Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #amwriting

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Even w/ the best story idea, compelling characters & a solid plot, your story won’t resonate if the writing falls flat.

In editing hundreds of novels, I’ve compiled 5 common examples of weak writing I often see, so you can identify & correct them in your own WIP (#amwriting 🧵):
1. Vague character descriptions. Listing adjectives is not the strongest way to convey a character’s persona. We want to see those adjectives in action. SHOW us how your characters think, feel & act. This will make them come alive & feel like layered, authentic human beings.
2. Excessive imagery. Be mindful of lingering too long on descriptions. While many writers do this aiming for more poetic prose, piling too many images can be clunky & obscure your message.

Opt for a single powerful image, metaphor or analogy to convey your point effectively.
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There are a million different ways to plot a book, and figuring out the best way for your plot to unfold can be tricky.

Here’s a framework for evaluating your plot’s effectiveness. Ask yourself these questions to determine if it holds up (an #amwriting 🧵):
1. Is there a clear point of conflict? To keep your reader engaged, your story MUST have a central conflict that they will want to see play out. Use this template: Protagonist wants X, but Y is stopping them.

Ideally, you’ll introduce this conflict within your first chapter.
2. Are the stakes high enough? The conflict must meaningfully impact the protag’s life somehow. Show us the consequences! This creates tension & keeps readers invested.

Add to the previous template: Protagonist wants X, but Y is stopping them; if they fail, Z will happen.
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Here’s one mistake I see in almost every novel I edit: too much narrative distance, or space between the reader & the characters/events in the story.

Here are three ways you could be creating narrative distance & weakening your manuscript – without even realizing it (a 🧵):
1. Recounting events in retrospect. This removes the reader from the present plot action & can feel like an info dump.

Often, the narrative will be more engaging if you show the event as a scene when it actually occurs. Show us the character’s emotional response in the moment.
2. Not illuminating characters’ thoughts. In 1st or close 3rd person POV, we should typically have near-full access to the POV character’s mind. Look at what happens externally & internally/emotionally for your character in each scene. Show how they react & interpret the action.
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I'm going to break some hearts today. Your query letter is probably too long. How long SHOULD it be? Let's look into why shorter is better, and why. 🧵


#AmQuerying #AmWriting #AmEditing #WritingCommunity #RevPit Image
Before I give you a tangible word count goal for your query letter, a few words about diction: Writing MORE doesn't mean you're writing BETTER. We novelists are, by trade, wordy people, and sometimes trimming things down to their essence is the hard part.

Diction is the process of carefully choosing words, which means keeping only those words that BEST communicate your ideas and stories. I've seen a lot of queries written by folks who were told to keep it "under one page," but then filled up that page to the damn brim.

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How should you address an agent at the beginning of a query letter? Well, folks, I don't have an easy answer for this one, but I'll do my best to break down your options. 🧵


#AmQuerying #AmWriting #WritingCommunity Image
The very first thing I'd do is check the agent's Twitter bio if they've got one. Agents with clear pronoun preferences will almost always list them there. This will keep you from using the wrong Mr./Miss/Mrs./Mx./none of the above.

You can also google their name with "MSWL," and oftentimes you'll find search results with pronoun preferences there, too. Try really, really hard not to misgender someone. It may sound trivial to some, but for some agents, that can be an automatic "no."

Read 9 tweets
To spoil, or not to spoil? When it comes to writing a query letter, that is the question.

There is an answer ("No, you shouldn't"), but let's break down why that is. 🧵


#AmQuerying #AmWriting #WritingCommunity Image
Many agents will ask writers for two submission documents beyond their manuscript: a one-page or two-page synopsis (which will spoil everything), and a query letter (which will not).

Many agents start with the query letter (the one that doesn't spoil), and that's a good thing because we're aiming to engage them at that point. We WANT them to want more. The more materials you can get an agent to read, the better your chances, right?

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📢TEN TIPS to help you find your voice as a writer📢

1. Discovering your writing voice takes time and practice. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things.

#writingtips #WritingCommunity #creativity
2. Read widely and often to find inspiration for your own writing style. Never copy someone else's style, but learn from other writers to figure out what you like.

#amreading #writingvoice #writerslife
3. Tailor your voice to what you're writing. A contemporary thriller written as ancient Greek sophist probably won't work. But there are no rules and you never know until you try...

#writingcommunity #creativity #voice
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CREATING CHARACTERS - Ten tips for writers who want great characters.

1. Characters are the heart of your story. Take time to get to know them as if they were real people. Where did they come from? What motivates them? What do they want? What do they need?

2. Make your characters memorable and different. You can do this by giving your character a distinctive:
*speech pattern

#amwriting #authors
3. How many perfect people do you know? Don't be afraid to make your characters flawed. Perfection can be dull. Give your characters imperfections that make them relatable and interesting.

Read 10 tweets
Finally wrote my 200th blog post. Sure it may seem small but it's been a battle and perseverance has been my only soldier. Here's my blogging story:
In 2016, I took up blogging, back then it was simply a "make money through affiliate marketing" scheme. I struggled to write and wrote anything that came to mind, I was an avid researcher and my niche was wide. I was doing fashion, health, tech, and more.
As time went by I switched a lot, there was a time my sole focus was tech then another on fashion. Eventually, I started to lose steam.

I had written 30 articles and wondered why I wasn't making money. I spent a whole year not writing anything until I got paid.
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MY SCREENWRITING EXPERIENCE. Not advice. I’m still figuring this shit out, too. Here’s my experience. With contests, I was trapped in perpetual Quarterfinals & Semifinals Hell for a few years. Not good enough to get me where I need to be. 🧵
#screenwriting #amwriting
Something had to change about my writing. About two years ago, I figured it out. Find that deep flaw about myself that most terrifies me. I made that the central theme of my work going forward. Even though this is pretty basic shit, it worked. 🧵
#screenwriting #amwriting
In the past 14 months, I’ve won the Summer @Screenplay_LA, the @roadmapwriters Top Tier Competition, and the @ScriptPipeline First Look Project. Each with a different script. Each with completely different tones. Why? 🧵
#screenwriting #amwriting
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I've been an indie author for a decade now. I've been fortunate enough to have been full time since 2018 and have sold lots of books. Some thoughts and strategies for my first ten years. Long thread incoming:
- Write great books. That’s a minimum.
- You must be professional. You’re in competition with traditional publishers and other professional indies.
- It’s not easy. There are no shortcuts or magic bullets.
- Advertising used to be a luxury. It isn’t any more – it’s a necessity.
- Comparing yourself to others is a fool’s errand. We’re all inherently insecure, and it’s easy to look at Author X and ask why you don’t sell as well as they do.
- You will need to invest some capital (although, comparatively, not much).
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Finding Your Crew - as a writer there are several aspects to being part of a crew - finding or making one, building it up, and keeping it going thereafter. In that sense, a writery crew is like any intentional community that has a specific focus. But why bother?

Finding likeminded writers can be crucial for feelings of support & success. Some groups have an intentionally limited shelf life, some run & run. Membership may be static or fluctuate & some work better than others. So, what’s out there? Here’s a quick overview.
1. Local writer group - regular, locations/organisers include bookshops, cafés, pubs, libraries, someone’s kitchen. Advertised via notice boards, word of mouth, local Facebook group etc. Check you fit with group objectives - to write/socialise/beta read £-££
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#NaNoWriMo is here again.

50,000 words in 30 days.


There was a time when I would have thought so too.

Now, after a 5-year publishing career with 16 published novels, writing 50K words in 30 days is routine.

Here's the secret to massive output:
Don't focus on writing more.

Focus on eliminating obstacles to writing.

With nothing to hinder you, your productivity will ramp up dramatically.
100 words a day becomes 500.

500 becomes 1000.

1000 becomes 2000.

Next thing you know, you're hitting 3, 4, 5K words a day, day after day. Or more.

This means 50K words in just 2 weeks. Or less.

Would you like that?

Here are 5 tips to do that.
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Every day at 5 AM I arise from fearful word count dreams to find myself suddenly transformed into a @GailSimone twitter thread run through a WorldCon blender because I forgot Time Zones exist. I look in the mirror and discover Gregor Samsa writing samizdat @catvalente novellas.
“out, out, foul fanfic writers!”, Orlando interrupts. “WorldCon is next year damnit, this is”

And with that Beast Boy fridges me for stealing @seananmcguire lines for my AO3 word count when I’m only a hemidemisemipro if you count patreon O:) #fandom #amwriting #annoyed
(The Bear entering the room is @matociquala of course, but I already left the TED Talk soapbox so I didn’t have to prove I went to readercon once back in the day…)
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Anti-democratic communication is "treason to the democratic way of life" (John Dewey, 1939). Propaganda is communication for warfare, using communication as a weapon. It is anti-democratic communication. #amwriting
There are two important propaganda models: 1) manufacture consent: keep public docile via messages that support status quo/elite leadership; 2) manufacture dissent: keep public engaged and outraged via messages that spread distrust, polarization, and frustration.
Most of us are "tune-outs" who don't pay attention to political news & aren't highly engaged in politics, but for those of us who are highly engaged in politics the manufacture dissent model enlists us as propagandists too, turning us into what Orwell called "screaming lunatics."
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Somewhere in a misty mountain valley, along a stream bed that feeds a creek beside a coughing coal mine, twin Willows grow. Their trunks entwined and their branches tangle in the wind. There a tale, as old as a coal vein, lives still about the winding willows. #amwriting
A legend of a boy, pure of heart, the noble Goodwin Able, and the spirit Fae of a Willow tree who came to life to save him. This boy, who spoke to spirits of water, earth, and light and lived a life of simple service, died with saintly purpose.
Yet his bones are not interred in casket, dirt, or ash. His soul instead forever joined with the Fae’s who gave her self, a creature of the ancient world who lived a hundred years and came to love the young boy, Good.
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📚Questions to ask a literary agent on The Call: a 🧵 for #amquerying authors with tips from an agented author & book editor [not an exhaustive list] (1/10)

#writingcommunity #querytip #amwriting
First up: the mere fact that you’re #amquerying is something to be proud of. Rejection is normal in this industry but know that the right agent for you is out there, whether it’s for this book, the next one, or all of them! (2/10)

#writingcommunity #amwriting #writersoftwitter
1) Do you use a written contract/agreement? (I personally think this is a must)
2) Are you signing me for this one book or are you a career agent? What if you don’t like the next book?
3) Will I be working with any interns/assistants/co-agents? (3/10)

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About 1500 words today. Not a lot, but they're good words. I love sitting on my awesome deck with a view of the mountain peaks and agonizing over every individual word as I need it.

I write slow. I go back and edit as I go. You're not supposed to do that, but that's my process. All the writing people say you're supposed to get it all down fast, then go back and edit. I edit afterwards too, and then edit again, and keep doing that.

I even re-edit things I've already published. I think it makes be a better writer, because I always see places for improvement. and the things I see lead me to write better as I go. It's slow, but it's what I do.

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10 things I wish they taught me in film school, #screenwriter edition. 🧵
1.Networking is a long-term game.

It might seem like getting ‘access’ to industry gatekeepers is the most important thing. It is not. Building a genuine, long-term relationship is.
2.Competitions are a tool, not a goal.

Every new writer should enter competitions, but placements are only helpful if you go out and use them to hustle.

PS: @Coverfly has a waiver program for those who can’t afford it.
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Marriage Masterclass Part 1: Follow The Science!
Welcome to the Twitter version of my Marriage Masterclass. Over the course of the next few days and a fair amount of tweets I will unlock the secret ingredients to marital bliss, thus giving you the gift of a joyous union.
Sorry, that sounds a bit wanky, doesn't it? Let me rephrase. I've made all the marriage mistakes, so you don't have to. I'm going to share my mistakes with you — I call them Husband Numbers One and Two — and offer some handy tips to help you choose and keep the perfect spouse.
So, what makes me an expert? A very notched bedpost, two divorces and three marriages. No need to do the maths, that's the correct ratio. I may be many things, but bigamist I am not.
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Hey, brilliant writers! I shared this in a couple of virtual events last week. This is how I pitch a story to producers, and you can use it to pitch to agents or editors, too.
#WritingCommunity #screenwriting #MondayMotivation #WritersofTwitter
Remember, the person you're pitching your story to may have to pitch it to someone else! A literary agent will pitch it to editors. A book editor may pitch it to execs or sales reps. A producer may pitch it to investors. So keep it simple!

#HowToPitch #amwriting #writinglife
1. Unless time is a real constraint, take just a minute for small talk before launching into your pitch. Establish some rapport.

#HowToPitch #publishing #screenwriting
Read 12 tweets
I just had a conversation with a writing student about the perpetual making-time-to-write conundrum, and I have some insights I want to share about the problem with the advice writers receive and the approaches to writing and productivity that get celebrated. A thread!
Think about the narratives about writing and productivity you've been taught:

I tried to remember times I had learned about writing process in high school, and the only time I remember talking about how the books we read were written was Thoreau. Life in the woods!
I know most writers live in ordinary places and have day jobs or teach writing or do school visits to supplement their book income.

But it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the writing of someone in the woods, fully immersed in writing, is somehow deeper or truer.
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#WritingCommunity #books #amwriting

I arrived in the Big Apple, New York City from the hills of Natal, South Africa to glamour-shock. The big city lights intimidated me in so many ways. It’s safe to say I was not prepared for the life that awaited me in the Big Apple
In the absence of my mother, community, and the priest I had no one to guide me. As such, I had to rely solely on what they taught me.
It remained to be seen if that would keep me on the straight and narrow.
Truth is one is never prepared for the charms of the big Apple.
Natal didn’t present a lot of challenges to my character and tests to my spirituality.
The immediate struggle I faced in the concrete jungle of #NewYorkCity was to fit in. I had to fit in if I were to properly integrate and function in that environment.
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