I’ve been talking about it for a while in various formats: writing a book on the craft of writing. The idea both excites me and makes me anxious enough to feel sick to my stomach. (Me? Write a book on writing?!?)
But the time has come. I’m not the best writer ever, but I am in the right spot to write a book on writing, at least for writers who have read all the beginning-writing books and are having issues moving further forward. This isn’t a book for grand masters of the craft. It’s just a book for people who are entering the messy middle of writing, and who feel as lost and helpless I did, when I first entered that realm. I’ve written over 50 novel-length works of fiction now, both under my own name and for my ghostwriting clients. I have a solid place from which to begin this project now, and if I put it off any longer, things will just feel weird.
So: Writing Craft has begun.
Because it’s me, I’m first putting the book up as a set of blog posts. Lots of people have commented to me in person that my writing blogs are interesting and helpful, so I know the format works. I also appreciate comments when I can get them.
However, I’ve learned over the last year that instead of trying to please every reader, I need to focus on the readers who support me. Readers who support my fiction can buy books–but writers who support my craft posts can’t (yet). I debated whether or not to post the blogs on this website concurrently with Patreon, but eventually settled on drawing a boundary between publishing promotional posts for free, versus publishing other types of content. I’m doing a bunch of work that won’t sell my fiction books; I should get paid for it somehow.
I’ve restructured everything (see The Plan, below), am rewriting and re-researching posts, am putting my big-girl professional panties on, and am moving writing-related posts over to Patreon. Later, the same material will come out in ebook and print, but that may take some time.
I will still be posting on my blog, but the posts here will be reader-focused posts rather than writer-focused ones (promotional posts, in other words). I may put up teaser craft posts here on the blog to help gather up new patrons; I haven’t decided yet.
New posts will go up on Patreon at least every other week, possibly more often if I think of something that isn’t on The Plan that I have to get written down before I forget.
Without further ado…
- 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
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