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.

Are You Using Pinned Tweets?

Nat Russo How-To, Marketing, Platform, Social Media, Twitter 27 Comments

Twitter recently rolled out a new feature for profile pages that allows you to keep your vital content visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This feature is known as Pinned Tweets, and it’s an important part of your content delivery strategy. And you’re not using it.   You read that correctly. It’s one of the single greatest content delivery features Twitter has graced us with, and you’re completely ignoring it! How do I know? Allow me to explain (in an admittedly roundabout way).

Link Globalization

Nat Russo How-To, Marketing, Platform, Publishing, Social Media 26 Comments

[UPDATED – 7/22/2015] Did you know there is more than one Amazon.com store? Don’t worry. If you didn’t know there is an amazon.co.uk, or an amazon.de, or even an amazon.co.jp, you’re not alone. In fact, many are unaware there are at least 13 international Amazon storefronts. But until you’re aware of this (and do something about it) you may be sending potential customers to the wrong store, losing untold sales in the process! Link globalization is something you need to be aware of if you’re attempting to direct people to an Amazon storefront. If you give an Amazon.com link to someone in the UK or Australia, for example, that person will not be able to purchase the product you’ve linked without going through a lot …

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 …

Honesty In Writing

Nat Russo How-To, Voice, Writing 35 Comments

There are many bits of common writerly wisdom that I tweet on a regular basis using the #writetip hashtag. Some of these nuggets are mine and others are parroting the masters. Most are widely held to be axiomatic, but some are confusing or enigmatic. Such is the limitation of 140 characters. One of the more confusing writetips deals with honesty in writing. Above all else, be honest in your writing. Readers sense fakes a mile away. #writetip Whenever this one comes up in the rotation, I get a flood of questions. I get some heated, sarcastic answers as well, but that’s to be expected from time to time. In general, there’s an overwhelming confusion among aspiring authors about just what it means to …

4 Things Every Writer Should Know About Beta Readers

Nat Russo Beta Reading, Editing, How-To 41 Comments

Writing is not a solitary endeavor. Not by a long shot. When a writer finishes a draft of a story, it is usually impossible for them to be objective about what they’ve written. Beta readers take a recently completed story and view it with a level of objectivity that the writer does not possess. But if you’ve never worked with a beta reader before, you shouldn’t jump in blindly. Beta readers can help you bring focus to your story in ways you never imagined. But they can also be less-than-helpful if you’re not specific in your directions. Worse, they can be downright problematic if you’re not careful.     In this article, I’ll go over the four things every writer …

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.

8 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Nat Russo How-To, Idea Net, Lists, Process, Writing 9 Comments

Nothing strikes fear in the heart a writer faster than these two words: Writer’s Block. Whether you’ve been writing for 20 days or 20 years, you’re likely to find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen eventually.       But what’s the solution? In my writing journey, I’ve come across at least 8 things you can do right now to break through that feeling of emptiness and helplessness.

Do Your Characters Have an Attitude?

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Voice, Writing 10 Comments

There are few things more elusive in the craft of writing than the notion of “Voice”. But what many new writers fail to grasp is that “Voice” is far more than just what a character says. It’s about how they say it and how they feel about the world around them. In other words, it’s at least partially about their attitude. You have an attitude. You may not realize it, but you have one. I’m sure you’ve heard the words “don’t give me that attitude!” on more than one occasion. I’m willing to bet you’ve answered a question with a smile on your face, all the while concealing the seething rage beneath your calm exterior. Am I right? Of course I am! …