Can Anyone be a Writer?

Nat Russo Basics, Process, Writing 58 Comments

[Updated March 19, 2015] Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I have a schedule of writing “tips” that I tweet semi-regularly. They often spark thoughtful conversations on the craft, which is one of the reasons I started them to begin with. But there is one tweet in particular that I receive no end of grief for publishing:  Writing is a learned craft, not a mystical gift from the universe. You can learn. Practice. Read. Write. Read some more. Write! #writetip That sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? Read on to feel my pain…

“Yes, but” or “No, and” – End Writer’s Block

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Plot and Structure, Scene Structure, Story Ideas, Writing 14 Comments

Writer’s Block. Two of the most dreaded words in a writer’s vocabulary…at least when put together in that order.  You stare at the blank page, and it stares back. It’s taunting you. It’s telling you you’re no good. You’re just about to slam the lid on your laptop shut when you remember something crucial: “Writing is a learned craft, not a mystical gift from the universe.” (I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…) A craft? A learned craft? Yes. And don’t you forget it! Now click the link and read on. Let’s get rid of that pesky writer’s block using tried and true elements of the craft!

World Building Primer

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, World Creation 28 Comments

World Building is something that all writers of speculative fiction need to do at some point in the story development process. I’d go so far as to say World Building is one of the primary things that drew many of us to this craft in the first place.  In today’s post we’ll cover the following: The Map Borders Religions Cultures Cities  

How Do You Come Up With Story Ideas?

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Idea Net, Story Ideas, Writing 27 Comments

Perhaps another way to phrase this question is “where do story ideas come from?” The answer is simple: story ideas are all around us.  Everything we see, touch, smell, hear, and taste has the potential to be a story seed that blossoms into a full-fledged story if nurtured properly. For some of us, this nurturing process is intangible, defying attempts to be described or squeezed into a bullet list. But for most, full story ideas aren’t something that spring up like eureka moments. Instead, the full story only emerges after idea “seeds” are watered and nurtured. I’m one of the latter. Rather than waiting for the mysterious process by which a story miraculously springs into existence in the rusty innards …

The Basics: So You Want To Write A Novel

Nat Russo Basics, Characterization, How-To, Plot and Structure, Reference Books, World Creation, Writing 10 Comments

Where Do I Begin? If you’ve landed here, you’ve got a good head start. I’m going to make a couple of assumptions about you, if that’s ok: You’re an avid reader. You want to write a book-length work of fiction (i.e. you want to write a novel). You’ve never done this before, or you’ve had a lot of starts/stops in your past. You’re willing to dedicate the next several months…perhaps years…of your life to telling a single story. You have no idea where to begin.   You may think I’m a mind reader now. But the simple truth is that I’ve just described most of us. And by “us” I’m referring to pretty much anyone who has ever taken the first …

Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through

Nat Russo Basics, Editing, How-To, Revision, Writing 37 Comments

[Revised 02/10/2015] What have I gotten myself into? If you’re in the middle of your first draft, you’ve probably asked yourself that question several times by now. Writing that first draft can feel like running a sprint at times. Your head is full of ideas for setting, characterization, dialog, plot, and interesting scenes. Thoughts are flowing so fast that your fingers can’t keep up. Putting the words on paper is like a mental dump of information. Did you capture it all? Did you get that last thought translated from brain signals to keyboard strokes? You’re not certain, but if you stop to look back you just might miss that next thought that’s bubbling to the surface.