O.K., now I’m hoping you’ll go read David’s article and come back here and share in the comments which of his bits of advice meant the most to you
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Do People Know That You Write?

Everyone writes, at least a little—just because we have to—if only to sign our name at times.

Some folks write a lot, on purpose and on deadline—usually as freelancers, concocting what others want.

Then, there are the “creative writers”—some very business-like, some way around the bend of normality.

Another “class” of writer is the person who isn’t writing yet, or has done a little and wonders if they’ll ever get back to it.

I call someone who hasn’t done much more than sign checks, yet would like to write a lot more, a writer because so much of creative writing happens before, and in between, pen on paper or fingers on keys.

Writing, in a deeply important sense, is all about what’s inside the writer. What ends up outside the writer, as a book or a series of essays, is quite often felt by the writer as no longer “theirs”—sometimes to the point where they actually say it came from “beyond them”

So, sliding back to the point of this post: If you’re a creative writer, even if all the words are still inside, do other people know you’re a writer?

If they don’t, why haven’t you told them?

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim wrote a guest post for Nathan Bransford back in May called, Do You Tell People You Write?.

The kind of responses Teralyn chronicles from those who’ve been told she’s a writer could be the major reason many people never utter a word about an activity they invest in with heart and soul

If I copied them here, I’d be “stealing” nearly her whole post—do go read it, but only if you can answer yes to more than one of these questions:

If you’ve told folks you write, do you most often wish you hadn’t?

If you haven’t told folks you write, is it because you fear the reaction you might get?

Is there a particular person you revealed your writing to who made you wonder about your sanity?

Is there a particular person you haven’t told your secret to who you think would love to know?

Do you feel you’re a writer even though you’ve never put the words and ideas inside you on paper or screen?

By the way, there’s no penalty for answering one of those questions in our comments :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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