Writing Advice

There's no better way to get writing advice, than from other writers!

Have you learned something helpful about writing based on your experience? Share it here. Need to ask a question to fellow writers? Drop it here!

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  1. writercat383

    I like to write my story using either Word, Wordpad, or Google Docs before submitting it to the site. However, those writing apps have different formats so if you’re doing this kind of thing, make sure you reread every sentence of your story once you’ve pasted it into a story on Underlined, just to make sure that it fits the Underlined writing format, in which you cannot remove paragraph spacing, change the fonts or font sizes, etc., before uploading your story to the public.

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  2. LilyRavenclaw

    If anyone is trying to develop a character two things I do:
    1. write a draft to yourself that wouldn’t necessarily be part of the story, about what the character always carries around with him/her in their pocket. Something that would be essential to him/her personally; for example a “lucky penny”, or a pocket watch from his/her grandfather, that the reader wouldn’t necessarily know about.
    2. Write a list of like twenty things the reader would never know about the character. Maybe things the character liked to do, toys they liked to play with or places the character liked to go when he/she was younger. Maybe their middle name or their favorite movie. These things will help arc the character and will naturally bleed into his/her development in your story.

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    Reply 1 Reply Oct 10, 2019
    1. unikyky25

      Cool! Good advice!

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      Reply 0 Replies Oct 10, 2019
  3. IsaiahDurrin

    How do you properly flush out ideas? I have some frankly fantastic ideas, but I can’t seem to actually build upon the most basic base idea. Tips?

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    Reply 0 Replies Oct 10, 2019
  4. unikyky25

    Hey guys!
    Any tips on how to make a story longer, like long enough to publish etc? I would really appreciate ANY advice! Thanks!
    -unikyky25

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    Reply 2 Replies Oct 10, 2019
    1. sofiapierce3

      Ok, my advice is this:
      Don’t try to force your story to be long; it shows, and it draws away the reader. So try to make en-lengthening your story natural. Some topics you can focus on and write a lot about are your characters emotions, your setting, building up your character. Just make sure your info/description doesn’t repeat!
      Also, try adding more interesting events, just don’t overdo it and lose your stories meaning.
      I’m don’t write long stories anymore, but I published 1 book, and remember, if you are very passionate about your topic, you can write on and on and on and on about it! Good Luck!

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      Reply 1 Reply Oct 10, 2019
      1. unikyky25

        Awesome, thanks!

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        1. sofiapierce3

          Just was wondering, are you planning on publishing a book? (You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to)

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          1. unikyky25

            I want to, but I don’t know if I can!!! 😀
            I’m about 1/3 of the way through a story I want to get published, but I only have around 3000-4000 words…

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          2. sofiapierce3

            Cool

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    2. luvbooks4evr

      This can be hard, because you have to add words, but you can’t really have unnecessary parts. I think you could try add a scene, like if it’s a romance book, put in a part about the character fantasising about their love interest. Or if it’s a mystery, put in an area with an extra clue or something.

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      Reply 1 Reply Oct 10, 2019
      1. unikyky25

        Thanks guys!

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  5. Maggie_Gebhart

    In my novel, I seem to be having a problem with backstory. I have a character that has a LOT of history (like so much that I could write another short novel) that is important to what is happening in the present. How do I present all of this history in the right way?

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    Reply 1 Reply Jun 6, 2019
    1. luvbooks4evr

      You could have a chapter in the present, and the next chapter in that characters past, like a flashback. But, if it’s super important and needs to be told directly before something in the present happens, start a new paragraph as a flashback or a memory

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      Reply 1 Reply Jul 7, 2019
      1. writercat383

        Another idea is to insert a comment or word or sentence or something that someone says into the story (wherever you need it) that will confuse unknowing readers and tempt them to learn more about the character’s backstory. From there you can add a little history and then continue the scene or conversation.

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  6. duskfall_warrior

    I found the best things for creating your world is to ask yourself why does it happen? and is it necessary for the story I want to tell? Using these two questions you can shave off distracting additions to your world you want because they are cool. However just because they aren’t important to the world doesn’t mean they can’t make a cameo in it just to show there is more to the world than what you initially present. If you want to read the prologue to my fantasy story its on this site under the name towerfall.

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    Reply 0 Replies Apr 4, 2019
  7. Tamsyn

    All, I can write is the beginning, the story gets really bad as I go along. I NEED YOU GUYS FOR TIPS.

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    Reply 2 Replies Mar 3, 2019
    1. luvbooks4evr

      STOP! You have to take a break from writing, and plan the rest of the story. I know sometimes that may feel boring and useless but it helps. Other times, you’ll actually find it’s really fun thinking up the possibilities

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    2. writercat383

      A fun thing to help with this is to carry around a little “author’s notepad”, which is basically just a little book where you can jot down great story ideas as they come to you. Then later, when you have time to sit down and write, and/or are in a writing mood, you can pull out your author’s notepad and find a preferred idea. Then add all the smaller things, in between main ideas and large plot stuff. You know what I mean!

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  8. MissSoph

    Was wondering if anyone knew how to keep persevering with stories (I have a new idea every day, and all I can get out is a beginning…)

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    Reply 1 Reply Nov 11, 2018
    1. luvbooks4evr

      You should keep a book of inspo like me. Just have a small notebook with you at all times(excpet when you shower, unless it’s waterproof paper. There’s such thing!) and write down the idea. When you have time, go back to what you wrote and figure out the rest of the story. If you can only think of the beginning, try mixing two of your ideas.

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      Reply 1 Reply Jul 7, 2019
      1. unikyky25

        I have a LOT of notebooks, and at least one of them comes with me everyehere. Who knows where you might get inspiration from, right?
        When I get an idea, I call it a “Ding-ding” (I know, it sounds babyish, but I thought of it with my sister when we were, like, 7 or something). So yeah, I have lots of Ding-Ding Notebooks, as they are called! 😀

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        Reply 1 Reply Oct 10, 2019
        1. writercat383

          ???? cute!

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  9. MCKapo

    What are some ways you guys have of plotting out time travel novels.

    My idea is quite lofty, but a dark epic fantasy action romance type of novel, spanning a continent through centuries (and eventual destruction of continent) in 1700’s like yeas, ancient years, future years and post apocalyptic years, where two are MCs are an alien bound to a space-time interspatial sword and the immortal son of a ruthless king.

    I want it to go back and forth possibly, but how would I ploy and work this out with time travel?

    any special programs used?

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    Reply 1 Reply Jun 6, 2018
    1. luvbooks4evr

      Just write the way you would with a novel, but include the year at the top of the page and write they’ve travelled in time when you want them to time travel

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      Reply 0 Replies Jul 7, 2019
  10. Ferguson_The_Great

    Hi all.
    My first post here.
    So it’s in the form of a question. After many months and sleepless nights I’ve completed the first draft of my novel. It’s a kooky, surreal, futuristic story about a village of cats, a village of cows, a dragon, a badger, a snake and a magical river. And the terrifying beasts that live in the woods.
    Aaaaanyway, I’ve become somewhat stuck now. I had the goal of finishing the first draft, and thought I’d be able to breathe a sigh of relief when it was completed. Apparently writing the second draft is equally terrifying. I’ve read online advice, but what I can’t seem to find is advice on EXACTLY what I’m trying to accomplish on second draft. I’m not looking at grammar or spelling, im trying to improve on the story, but i still find myself editing minor sentences and reordering a couple of words. Is there any method or goal you put into your head when you go about the first edit? What exactly are you trying to accomplish this time around?
    Any help would be appreciated, thanks
    Ferguson_The_Great

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    Reply 3 Replies Apr 4, 2018
    1. RoseOfNoonvale

      One thing I would suggest is looking at character development. Read through your own story and keep track of how your characters change and adjust to the events happening around them. See if there’s anything that doesn’t make sense, and adjust it. Keep track of things that seem out of character (for example, if Hermione in Harry Potter were to not finish a homework assignment, or fail on a test, or not study anything she’s supposed to), and think about if it is necessary. If you find this difficult, ask someone else to read it and give you advice on the storyline. Is there anything that doesn’t make sense? Any strange plot twists that don’t affect the storyline at all, and are unnecessary?

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      Reply 0 Replies May 5, 2018
    2. CollisionOfFates

      I totally get what you mean. First of all,
      BREATHE! Writing is meant to be FUN. Getting stressed is totally a thing, but just remember this: You’re not on a deadline, you can take as much time as you need, and- bonus!- you already have the first and hardest part done!! Woohoo!!!
      Secondly, asking yourself what you’re trying to accomplish exactly is a good question, but it sounds like you’re freaking yourself out over the details, which I myself do every day. Again, writing is fun! Enjoy yourself when you write.
      I can’t give specific advice about your story, but if you post it on Underlined, I could take a look if you’d like.
      I really hope this advice helps! If not, I’d be more than happy to give some more.
      – CollisionOfFates 🙂

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    3. writercat383

      I always have trouble with second drafts too! But sometimes, if you can’t see anything that needs improving or fixing, there might actually NOT BE ANYTHING THAT NEEDS IMPROVING OR FIXING!!!
      Yes, it’s true–you are right. Sometimes. And SOMETIMES . . . I have trouble telling myself this.
      But also, when you aren’t sure about changes you need to make, you can . . .
      1. Take a break and think about it for a while
      2. Have trusted friends or family read through your entire story and give their honest opinions
      3. Just leave it! Go ahead and let it be done. Remember, authors can go back and update their books.

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