Writing Craft: Lessons in Fiction for the Working Writer

Sign up at Patreon, $1/month with access to the archives included.

An ongoing series of posts to address the issues facing the working writer. Meant for writers who are:

  • Done with one or more works of fiction.
  • Past the beginning stages of their craft but who feel like they are stalling out.
  • Not getting published (or not getting published as quickly as they want).
  • Having difficulty finding more challenging materials to help them improve their craft, having “read it all.”
  • Feeling overwhelmed by conflicting advice.

Here’s The Plan:

Here is the planned outline for Writing Craft: Lessons for the Working Writer. It may take some time 🙂

Individual books:

  • Cover
  • Copyright
  • Table of contents
  • Intro to series
  • Intro to book
  • BOOK (by numbered section): Vocab as necessary, What I’m gonna tell you, The main point of the section, broken down into steps as necessary, Summary, including action items, What’s next
  • Fundamental assumptions section, short rehash of Vol 1.
  • Analysis examples for current volume, as necessary.
  • Worksheets/study projects/sanity checks, as necessary.
  • Resource list
  • About the author
  • Also by
  • About the publisher
  • Newsletter signup
  • Thanks

List of books:

Volume 1: Are You Ready to Publish and Other Burning Questions

1.  Are you ready to publish? A relatively sane self-assessment.

2. How to read like a professional writer (studying).

3. An in-depth discussion of fundamental assumptions, like what to write, reader focus, expectations, imposter syndrome, meta-skills, emotional breakdowns

Volume 2: Writing for an Audience, and Not Just Jotting Down the Movie In Your Head

1. The Principles of Writing Fiction Code: Immersion, Information, and Structure

2. Elements of Immersion

3. Elements of Information

4. Elements of Structure

Volume 3: Dragging the Reader Into Your Story

1. Writing from the Five Senses (and More)

2. How to Write Setting (Basics)

3. How to Write “The Rules”

4. When to Write Immersion Details

5. How to Write an Opening Hook

Volume 4: Keeping the Reader Trapped In Your Story

1. The Character in Your Head vs. the Character on the Page

2. The Elements of a Point of View Character: Background, Opinion, and Presentation

3. Inside Voices vs. Outside Voices

4. Dialogue Tricks

5. Camera Tricks
*Note: I will research a “Writing the Other”-style checklist for the appendix on this one.

Volume 5: Telling Them What You’re Going to Tell Them, Telling Them, Then Telling Them What You Just Told Them

1. One Simple Trick to Boost Your Writing: Tell Them Sooner

2. Basic Scene Structure

3. When to Tell Them What You Want Them to Know (tagging)

4. Clues: When to Tell Them What You Don’t Want Them to Know

Volume 6: Pacing: It’s All in the Timing

1. What is Pacing?

2. Story- and Chapter-Level Pacing

3. Paragraph Pacing

4. Sentence Pacing

5. Word Choice and Other Patterns

Volume 7: Keeping the Reader Up All Night

1. What Makes the Reader Turn the Page?

2. Endings of Chapters: Cliffhangers

3. Endings of Books: Riding Off Into the Sunset

4. How to End a Book When You’re Writing a Series

Volume 8: Getting Away With What You Want to Write, Part 1: The Big Picture

1. Plot vs. Structure.

2. Basic Plot Structure and the Obligatory Joseph Campbell Rant

3. Big-Picture Structure Questions: POV Characters, Story Lengths, Genre

Volume 9: Getting Away With What You Want to Write, Part 2: Down in the Weeds

1. Basic Conflict Structure: The Beat

2. Basic Scene Structure: Putting Openings, Beats, and Closings All Together

Volume 10: Steady As You Go: A Rough Guide to Editing

1. The Trap of Constant Revision, and Possible Paths Ahead

2. The Story You Expected to Write, vs. the Story You Actually Wrote

3. What Actually Went Wrong, and How (and When) to Fix It

4. Are You Ready to Edit Other People’s Work?

5. Rules of Thumb: Critique Groups and Other Feedback, When to Start Over, and Other Reasons to Despair

Volume 11: Writing Like a Magician: Hidden Elements of Fiction

1. Subtext: The Text That May Not Be Written

2. Clues, Red Herrings, Foreshadowing, Hints, and Misdirection

3. Subplots and Other Hidden Structures

4. The Biggest Secret of All: Theme

Volume 12: Getting Away with What You Want to Write, Part 3: Special Topics in Pacing

1. Writing Fast-Paced Scenes

2. Writing Slow-Paced Scenes

3. Writing Suspense

4. Writing Action

5. Writing Comedy

Volume 13: Writing Synopses and Other Sales Materials for Fun & Profit

1. The Fundamentals of Selling Books

2. What Are You Selling? Translating the “Unique Selling Proposition” Question

3. Who Is Your Audience?

4. Guidelines for Synopses

5. Guidelines for Query Letters

6. Guidelines for Book Description and Cover Copy

7. Guidelines for Ad Text

Volume 14: So-and-So Is Selling…Why Not Me?

1. First, Write Good Books (WIBBOW and Writing for Money–or Not)

2. Speed vs. Productivity (Research)

3. Production & Publishing: The Basics

4. Promotions & Marketing: The Very Basics (Genre)

5. Running a Business: The Very Very Basics, Plus, Not a Lawyer

Click here to check it out.