Common Writing Myths

Nat Russo Art, Basics, Opinion, Writing 20 Comments

There are very few objective truths about writing. I think there are some (you’ll typically suck at first, a strong noun/verb is better than a weak noun/verb with a qualifier, remove needless words, etc). But most of these “objective truths” are little more than common writing myths.   There are a host of suppositions masquerading as axioms: – Show don’t tell – Writers must write every day – Writers can’t not write – Never use an adverb – Writing can’t be taught   And so many more…

3 Pillars of Character Development – A.J. Flowers WordPress Connection

Nat Russo Basics, Characterization, Writing Leave a Comment

While work continues on Necromancer Falling (still on track for a spring release! Yay!!), I periodically stumble upon articles I think will be of interest to our community. This article, “3 Pillars of Character Development” is one such article. And it ends by recommending a book you’ve seen me talk about here! I’m particularly fond of “Pillar 3″… (my version of “and what happened next will both shock and delight you!” 🙂 )   3 Pillars of Character Development – Achieving Complex and Real Characters While any novel will likely struggle with enough Character Complexity, I find that novels with high-worldbuilding el… Source: 3 Pillars of Character Development – A.J. Flowers WordPress Connection

Rules and Guidelines

Nat Russo Basics, Writing 1 Comment

Here on A Writer’s Journey, we often talk about about the rules and guidelines of writing. Whenever the subject comes up, it’s met with a lot of skepticism and a healthy dose of “but I’m an artist!” No, people don’t often say “but I’m an artist!” But what they do say is rarely more than a variation on the theme: “There ARE no rules in writing.” “But <their favorite author> breaks that so-called rule all of the time!” “Hey! You owe me 20 bucks!” I can’t be the only writer who gets that last one. Am I right? Am I right? 🙂   Today over at the Kill Zone blog, bestselling author and writing coach James Scott Bell addresses the notion of …

Defending Your Style Vs. Being Stubborn

Nat Russo Basics, Opinion, Writing 12 Comments

Note: The following article is based on a recent conversation I had with a writer I mentor regarding style. While it’s been heavily edited to read like an article, this is the gist of what I said. There’s an important step on the way to developing your own style and voice as a writer: learn how to write good prose. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people think they can sidestep this requirement altogether. Sure, it’s difficult. Anything worth doing is difficult. Anything worth doing will make you stretch, both as a student of the craft and as a person in general. The good news is that much of this process is well-documented by masters of …

The Problem with Adverbs

Nat Russo Adverbs, Basics, How-To, Qualifiers, Writing 20 Comments

If you’ve been studying the craft of writing for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly come across countless writers who think adverbs are evil. As you can see from the previous sentence, I don’t think they’re evil. But I do think you need to exercise caution when using them in your fiction. We should start by defining what they are. Then I’ll talk about the problem with adverbs in general and offer a demonstration of why they can be problematic.

As You Know, Bob…

Nat Russo Basics 26 Comments

Psst. Yeah you. I’ve talked to Bob, and you’re pissing him off. He thinks you’re a pretentious know-it-all, and people are leaving the cocktail party in droves. They didn’t come here to listen to the same old stories. Oh bloody hell. That literary agent just walked out. You have any idea how hard it was to get her here in the first place?! Wait. You look confused. Ok, I’ll back up. If you’re a new writer, it’s possible you have absolutely no idea what I’m going on about. That’s ok. Because you are precisely the person I’m writing this article for. That’s an image of a HorribleWriteTip meme I created a while back and shared with folks on social media. It’s a joke, of course—see …

So You Want To Start A Blog

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Platform 30 Comments

You know you want to. You’ve considered doing it for a while now, but something always stops you. Maybe you’ve already done it once or twice, but it didn’t feel right, so you swore you’d never do it again. It made you feel uncomfortable. Or worse, it turned you into a slave and you couldn’t handle it. All your friends do it, and they look at you funny when you say “I’m not judging, but I just don’t get it.” You’re tempted, but a trusted friend, teacher, or family member advised against it, and their words were powerful. No, I’m not talking about doing drugs. I’m talking about you wanting to start a blog! You’re right to hesitate. Blogging isn’t something you should …

Serve the Story

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Writing 20 Comments

Many of you who follow me on Twitter have seen this tweet that I send out periodically: It’s all about the story. When deciding what to cut, ask yourself: does it serve the story? #writetip Those of us who have been writing for a while have this ingrained in our DNA. Make no mistake about it, though. We didn’t start our writing career that way. Like any other element of the craft, this is something we had to learn over time. Writing is like a muscle. The more you write, the stronger you get. “Also, the Harry Potter novels are just fun, pure story from beginning to end.” – Stephen King on the Harry Potter series. Even Uncle Steve seems to be …

Eddie Izzard on Talent

Nat Russo Basics, Writing 21 Comments

Many of you are aware that I had the opportunity to see Eddie Izzard in concert last week as part of his “Force Majeure” tour. What I didn’t mention on social media that night, however, is that I had the great privilege of attending a Q&A session with him after the show.   Most of the questions that evening were the usual, non-professional interview type questions: What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self if you could go back to the past? What inspired you to become a comedian? What shade of lipstick do you wear? You know…the usual. But the last question of the evening made me devote my full attention to the answer.

Point of View – The Basics

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Point of View, Writing 31 Comments

Choosing the right point of view (PoV) for your story is the most important—and sometimes the most challenging—decision you will make before you begin the writing process. It isn’t a decision to take lightly. Through your story’s point of view, your reader will experience your world, your story, your characters, and your very purpose for writing the story to begin with.   It’s a good idea to become familiar with the various point-of-view options before you set about creating your masterpiece.