process & motivation:

  • Set a word count goal for each day. Break it down into smaller goals so you can cross them off as you go.
  • Have an overall goal to work towards. Decide how long you want your piece to be, and a timeframe of when you will publish it.
  • Don't compare yourself and your processes to others'. Don't worry if you can't/don't write as much as others. Only you matter.
  • Your first draft is going to be shit. Everyone's is. Don't worry about it. There's always plenty of time to change it. Just keep writing.
  • It doesn't matter how bad you think it is, just keep writing!
  • Set a time each day for writing when you're at your best, e.g. morning. Spend the rest of the time on other activities (marketing, research, etc)
  • If you feel writing is becoming a chore, write a scene where your characters are doing something fun, joking around. It might never make it into your book, but it will be fun to write. Make writing playful.

writing & plot tips:

  • Think about your overall theme.
  • Jenna's tips for Sagging Middle syndrome:
    • 1. Outline - write one at the beginning. If your middle sucks, you'll be able to see that straight away.
    • 2. Structure - a well-defined plot.
    • 3. Fuck Shit Up - be as horrible to your character as you can! Make it really hard for them. Throw in something totally mean and unexpected and see how they react.
    • 3a. CCB - add a Complication, Crisis or Breaking Point.
    • 4. Watch Your Subplots - make sure they don't take over.
    • 5. Keep Moving the Plot - every chapter needs to move the plot forward in some way. Keep this goal in mind as you write.
  • If you get blocked and don't know what to write next, go back and examine the previous 5 scenes. Do they need to be changed for the story to move forward?
  • Often the audience will know things that the characters don't know yet. This can get boring if it goes on too long. Take advantage of this by adding in dramatic irony (e.g. The Good Place : Eleanor: "wow, I almost died!")
  • Don't forget to look at the big picture. Make sure there are no typos etc, but also focus on the overall story. Sometimes showing the piece to someone else can help you with this.
  • example: Dirk Gently. The show is practically unspoilable because if you have the answers without the questions, it doesn't make any sense. You need both to get the whole picture.
    • Work out the questions and the answers at the same time?
    • Or work backwards from answer to question?

editing & technical tips:

  • don't use the same word too many times in a paragraph/passage.
  • try reading it out loud to see if it flows.
  • make sure to use enough dialogue tags so the reader knows who's talking.
  • try to keep a balance between exposition/backstory and action.
  • Read over your writing several times. Take a break for at least a day in between.
  • DON'T just rely on a spell checker to find incorrect words.
  • Don't spend too much time on editing. Overworking is bad.
  • Have it professionally edited if possible.


  • eavesdrop on people in cafes, public transport, the supermarket, anywhere. Use their conversations or general situations.
  • Use common sense to decide a character's motivation. If it doesn't make sense that they would do something, don't make them do it for no reason. Think of a situation that would force them to do it.

feedback & criticism:

  • Try to have as many people read the piece as you can before publishing and ask for their feedback.
  • Take advice from other people, but don't dwell on it too much. Make sure you keep writing new material as well as going back to change what you've already written.
  • Don't take criticism badly. If it's constructive criticism, that's good! Learn from it! If it's petty criticism, ignore it. People might even say conflicting things about your work (e.g. it flows, doesn't flow, etc). Most of the 'feedback' is probably just people's opinions or preferences.
    • This applies to both before and after the piece is published.
    • All in all, the only opinion that matters is your own.

genre tips:

  • If you are going to write genre, you need to stick to that genre. Readers will expect a certain thing when they look for books in a particular genre, and if it doesn't meet their expectations, they won't keep reading.
  • mystery/thriller:
    • you need to think like both the criminal and the detective at the same time. Use visual aids to map out the crime.
    • mysteries are about finding out who the bad guy is. thrillers are about trying to stop the bad guy from doing what they're going to do.

inspirational quotes:

  • "Don't get it perfect. Just get it written."
  • “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page.” ― Jodi Picoult


nov 3 2018 ∞
nov 21 2018 +