Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #writing

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Now’s the time to get your book ready.
Here’s 10 #writing tips
1)cut your work until it bleeds
2)write because you cannot not write
3)good writing doesn't need to shout at you- it lurks, unaware, & you fall under its spell
4) Characters have a life before & after the story ends
5)Power lies in what is not said.
6)if it feels obvious, it is.
7)There’s nothing wrong with simplicity; ordinariness is the danger area.
8) we read to learn, escape, be entertained, diverted, stimulated, empowered.
9) We read to live lives we can’t live and to help us understand those we don’t want to live.
10)a story that does all the work for us, leaves us no room to feel anything, is limited. Trust the reader to imagine the life after the novel.
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There's a term in Hollywood called "bump." When a reader/producer/exec reads your script & they "bump" on something in your writing, you'll get a note to improve it till it doesn't bump them. Jordan Peele said (paraphrasing) he thinks of it as a game to get drafts down to 0 notes
I've written a lot of drafts in the past three years & it's helped me get to zero notes faster by adjusting my mindset when drafting or revising to anticipate what my bosses will bump on as much as I can predict. When your reader gets your vision, notes will align with yours.
Often, it's small stuff. For example, I was working on a scene where a character turned on the shower. The water was running way too long while she spoke to someone else so it was distracting. I bumped on when she turned on the shower & revised it.
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If you’re taking the opportunity of #writing during this period of #Isolation, here’s a short thread on how to prepare your novel for submission:
- stories must propel us towards an ending, but the end must feel like a new beginning
- novels work best when they linger
It requires great effort and skill to write simply. Writing can feel like painting at times, it is layered and builds from strong foundations. If the foundation is full of obstructions, distractions and mess, it will be impossible to layer.
Know what you want to say before putting pen to paper. You don’t have to know all details of plot and all the arguments, but if you know WHY you are writing this story at this time, the reader will follow you.
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I know not everyone is a fan of #screentime [feh] for their #kids, but in the face of #CoronaVirus the #KidsMedia world is stepping up.
@bigbadboo Studio is removing the paywall for its #VOD platform @OznozKids. If you're not familiar with it, now's the time to become so, especially if your home speaks more than one language. #Oznoz has 200+ hours of #video content for #children, in 10 languages.
Podcast @wowintheworld is getting activities & resources to #teachers to send home as needed. Their #wowsheet designed by educators can be used with any #Wow episode ( They're also offering free teacher memberships via @FirstBook (…)
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I learned to be a writer while my life was in total chaos. Decades later, I have a beautiful office to work in, but I still do my best #writing typing hurriedly on subway trains, in taxi-cabs, and airport lounges.…

My CBC column on where I write is really a primer on HOW I write: what it takes to be able to write when you're sad, or anxious, or wracked with self-doubt.

Unquestionably the most important skill I've acquired as a writer.

"Even though there were days when the writing felt unbearably awful, and some when it felt like I was mainlining some kind of powdered genius and sweating it out through my fingertips..."

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1/15 Thread about EDITS.✏️As someone on both sides of the publishing fence I wanted to talk a bit about the editing process + how to deal with it. Having your book edited can be terrifying - after all, it’s something you’ve worked on for ages + now it’s in someone else’s control!
2/15 Of course that feels weird. AIM: the aim of edits is to make your book better + to ensure it appeals to as many readers as possible. Often, as the author you’ve spent so long working on your ms that you naturally become a bit blind to it + so another pair of eyes is crucial.
3/15 One thing to keep in mind throughout is that you + your publisher have the SAME goal - to sell books + reach readers. We’re all on the same side! ATTITUDE: when you receive big edits on your ms, the temptation is to read them all at once, panic + respond with a knee-jerk
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Read sad story last night about Dr. Bucci, 50 year old Phychology & Brain Sciences Dept. Chairman, at Dartmouth that committed #Suicide 11 months after a lawsuit was filed by graduate #students in his department. He
2/ was NOT accused of sexual misconduct, but named in the suit for knowing about the professors’ inappropriate behavior as the Chair.I share many of the same feelings he expressed to friends and colleagues in his emails before he took his own life like: the case was deeply
3/ personal; reputation had been damaged; physical health diminished; false portrayal of his actions; being blamed unfairly; allegations & process “unfair”; how can they ever undo what they did to me & #wronglyaccused. Similarly, how I had reported the #disability
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Here is a strange perception about writing, and one I am only somewhat sure of. (Risky.) #writing
When I started, I was careful to dot a lot of the Is and cross a lot of the Ts. That meant a great deal of backwork which never saw the light of day, and a lot of visible architecture so that you knew my worlds had reality and depth.
(Partly important because they were also, clearly, bonkers.)

So I'd write a sequence where a policemen was briefly visible in the street, and then in the next chapter there'd be a murder and I'd account for where that policeman was and why he couldn't help.
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I just saw a comment on DriveThruRPG complaining about the price of an RPG because of its low wordcount...

Do people know how much human effort goes into even one line of rules?

[Small thread]
#gamedesign #TTRPG
Take the 800 word RPG that @OneShotRPG commissioned me to make in 1 month.

Conceptualizing alone took days.

I did 5 playtests. That’s 25-30 person-hours of work. Then feedback.

I did a bunch of pseudo-playtests, just running the ideas by folks or making math models.
I wrote 4 complete overhalls of the game. That’s like 800*4= 3200 words.

Of course, words is reductive, because you have to think about the feedback you receive, spend time making mental models, THEN figure out how to communicate that succinctly.
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Woke up so ready to get back to writing! I’m definitively finishing this sub-section today, but I would be thrilled to make major progress into the next sub-section too. Knowing how long this main body section (with 3 sub-sections) will be helps figure out the shape of the rest.
Current shape of the chapter is a beefy intro, a big body section with 3 sub-sections & then either a smaller section then a conclusion, or I move the ideas for that smaller section into the book conclusion & go straight into the chapter conclusion when I finish this section.
A lot of folks who have read my first book, #BodymindsReimagined, have commented on how clearly organized/presented the writing & argument is in it. That’s meaningful to me bc I spend A LOT of time working on chapter structure. The order & style of presenting an argument matters!
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Came to it because of this response...
(Both takes are accurate)
I was reminded of a few different things I’ve read over the years. All having to do with writing (and life).

What follows is a thread outlining that...
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Satlick: Centaur Detective #7
I'm giving up on the story in picture format, it's a pain in the ass for me and elongates the whole process.
So it's back to extra long threads for now.
I'll use @threadreaderapp at the end for those who find it a bit much.
Now where were we...
"I dislike small talk Commander as well you know, the Darwinists, while a problem, are not our current problem" Saltlick replied in a professorial tone "Honestly I don't know how you people get anything done!"
"You people?" the other three people said at once, leaping at a golden
opportunity to flummox the centaur.
"Are you a speciest now Saltlick?" asked the commander* *Like a racist except for other species rather than other people of the same biological class, seen as terrible character flaw and indicator of stupidity by most people in the city.**
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Here is a thread about What Literary Agents are looking for in New Writers:

1/ A clear idea. However complex the story, a debut novel must offer a simple proposition of author, pitch and market.
2/ the pitch must promise the potential of moving the readership to a new place, but not by completely ditching what has been proven already to have worked.
I call it a bridge from somewhere familiar to somewhere new and unexpected.
3/ a debut novel must showcase talent and voice, but not at the expense of story. Self- confidence in the voice, editorial discipline and a certain degree of risk taking must all be evident.
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"The emblem's sun disk has 21 rays, equal in size and shape, with the single odd ray at top and the two even rays on the bottom. Number 21 is a venerated number, standing for rebirth/renaissance in the ancient and native Kurdish religion of Yazdanism..."

21? cf. Hebrew Shin ש
Smells like worship of Nergal and his "group of seven" demons...…

3 x 7 = 21 ש

"The number three came to be recognised as a mark of magic, so that 'anything that is repeated three times is magical' was a frequently quoted rule."

Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition
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I’m teaching a college writing course this semester, and I’m noticing a lot of ways that #writing is like doing #math. Here’s a short list. Can you think of others? (thread) #iteachmath
1. Both involve reasoning and making convincing arguments.
2. Both involve creative choices about what arguments are most compelling.
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RESOURCES FOR WRITERS: a list of organisations, opportunities & support, which you really ought to have on your writerly radar, and which I wish had been on my own radar earlier in my career. Hope you find them useful. #thread #amwriting #writer
If you're a writer, join @Soc_of_Authors. They're great advocates for writers' rights, & offer PDF guides on working as a writer, specific advice on contracts etc for members & discounts on books! They also offer grants for work in progress & run annual awards.
@Soc_of_Authors Anyone in the arts should be aware of @ace_national (or @CreativeScots / @Arts_Wales_ / @ArtsCouncilNI, depending where you're based). They support writers through fundings opportunities - for individuals & organisations.
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With more people starting to write their GRFP apps, I feel the need to throw in some non-technical advice for writing these statements: stay true to your self. This means:

1. Write a genuine narrative about *your* life and interests. Don’t try to put on a show for anyone.

it’ll be painfully obvious to the reader if you are simply trying to write what you think they want to read/fund. For both parts, speak your truth.

This leads to

2. You can and should take feedback into account, but *do not* let anyone fundamentally change your statement.
as a continuation of 2, I ended my statement with the following:

“I believe training at UCSF supplemented with the NSF GRF will allow me to be the best scientist, educator, and activist to serve my community.”

Of course, I received an edited version that had “activist” removed
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I’ve had a few followers inquire about my process #writing in 5 acts. Which I’ll talk about it in this thread. By the way, this is my process for outlining and I’m not suggesting you should be doing this or that my way is better than your way, or the only way. 1/
I definitely believe there are more efficient ways and ways of thinking that are better to getting scripts finished which is priority 1 IMO. But there are people who have long processes and if you enjoy exploring through the writing and it’s more of hobby then go for it. 2/
But in my experience the real difference between amateurs or hobby writers and professionals is professionals finish. More often than not. Professionals understand a paycheck waits at the other end but only if it’s done. Hobbyists enjoy the process and maybe they finish. 3/
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How are you writing your dissertation? How did you write yours? How do you write your books? This is my method (so far). Note: I’m a historian. #writing 1/
My approach consists of 4 separate stages: 1) gathering sources, 2) reading/analyzing the sources I have collected, 3) organizing the sources and making a top down writing outline, 4) writing. 2/
Some people do research and write one chapter, and then do the same process for another. Others do research while writing. I don’t adopt these approaches. 3/
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The Habit
By @DickieArmour
A crime thriller


It was a clichéd habit.

He liked drugs & girls.

He was a monster too.

#CrimeFiction #fiction #crimethriller #thriller #mystery #writing #TheHabit…

A broker in The City.

Son of a famous F1 driver.

Best mates with a senior policeman.

Too many to name them.

Young women raped.

They were in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

That place should have been somewhere safe.

The back of a black, London taxi
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Good morning bbs. We are so close to the weekend! Today I’m attending a protest & having lunch with a colleague so my work #goals are minimal:
-Complete reverse outline process to re-organize my book chapter

Don’t know what a reverse outline is? Ooh baby are you in for a treat!
Thread on #writing & #revision: A reverse outline is a way to see the structure of what you’ve written in a draft in order to reorganize it. You start by marking up a pdf or print copy of your draft & numbering every paragraph. My book chap has 33 paragraphs.
Once you’ve numbered, make a list from 1 to whatever number of paragraphs you have. Re-read each paragraph & write a short summary (a phrase, not even a sentence) describing what each paragraph is about or doing.
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Many academics find sitting down at the computer and starting to write to be the most difficult challenge facing them. One of the reasons for this, as one of my students put it so well, is that “if I never start, then I never fail.”
#AcWri #PhD
Another reason academics can't get started writing is getting out of the habit of writing–or never having had a writing habit.
While tough to overcome, this obstacle does have some straightforward solutions.
Here are ten (10) solutions.
#acwri #PhD
1. Make other tasks contingent on writing
An excellent way of dealing with the difficulty of getting started is to make a preferred task contingent on a nonpreferred task, as the behavior management experts put it (Boice 1983).
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#JhelumFables , a 5 day visual storytelling workshop which I am conducting with youth in #Kashmir kicked off today. There couldn't have been a better classroom than the picturesque houseboat ROOTS situated on river Jhelum.

P.S: The best way to spend holidays in company of ✏️📸
On day two of the visual storytelling workshop I interacted with each participant. We did small excercises to enhance imagination. Later they chose quaint corners of Roots houseboat situated on river #Jhelum & scribbled stories in company of wood & water. #Kashmir
Light experiments inside classroom on day 3 of #JhelumFables
A chair placed on the wooden Verandah of the houseboat facing west became a prop for portrait shooting- as participants tried side lighting & back lighting before venturing out on the river banks with their camera & pen
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It’s #Monday, I’m boozing it up at a 4 seat bar, the #barkeep is a long pourer, and I’m all fucking set if I get something stuck between my teeth.👇🙃 #RandomThoughts #drinking #OutAndAbout
Shooting the shit with a friend, she’s proud to be doing well with her plants - unusual for her.

The key was a #video explaining the benefits of pruning.

She needs REASONS. She got them.

Apparently, pruning in a particular manner stimulates growth hormones.
Of course, this led to me initiating a discussion about the #movie I just watched on Hulu, called “The German Doctor.”

The main character was Josef Mengele. #ThisHappened

People, this is why I’m known in my circles as “The Black Hole Of Conversation.” SMTH
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