Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #amwriting

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Too often, authors think of exposition as something to avoid — but as I frequently discuss w/ my editing clients, some exposition is necessary to write an effective story.

Here are 6 tips to demystify exposition & some strategies you can use to do it right (an #amwriting 🧵):
1. Clarify the when & where. In the first 20 pgs or so, we should typically know:

- If we’re in the present, past or future
- Roughly what year it is
- Where we are geographically
- If it’s a real or fantasy world

Otherwise, your story can feel placeless.
2. Don’t info-dump. Avoid long standalone passages of exposition. But how to tell if you’re info-dumping?

Take out the exposition sentences & see if they can stand on their own. If they make sense out of the context of the narrative, you’re likely info-dumping.
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Almost every novel includes dialogue, but it’s tough to nail. Bad dialogue can undermine your story & make your writing look amateurish.

Here are 5 tips based on the dialogue mistakes I often see as a developmental editor (an #amwriting 🧵):
1. Fix mismatched attributions. If the tag that comes after a line of dialogue follows any character other than the character who just spoke, the reader will get confused. Generally, make sure the speaker is the 1st person you mention after the line of dialogue.
2. Show reactions. Line after line of dialogue w/ no break becomes tiring to read. Show us what they’re doing during the scene, their emotional reactions, tone of voice, etc. These details make the dialogue more realistic, esp. if there’s a dramatic moment in the conversation.
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Hi new friends! Thanks for joining conversation here, typically re:
-survivor care & abuse in churches
-critical analysis of “biblical” family life teaching & high control religion
-advocacy for children
-storytelling Scripture
#amquerying #amwriting ⬇️🧵
#amquerying my novel THE DAUGHTER:
SPEAK+#shinyhappypeople: Stay-at-home-daughter Hope grapples w/religious OCD, forbidden ministry ambitions, & web of abuse cultivated by her Christian dominionist community as she fights to find the self she was always taught to put to death.
-#greatparentingrescue-esque non-fiction book critically analyzing theological/sociological influences on "biblical" family life/parenting ideology.

-MG fantasy: Hobbitish hedgehogs & ornery feline steeds save fairyland from moths that steal all the animals' tears.
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You may have an incredible plot, great characters, & interesting scenes, but if your writing doesn’t hold up on a sentence level, it’s unlikely you’ll retain readers.

Here are 5 sentence-level mistakes I’ve seen new & seasoned writers make — & how to fix them (an #amwriting 🧵):
1. Redundant phrasing. Using extraneous words or phrases can make your writing clunky & hard to read.

Simplify your sentences. Make sure each word is necessary & serves a purpose. If you can take a word out w/out changing the meaning of the sentence, cut it.
2. Heavy-handed foreshadowing. Phrasing like “little did she know…” may SEEM like it builds suspense, but it actually tells the reader that something is about to happen & reduces the impact when it does. Let the reader experience the surprise when it comes.
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One of the most common novel structures is also one of the trickiest to pull off: the multi-storyline narrative.

Here are the 5 biggest mistakes I see when editing multiple-storyline novels, so you can catch & correct them in your own WIP (an #amwriting 🧵):
1. Switching storylines too frequently. This can make readers feel jostled & keep them from getting invested in the story.

To avoid a sense of whiplash, give readers ample time (at least a full scene) to get immersed in each character/storyline before moving on to the next.
2. Waiting too long btwn storylines. On the other hand, sitting w/ a single storyline for too long creates imbalance & slows down your pacing/plot momentum.

Try to dedicate a near-equal # of pages to ea. storyline. Stay consistent to keep the reader equally engaged w/ each one.
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Everyone has a novel in them somewhere, but for beginners, the hardest things to do is get started. It can feel overwhelming, but I've got a few tips for how to start a novel if you've never written one before (or even if you have!) 🧵

#amwriting #writingcommunity

1/? Image
1. Read! If you haven't read widely in the genre you want to write, I suggest strongly starting there. See what excellent books look like and how experienced authors do their thing. Good writers are good readers, so if you've already read a ton, you're off to a great start!
2. Learn your characters. There's something called a character profile that is designed to help you fully understand your character(s) before you start writing. Google "free character profiles" and fill out a few for your main characters. They're fun AND helpful!
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A bad ending can give readers a bad impression of your book. The last thing you want is for them to finish the final page & feel unsatisfied.

So how can you tell if your ending is strong enough? Here are 5 Qs to help you make sure your ending is effective (an #amwriting 🧵):
1. Has the conflict been resolved? You hooked your reader w/ an intriguing point of conflict. If they reach the end, it’s b/c they want to see that conflict play out.

Readers want some level of resolution. Your ending doesn’t have to be happy, but it should offer closure.
2. Are loose ends tied up? A bad book ending leaves readers w/ unanswered questions. By the end, all subplots & character arcs should have a sense of finality.
They can be addressed at any point prior to the final scene/pages of your MS, as long as they’re resolved at some point.
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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.

Read 10 tweets
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."

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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.

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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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