Defending Your Style Vs. Being Stubborn

Nat RussoBasics, 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 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.

Serve the Story

Nat RussoBasics, How-To, Writing 23 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 …

5 Writing Tips From Robert Pruneda

Nat RussoGuest Posts, Writing 12 Comments

It’s with great pleasure that I hand over the reigns to my friend and fellow author Robert “Sharky” Pruneda for today’s post. Robert is the author of Amazon bestselling horror Devil’s Nightmare, is a gamer like myself, and is an all-around scholar and gentleman! Oh, and if that weren’t enough selling points, he’s a fellow Texan! In today’s post, Robert shares 5 writing tips I wish I would have known when I was starting out.      

Honesty In Writing

Nat RussoHow-To, Voice, Writing 40 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 …

Eddie Izzard on Talent

Nat RussoBasics, Writing 21 Comments

[Update Jan. 5, 2021: I’ve updated the pronouns used throughout this article to be more consciously aware and sensitive to Eddie’s chosen pronouns. Please leave a comment if you happen to come across any I missed.] Many of you are aware that I had the opportunity to see Eddie Izzard in concert last week as part of her “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 her 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 …

Point of View – The Basics

Nat RussoBasics, 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 RussoHow-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.

My Writing Process: A Blog Tour

Nat RussoProcess, Writing 22 Comments

[Updated April 29, 2020] I was asked to participate in the “Writer’s Process Blog Tour” by a wonderful friend (and #1 bestselling author!) Nicholas Rossis, author of the Pearseus epic fantasy series. When you get a chance, take a moment to visit him at Thanks, also, to JL Morse for including me in the tour! The Writer’s Process Blog Tour requires that I answer 4 questions about my process and works. In today’s post, I’ll take a stab at those 4 questions in the hope of shedding some light on the rusty innards of my mind.

Do Your Characters Have an Attitude?

Nat RussoBasics, 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! …