Writing Female Characters: A Guide for Male Writers

Nat RussoCharacterization, How-To 2 Comments

Do you find yourself occasionally writing phrases such as, “As Monica boobed boobily across the room…”? Is the primary topic of conversation among your female characters always men? Do they have no agency of their own and simply go with whatever the male characters decide? Do they exist merely as plot devices (e.g. woman is raped, man gets mad, man makes story happen)? Is the first thing your male characters notice about them always related to their appearance? Is the first thing you notice about your female characters always their appearance? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then this guide is for you. Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult. Take it from me…someone who actually lived in a …

Common Mistakes New Fiction Writers Make

Nat RussoBasics, How-To Leave a Comment

Welcome, aspiring fiction writers! Today, we’re embarking on an epic journey through the treacherous landscape of common mistakes that often plague newcomers in the world of storytelling. So fasten your seatbelts, grab your pen, and prepare to navigate the winding path of literary adventures. I’m Nat Russo, your friendly writing guide, ready to illuminate the dark corners and guide you to writerly success. Let’s see if we can avoid these common mistakes new fiction writers make!

To 1, or To 0: Translating Binary in Fiction

Nat RussoHow-To, Subject Matter Expertise 5 Comments

Binary in fiction is often laughable to an engineer like me. You’ve all seen the same scenes I have. A scientific research facility gets a signal from outer space. After several try/fail cycles, one of the junior scientists has a Eureka! moment. “Eureka! It’s binary!” the scientist says. [At least, I hope not. I really hope the writer does a better job than that. But, you get the idea.] Within hours (or even minutes), the engineer translates the entire message to perfection (with images and blueprints even!) and we understand the message being sent by the alien civilization. We can then march off and build our new teleportation device, space ship, poverty-fixing widget, or, perhaps, merely learn the meaning of …

How To Beat Writer’s Block in 30 Minutes

Nat RussoBasics, How-To, Process, Writing 4 Comments

Have you ever reached a point where the thought of opening Scrivener (or your document editor of choice) filled you with not only dread, but disgust? Have you ever stared at your laptop and silently uttered the words, “I just can’t even…”? It may not have had anything to do with lack of inspiration! It’s just that you couldn’t bring yourself to take another slog through your work-in-progress. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, I’m going to show you how to beat writer’s block in 30 minutes.

How to Become An Author

Nat RussoBasics, How-To, Process 3 Comments

Every once in a while, an aspiring author reaches out to me to ask how I did it. How did I manage to accomplish the seemingly Herculean task of becoming a published author of a series of bestselling novels? While the voices of these authors are different, the sense of incredulity and exasperation are all the same. I can tell, through inference, that they’ve asked this question before of countless other authors. I suspect they’ve also received the very same answer I give them. But, it’s an answer they don’t like. To become an author, you write, write, then write some more. And when you feel as if you can’t write another single blessed word, write two instead. “Yes, yes,” …

Scrivener Auto Completion

Nat RussoHow-To, Scrivener 2 Comments

Updated on June 19, 2021 to include instructions relevant to Scrivener 3 for Windows. Have you ever wished you didn’t have to type the same word or phrase over and over again in your manuscript? Maybe you have a tricky-to-spell character name, or you use a lot of technical terms? What if I told you that Scrivener can automatically type those words/phrases for you with the stroke of a key?

The Problem with Adverbs

Nat RussoAdverbs, Basics, How-To, Qualifiers, Writing 21 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 RussoHow-To, Marketing, Platform, Social Media, Twitter 29 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 RussoHow-To, Marketing, Platform, Publishing, Social Media 27 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 RussoBasics, How-To, Platform 30 Comments

Updated January 24th, 2020. 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 …