I promised midnightmoon74
a list of writing tutorials, so I figured I make a blog post out of it for everybody to peruse. I might add to it later, too. And if you got others you found particularly hepful, post them in the comments!
Resources & Tutorial Collections Mythcreants
have an excellent blog on writing, worldbuilding, and then some.
Eva Deverell has a great collection of tutorials: Storytelling Essentials | creative writing blog
.Research, research, research!
Whenever you're writing about something you don't have personal experience with, do your research. Never, ever assume something. Google, Wikipedia & Co. are there for your research needs. Social media lets you learn from people directly (and politely ask for more information on a topic, a lot of the time—respect a "no", though, as not everybody's up for talking about potentially personal stuff).
So, what's a story made of? The basic parts are beginning, middle and end. And that doesn't apply only to books, but also to chapters and scenes. In fact, if it doesn't have all three, it's not a scene. There's more to a scene, too. Here's a great tutorial: Three Easy Steps To Writing A Scene – Sydney Scrogham
If you're new to writing, learn some terminology
. Not the whole publishing stuff just yet, you won't need that for a while. But the writing craft terms. This one's for college papers, but applies to fiction as well: Revision, Editing and Proofreading: What’s the Difference?
Whether you outline or not, you start with the first draft
. And as some famous writer-person said (and I can never remember who it was), "the first draft of everything is shit". So, whatever you do, don't try to publish that first draft.
While writing your first draft, try not to go back and edit just yet. Just write. If that's difficult, try white font on white background. That'll get you a ton of typos, but that's still better than messing around with one paragraph forever and never finishing that story.
If you need an extra boost, join NaNoWriMo
(or Camp NaNoWriMo
—basically the same thing, but at different times of the year).
Once you got your first draft done, the next step is revision and editing
. How extensive that is depends on the size of the work, and how you draft (see below for tutorials).
And finally, proofreading
. That is, checking your writing for typos and the like (see below).
When that's done, send it off to the beta readers
. Listen to their critique. If several of them complain about something in particular, it most likely needs changing.
If you write about minorities and other groups you're not a part of (and even if you are), get some sensitivity readers from the group in question. They can give you an insider's perspective, what's okay and what's not, and tell you where you're being biased.
Now, if you're going for publishing (self or trad), you gotta add another step after the betas: The professional editor
. Yes, you're gonna have to pay them. Probably a lot. Yes, you can skip this step, but it won't do your book much good. (If you can't afford an editor, you got little choice there, obviously. But if you can, spend that money
Revision & Editing
Here are two very good revision
tutorials: One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle – Holly Lisle: Writer
and How to Revise A Novel – Holly Lisle: Writer
. Check your spelling and grammar!
This should be obvious, yet apparently it's not. Spellcheck is you friend, though you shouldn't rely on it alone. It's not perfect, it's only your first round of proofreading. After that, you gotta do the work on your own. Just you and your dictionary
Also look for homophones, i.e. words that sound the same but mean different things (e.g. faze vs. phase, affect vs. effect). Don't worry if you miss a couple mistakes—we all do. Heck, there are typos in traditionally published books with multiple people editing and proofreading. Just do the best you can, be thourough, and you'll be fine.
As a non-native speaker of English, let me add that writing in a foreign language is no excuse for skipping this step. If anything, you should work even harder on getting it right, because you'll learn the language in the process as well.
That said, kudos to everybody writing in a foreign language!
Writing Advice BooksAll books recommended here are available as ebooks on Amazon, and some of them at least elsewhere as well. If you don't have a Kindle, Amazon has a free app. Rayne Hall
's blue writing advice series is for experienced writers, but I can recommend her "Word-Loss Diet" to all writers. For the advanced writers, do get the other books, too. They're well-written, affordable and excellent. My other personal favorites by her are "Euphonics for Writers", "Writing Vivid Settings", "Writing Vivid Dialogue" and "Writing Deep Point of View". Holly Lisle
's "How to Write Page-Turning Scenes" is a great in-depth guide to writing scenes. Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
's thesauri are great reference books for character and setting description. My favorites: "The Emotion Thesaurus", "Emotion Amplifiers" and "The Urban Setting Thesaurus". Mignon Fogarty
(aka. Grammar Girl
) has some very useful reference books, too. My favorites are the "Grammar Devotional" and "Punctuation 911".
There are plenty of other great writing books, of course. Those are just a couple I personally found very useful.