4 Things Every Writer Should Know About Beta Readers

Nat Russo Beta Reading, Editing, How-To 50 Comments

UPDATED JULY 2, 2017 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 …

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

[Updated September 20, 2018] Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a writer quite like 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! …

Twitter Changes Auto-Follow Policy

Nat Russo How-To, Social Media, Twitter 16 Comments

Twitter changed their auto-follow policy in 2013. Those of you who’ve read my series on Using Twitter Effectively know that “auto follow” was a major tool in building a writer’s platform. By way of reminder, “auto follow” was an option in many 3rd party tools that allowed you to automatically follow back anyone who followed you. This saved organizations and popular accounts countless hours of having to manually follow everyone. I spent some time trying to wrap my head around the new landscape, and it was tough going at first. My numbers stalled out for quite a while. But I’ve learned some lessons along the way, and I’m now convinced that this was an excellent decision on Twitter’s part. My numbers are …

World Building: Magic Systems

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Magic, World Creation, Writing 39 Comments

As a Fantasy author, the subject of World Building is near and dear to my heart. If you’re going to build a convincing fantasy world, you may be thinking about developing a magic system. In Necromancer Awakening (now available on Amazon), I went through a painstaking process to build a unique magic system involving “Life” and “Death”. While I was constructing a magic system based on necromancy, it occurred to me (in hindsight) that there are three things a writer should know before attempting this at home:

Structured Descriptions

Nat Russo Description, How-To, Process, Writing 25 Comments

The journey from world building to prose is a long and twisted one. We know what a specific plaza in a specific city looks like. We have all of the elements: weather, sound, objects, people, etc. But unless we put them together in some kind of rational order and present them in a logical sequence, all we have are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle scattered on a table. We need to employ structured descriptions to allow the puzzle pieces to fall into place.