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. 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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    1. unikyky25

      Cool! Good advice!

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  2. 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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  3. 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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    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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      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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      1. unikyky25

        Thanks guys!

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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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 1 Reply 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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  7. 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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      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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  8. 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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    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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  9. 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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    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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    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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  10. Madison

    To the user who requested advice on characters with anxiety (the first comment was somehow deleted:)

    First, clearly discern fear from anxiety. Fear is just that: a founded aversion to something, usually with a reason. (Fo example, someone who is afraid of dogs more than likely DOES NOT have anxiety. They probably just have a fear of it, regardless of whether or not they have a reason to be afraid of dogs.)

    Anxiety is different. It’s a condition. Technically, anxiety is different than fear, even if the illness seems to entirely revolve around being afraid. There isn’t always a clear cut reason for anxiety, which makes it all the more frustrating for the sufferer. Anxiety usually has a lot of fears associated with it. A lot of the times, those with anxiety worry about the ‘what if’s. Most of the time, the scenarios they worry about more than likely won’t happen, but they still obsess over them, unable to control it. (i.e. What if I get poisoned while eating out? What if I say something wrong and my friends start to hate me? What if I suddenly fall ill and die?) These uncontrollable thoughts become overwhelming, oftentimes causing avoidant behavior in the sufferer. This is where the misconception that people with anxiety are cowards comes from.

    Another thing is that there are different types of anxiety. Most will feel anxious throughout their lifetime; worrying is simply human nature. However, when anxiety significantly disrupts one’s quality of life, it’s probably indicative of an anxiety disorder. According to psychologists, there are seven main types of anxiety disorders. These include:

    – Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (This is the most common type of anxiety disorder. It is characterized by consistent worrying about everyday things. Those with GAD may often feel on edge, sometimes not even knowing what it is they’re worrying about. When the sufferer identifies the fear, they go out of their way to avoid the trigger at all costs. This disorder can be greatly debilitating due to the fact that it masks everyday tasks difficult and frightening.)

    -Phobias (Like fear and anxiety, fear and phobia are two different things. If dogs scare your character a little, but they can easily deal by avoiding being near them, it’s a fear. However, if the fear is so debilitating that they are constantly worrying about dogs and what might happen if they encounter one, (this is called disaster thinking,) it’s more than likely a phobia. Like GAD, this inspires avoiding the trigger at all times. The intensity of anxiety that accompanies the phobia varies from person to person, from mild to debilitating. Someone can have a phobia of almost anything.)

    – Social anxiety disorder/social phobia (Social anxiety is characterized by fear of social situations and unfamiliar people. Sufferers may feel afraid when in a crowd or speaking in front of others. They often fear embarrassing themselves and the judgement and thoughts of their peers, thus causing them to avoid being in social situations. Sufferers are often self conscious and self depreciating, beating themselves up over even the smallest mistake they make in front of others.)

    – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (OCD is an anxiety disorder that is commonly mentioned, but rarely understood. It is characterized by founded obsessions and compulsions that overlap, causing the sufferer to feel great anxiety should they not act on their compulsions. To break things down: obsessions are thought based. They cause the sufferer to become focused on a certain negative thought, sometimes constantly. For example, if a sufferer is obsessed with the thought of harmful germs, they will constantly worry about getting sick and become mindful of what they touch and washing their hands. Compulsions are behavior based. They fill the sufferer with the desire to complete a certain action in order to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsession. The sufferer may feel significantly better about germs if they wash their hands immediately, but they will not feel better until they can do so. This hinders day to day life significantly due to the sufferer’s need to act on their compulsions and preoccupation with their obsessions. OCD is NOT being a neat freak. It is a mental illness characterized by obsessions that must be met by acting on compulsions. Do not downplay it in order to contribute to the stigma.)

    – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is caused and triggered by a traumatic event. It is commonly seen in war veterans and abuse survivors, but is not limited to those particular groups. It is characterized by reliving and being affected by the event, and is commonly accompanied by specific triggers. For example, a soldier might be triggered by the sound of gunshots. Though the response varies, a sufferer will often freeze up or shut down during an episode, reliving the event in some form of another. Flashbacks are usually the root of the problem, as well as nightmares and disaster thinking. PTSD sufferers can easily become emotionally withdrawn and depressed. It is best for them to receive some sort of trauma counseling or treatment in order to lessen and cope with distress.)

    – Panic Disorder (Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by the presence of panic attacks in the sufferer. Panic attacks are frightening anxiety episodes that are characterized by an array of physical and mental/emotional symptoms that vary from person to person. More often than not, the attacks are triggered by things that actually possess no danger, though the sufferer becomes very afraid and distressed.)

    – Agoraphobia (Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by the fear of going out in public. Sufferers often have trouble leaving their own homes, common public places such as restaurants and grocery stores triggering their anxiety. Agoraphobia sometimes goes hand in hand with panic attacks and traumatic events. If an event causing significant stress outside of one’s home, they may begin to avoid leaving home, becoming confined to their own living quarters.)

    Your character may suffer from any anxiety disorder, each one being different from the other. Any one of these conditions may be referred to as ‘anxiety,’ but they all have very different specifics. It’s good to know which one your character has, and to keep that in mind.

    Anxiety disorders affect different facets of one’s life. For example, someone with social anxiety may be a total daredevil when it comes to climbing mountains, windsurfing, or any other crazy hobby, whilst panicking at the prospect of attending a dinner party. It’s important to know what an anxiety disorder means and how it affects the sufferers.

    Another thing about anxiety is that it is not limited to worrying in itself. Most of the time, anxiety disorders are accompanied by physical symptoms along with the mental symptoms. These often take the form of panic attacks, which are often accompanied by symptoms that include, but are not limited to:

    – Rapid heartbeat

    – Sweating or intense feelings of hot/cold

    – Tingling, numb, or weak sensations in the body

    – Feelings of unreality or depersonalization

    – Breathing problems

    – Dizziness or feeling lightheaded

    – Chest pain

    – Stomach pain or nausea

    Finally, I will say that anxiety can be important to the character, but should not outweigh their other qualities as a person. Though you can and should address your character’s anxiety disorder, think of them and address them as a person, not a walking mental illness. As someone who has suffered anxiety, there is nothing more disheartening than reading bad representation. At best, it turns off the reader. At worst, it spreads misinformation and contributes to the large existing stigma surrounding mental illness. I would suggest not limiting your research to what I’ve said, and continue to read up on anxiety disorders and those affected by them. I would also suggest having someone knowledgeable about and/or suffering from anxiety to read through your work.

    If anyone else has anything else to add, feel free to add to or correct anything I’ve said.

    Best of luck and happy writing!

    -Madison

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