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Discussions about the writing craft.


Welcome to the home for writers. We talk about important matters for writers, news affecting writers, and the finer aspects of the writing craft.

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Monday: Writer’s Block and Motivation

Tuesday: Brainstorming

Wednesday: General Discussion

Thursday: Writer’s Block and Motivation

Friday: Brainstorming

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Sunday: Writing Tools, Software, and Hardware

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Clarion West - 1/19/24 1:00PM Pacific Time

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2,887,882 Subscribers


Accidental writing

Recently I decided to write a “chapter” out of my life and post it on Facebook, just for fun. People have always been curious about my life (it has been a wild ride) so this was a way of giving them a little insight. The “chapter” that I posted was only about recent events but now people are wanting more. How do I start from the beginning (15 years ago) after already writing this one “chapter” that was based off of last week events?

Any help or suggestions are appreciated.

03:59 UTC


Examples of the best written prose of characters engaged in work or problem solving.

What are some of the best examples you can think of of prose meticulously describing a character working at something. Whether it’s something exciting and life saving, or the boring daily grind.

What made these pieces good in your opinion?

03:33 UTC


Slow writer - how to get more efficient?

Hi all!

So, one of the biggest problems I'm dealing with as I'm working on trying to build a writing career is that I write really, really slowly. I always have. In college and grad school I had to spend at least 5x more hours on the average paper than most other students. I also have to put a huge amount of time into editing. I recently wrote a 2,000-word short story and it took me 30+ hours to get it to the point where I was vaguely satisfied with it.

The quality of my work is reasonably good, but idk how to make this into a profitable venture when so far I haven't found a way to produce written content in decent quantities. (Just thinking about how many essays/short stories/books/etc the average writer has to produce to make an income.)

I would very much welcome suggestions for how to get more efficient at it! Thank you so much. :)

(Ftr I know the most important thing is to spend a lot of time practicing writing, and I do. So I'm looking for other suggestions. :)

03:25 UTC


Are there "dialogue"-analyzers?

Basically, I'd like to avoid dialogue becoming too interchangeable. So, I was wondering if there was a tool that analyzed words characters used and compared them against the vocabulary of other characters and made sure there isn't too significant overlap.

03:20 UTC


Describe your favourite OC

How’d you come up with them, what’s a good synopsis of their story, and/or what’s your favourite thing about having written them?

1 Comment
03:09 UTC


Place to Read/Have Read First 3 Pages?

Not an entire chapter, certainly not an entire manuscript. Is there a place to privately share just your first few pages for critique/reaction? Kind of readmyplaydotcom but for manuscripts.

02:23 UTC


Looking for some advice about starting as a beta reader on Fiverr

So, I'm about to go on Fiverr as a beta reader. I haven't even set up my profile yet, I'm in the "reasearch" phase. What I want to know is what would you expect from a beta reader? How much would you be comfortable paying? What would you be looking for in a beta reader's profile? Would you be willing to communicate before ordering?

My idea of beta reading is providing feedback that can improve the text. That would necessarily involve pointing out mistakes and shortcomings. Would people be open to that? Or am I going to get a bunch of 1-star reviews because I didn't "get" their text?

I'm a literature graduate and I read a lot (~100 books/year). Those are my only qualifications. What are my chances?

02:14 UTC


Does calling someone a " hellfire " is always about lust?

Yeah, the Hellfire thing is, as far as I saw from THOND, mostly used for forbidden desires, everyone who watched the movie knows what I'm talking about

But what I wanna know is, does it NECESSARILY, need to be lustful? and I don't mean the song use, like the word

Can it be used for someone because from some eyes is considered being off-limits to have feelings for, or that the one who have feelings will be doomed if they went with them?

It's just because I got a fanfic with an oc, an abused child, who got through her early years very wrapped views about the world around her

She doesn't have any ( obviously ) sexual attraction towards that kid, it's more about what would happen to her if she followed her heart

02:08 UTC


Advice for making your writing less stiff?

Whenever I write, the characters always seem to come off unnatural, and forced. I can't write them without the characters acting like robots with automated responses. And the way I transition between actions is just so stiff. Any tips on how to fix/help this?

02:06 UTC


How do you approach "write what you know"?

A common piece of advice with writing is to "write what you know", however I have spoken to a lot of authors who have approached that from different angles.

Some authors think of it as, take whatever story you are writing, and then draw upon your experiences to give authenticity. Ie, if your writing a scene of being chased by a trex, channel the time you were chased by a dog as a kid. That would help you figure out what that fear was actually like.

Other authors I've talked to have thought of it as a starting point. Ie, thinking about that time they were chased by a dog as a kid, deciding to tell a story about the feeling of being chased, heightening it to a bigger thing, so winding up with a story about being chased by a trex.

And of course there is always memoir. Ie, as a kid you were chased by a trex, so you write a story about the time you were chased by a trex.

How do you approach "write what you know?

01:59 UTC


Where can I post my stories online?

I've been writting for a while but don't have much motivation to make full novels because I no one sees my work. I have this friend on here that said to start a webe series where I post chapters in an "episodic" way so that way I can have motivation. The thing is though, Idk where to post them, is there anywhere I can post my stories and maybe (Not required) monetize them?

01:33 UTC


Help with first draft ?

So I started writing my idea for a novel in August, and I have everything outlined. The characters, backstories, plot, etc. I’ve tried being a pantser, but I never can actually finish a story when I do that. So now I have everything planned, but when I write, all the words feel wrong. I know what I want to say, but my writing itself just feels mediocre. I know it’s just a first draft and I shouldn’t be worried about that, but sometimes it takes me so long because it’s like I forget how to form a good sentence. I’ve been told I’m a good writer, but I’m struggling so much with this. Is it normal to feel this way? I know the first draft is supposed to be bad, but the way I’m struggling is really making me doubt myself. Does anyone have any advice to help with this?

01:31 UTC


How do I effectively show a character's thoughts and feelings during a fight as well as the stakes of said fight?


This is an area of writing that I'm bad at. How do I effectively show a character's thoughts and feelings during a fight in a book?

01:00 UTC


Is it childish or "cringe" to include a lot of onomatopoeia in a novel?

Some of you here may already know this, but I've been working on a novel where music and rhythm are the central elements and the protagonist has auditory acuteness bordering on overstimulation. As such, it includes a lot of onomatopoeia (snap, beep, tick, boom, hum etc.) in my best attempt to convey the necessary auditory sensations to the reader. However, when I showed a portion of the draft to one of my writing friends, he remarked that using onomatopoeia in a prose novel made it look childish and cringy, and I should cut most if not all of them out for my work to ever be taken seriously. I did try and defend my position, but he remained steadfast. However, when I take them out as he says, the sensations I want to convey just don't hit the same way.

What do you guys think about this issue? Are any of you actually turned off by onomatopoeia in a prose story? If you are, could you suggest better ways to work auditory sensations into the story without cringing the readers? This is an important part of my story so I would like to get some more opinions on this before I progress more into the draft.

Edit: Sample from rough draft





The repetitive monotone of the wall clock behind her bore into Irene's skull like nails into plywood as she picked at the rubber bands on her wrists, tugging a broad black one back with her fingertips and snapping them to her skin in a wandering rhythm.

Slap slappity slap slap.

"Ms. Lyrel."

Now a narrower one, this one yellow with a higher tone. Chasing the elusive rhythm in the futile hope that the aimless snapping and the stings on her wrists could drown out the monotone ticking, the incoherent mumbles around her, the teacher's tedious drone, the dull gray walls boxing her in.

Snap snapsnap snappity snap, snap snapsnap–

"Ms. Lyrel, are you with us?"

00:52 UTC


How to write Fromsoft/Elden ring esc dialogue?

A lot of fromsofts games (Elden ring, Sekiro, Dark souls) have specific art style and design that is a huge inspiration for how I shape my worlds. One of the things I love the most in those games is the dialogue for the bosses.


“Forefathers one and all, Bear witness!!” -Godrick

“O, Death, become my blade once more” -Maliketh

I actually don’t really know how to describe this type of dialogue, I guess poetic or old-spoken, but it’s what I strive to write for my characters. How would one go about writing in this form?

00:51 UTC


What are some uncommon cliched phrases?

I know we all know the cliches “deep blue eyes” or “our tongues battled for dominance” but are there any that don’t come to mind at first?

Here’s mine:

Overstuffed sofas. For some reason if a character is sitting on a sofa it is always overstuffed.

00:08 UTC


Starting Out


Hiya, this is completely unplanned, and I decided to do this while I was on a run not even an hour ago, so this is really spur of the moment. I’m not really sure what this is or what I’m expecting to get out of this, but I guess it’s a leap of faith. I’ve been struggling with my mental health for years and it’s been even worse for this past year, I’m young and I had a lot of good things happening to me and I made a lot of bad decisions. In these bad decisions I’ve been divorced, in minor legal investigations, a two other failed relationships in the past five months, not including my ex-wife. I have since been to serious therapy (therapies?) and had a lot of revelations and self-actualization. I’ve improved a lot. I’m sorry again, I didn’t plan any of this out. I’ve known for a long time that I want to get involved in filmmaking/storytelling and the like. I’ve never made any pushes for it because I never had any faith in myself. I’m trying to change that by pushing myself to make this post.

That may be the most skippable part of this. My main point I want to make is that I do one day want to make a Moon Knight project, and I have a deep personal connection to the character, especially in the past few months with many of my mental health struggles. I’m not sure what advice or help or really what I want, but I don’t have a big circle of people I know nor really any community I belong to. I’m wondering if anyone would help me kind of get myself out there and make connections? If anyone on here would want to chat about MK, I’d love to get others’ perspectives because within the next ten years (so I don’t make unrealistic expectations) I want to make a MK project and eventually my own original passion project. I have no desire to be as brash as wanting the financial support something like Spider-Man Lotus got, hell I don’t know the first thing about that kind of work, but I want a place to start, and I’d love to start here, and maybe move out as I learn and make connections and gain inspiration in the coming years. Thanks for any help, again, I’m sorry this is unclear and I still don’t even feel I’m asking for the right thing :/

1 Comment
00:02 UTC


Getting beta readers for a sequel

My problem:

I wrote a book. Got beta readers, did my re-drafts, et cetera. Looking for an agent for it now. In the meantime, though, I've written the first draft of book two. Now, I have a couple of friends who read book one who are going through the sequel, but I can't realistically ask them to read the same book a second time after I move on to draft two; my pathological Midwest politeness won't allow for it. I know they're my friends, and they'd probably do it for me if I asked, but I just feel like I can't.
I don't feel as though I can just send requests for readers out into the world, either. It's one thing to ask of someone to read your book, it's another thing entirely to ask them to read two books and report their findings.
So I've got exactly three people reading book two for me, which I can only ask them to do once, and I can't ask anyone else to read both for me. What should I do here?

23:48 UTC


Recommendations for good multi-POV books?

Hi everyone,

Love this group! Wondering if folks might recommend good multi-POV books they have read. I'm interested in trying my hand at one set in a speculative fiction world but am very open to finding inspiration in multi-POV novels of any genre. Thanks!

23:43 UTC


Writing a villain

I’m trying to write a villain in my story but you see, my main character does not know he is a villain since he manipulates her so she does not see the horrible things he does.

I want the reader to be unknowinh of his actions as well, and eventually it will be revealed he’s been horrible to the main character. So to « manipulate » the reader too, since the pov is through my mc’s eyes. Thanks!

23:33 UTC


How do I write music?

So, I want to start the first chapter with just music. The music is non-lyrical, and I imagine it as a piano playing in the background of the scene. I don't intend it to be a specific song for the reader to know, just a vague genre they can get the vibe of.

I was thinking of just giving up and writing a short description of the sound, or adding some random poetic lyrics, but now I'm really curious if something like this can be/has been done before.

23:14 UTC


Am I missing something with short stories??

Hey all.

So the background of this is that I do like short stories. They're not usually my go-to choice (more of a novel gal lol), but despite that, I've read loads over the years from big authors/playwrights like Chekhov, Dickens, Hemingway, to modern writers, and then ones from random unknown authors, and I've enjoyed them quite a bit.

I've challenged myself to write my own over the years, and after some serious editing, they're a lot better than before. Some are for practising techniques or effects, some are to try out short ideas that I've needed to get out of my head, and on the other side of that coin, one or two have been written to shamelessly fulfil a writing competition request :L. One of which I won, but I was absolutely writing for the entry because I knew I could win (this was university lmaooo), not for the story itself, so I feel really bad about that.

Now at the point where I'm regularly submitting short stories to competitions. Most of the time it's a rejection, but I don't mind that because I know I've got a long way to go in terms of quality. The thing is that, every time I read the previous year's winning entries, they're... really bad?? One I read tonight included the person throwing out random disconnected, thinly-veiled personal life-story details in a way that didn't benefit the story whatsoever. It's so upsetting lmaoo I thought these competitions had standards - but then I feel bad for even thinking that because, is there something I'm just not understanding??

Sometimes I see a short story competition/fund that commemorates a dead person, and then look at the previous winners and they really give me the impression that they've done a "Take The Money And Run"-style heist but with poor writing. it feels so disrespectful in a way idk. It's all "hi! (watch me, they'll lap this shit up without me even trying, let's call it 'abstract art') i'm an 80s skater disco-trailer bro who lifts calculus textbooks for an extra fee if you smoke weed and my mum sells flipped bacon on the sides to the seedy funfair that sweeps in every spring, #so relatable, OI!! here's a contemplative plot twist about life and death to make this a Real Short Story".

Like, that's the one that wins lmaooo. Every time.

Honestly I feel like someone's playing a practical joke or something, like there's something I "just don't understand about short stories" that everyone else implicitly gets. (Also secondly, I don't like plot twists where they give you some #i'm14andthisisverydeep 'harsh truth' about life and death, I just like the writer to ask the questions and I'll figure it out as a reader okay)

And like I said, I looooove short stories. But I don't.... get these choices??? How did they win??? I'm not saying "mine is the best you all suck", but I did expect to get beaten by a good (or at the very least, engaging) writer.

My question is, am I missing something with short stories??? Does anyone else feel this way???

EDIT: i apologise if my post is written like a squirrel on coke but it's past midnight and i'm EXHAUSTED i don't need sleep i need answers

23:07 UTC


Is it cheap writing if a plot twist negates any previous conflict? (Or shifts the conflict in a huge way)?

(Not in a "misunderstanding trope" kind of way)

Hi all! I'm working on a longer length fantasy book (having only written short stories before now), and I'm having a hard time grasping ongoing conflict as a concept. Right now, my conflict is set up as follows:

My MC is a royal guard that moonlights as a trained thief for hire. One day, his commander invites him to a meeting and reveals that he is a double agent. He tells MC that he can either help in his plot to kidnap the princess, or die for the many crimes he's committed against the kingdom.

However, once the kidnapping is pulled off, it's revealed that the princess was the mastermind behind the kidnapping plot, and included MC out of personal interest (using a fake name, Princess met MC when they were children. When he joined the palace guard years later, she noticed it was him and decided to rope him in to the kidnapping plot using his commander).

My thought was that that would open up my plot for larger conflict, like MC and Princess reuniting and learning to trust each other again (among other things, like the trials of running from the palace). But now I'm second guessing if this makes the beginning of the book kind of moot, since MC was never actually in any danger. Is it enough that there were bigger forces at play?

Obviously this is a bare-bones summary of my plot. I'm more than happy to answer any questions in the comments, if there's any confusion.

I guess, in a nutshell, can I blindside my narrating character without blindsiding the reader in a negative way?

22:53 UTC


Have you ever been shortlisted for a major writing prize? How long before the official announcement were you notified?

Essentially, I'm trying to plan a few submissions to a couple of pretty reputable contests, and the date overlap between them is quite close, aka a matter of days, and I was thinking about submitting a certain piece I wrote for Contest A to Contest B, though obviously I wouldn't do it if I win or shortlist on Contest A. I had a chat with some author friends who won rather big prizes and they had said they were notified a couple of days before the public announcement. If you've won or been shortlisted in a large ish writing prize, did you have a similar experience of the notification, or were you not notified at all?

(by major prize I mean things like, say, Fitzcarraldo prize, Commonwealth short story prize etc etc, obviously not the Booker or anything)

1 Comment
22:38 UTC


How do you write about a massive giant or beast that a town is built upon?

This sounds very specific and like an odd question, but it appears in media more than you'd think - the dead Titan in The Owl House, Steven Universe has a massive statue for some reason, stuff like that.

​I'm in the process of writing a story for a game project and want the town it's set in to be built on a giant slumbering (or dead) beast, probably some kind of deer, and have no idea how to start.

Are there any general tips or themes that would make writing this part of the plot more interesting?

Are there any resources or examples I could look into? I'm finding it hard to do research about this topic since it's pretty specific, anything would help.

22:37 UTC


What's the show with the worst writing (but somehow still popular) you've come across recently?

I tried watching Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix and it was embarassing. It moved so fast and is one of the worst examples of telling and not showing I've seem from a trending series.

22:34 UTC


Man, the rejection is real.

I know it’s part of the “job”, but how do you allow it to become part of the “job” without it burning a hole through you.

Four straight years of rejection, not a single acceptance.

Two shortlists turned into rejections.

I know King said “get a bigger nail”, but that was in the 80’s.

22:27 UTC


Character Development Questions

My last attempt, if anyone wants to discuss this or writing I'dI'dd love to talk to other writers.

Basic Information

  1. What is your character's full name and any nicknames?

  2. What is your character's age and date of birth?

  3. What is your character's gender identity and sexual orientation?

  4. What is your character's ethnicity, nationality, and race?

  5. What is your character's occupation or role in the story?

Appearance & Mannerisms

  1. Describe your character's physical appearance in detail.

  2. What are your character's unique gestures, mannerisms, or speech patterns?

  3. What is your character's personal style and fashion sense?

  4. Does your character have any distinguishing features, scars, or tattoos?

  5. How does your character feel about their appearance?

Personality & Emotions

  1. What are your character's dominant personality traits?

  2. Is your character an introvert or an extrovert?

  3. What are your character's greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  4. What is your character's biggest fear or phobia?

  5. What is your character's deepest insecurity or self-doubt?

  6. What is your character's love language?

  7. How does your character handle stress and pressure?

  8. What is your character's sense of humor like?

  9. What is your character's temperament and how do they express anger?

  10. What is your character's default emotional state?

Background & Upbringing

  1. Where was your character born and raised?

  2. What was your character's family life like growing up?

  3. What is your character's relationship with their parents and siblings?

  4. What is your character's most vivid childhood memory?

  5. What was your character's education and school experience like?

  6. What was your character's first job or early work experience?

  7. What is your character's religious or spiritual background, if any?

  8. What is your character's socioeconomic background and status?

  9. What cultural traditions or values did your character grow up with?

  10. What historical events has your character lived through?

Relationships & Influences

  1. Who is your character's best friend and what is their relationship like?

  2. Who is your character's love interest or significant other?

  3. Who is your character's mentor, role model, or biggest influence?

  4. Who is your character's rival or nemesis?

  5. Who is your character's biggest ally or supporter?

  6. What is your character's relationship with authority figures?

  7. How does your character interact with strangers or acquaintances?

  8. What is your character's attitude towards romantic relationships?

  9. What is your character's relationship with technology and social media?

  10. What is your character's relationship with nature and the environment?

Lifestyle & Habits

  1. What is your character's daily routine and schedule?

  2. What are your character's hobbies, interests, and leisure activities?

  3. What is your character's diet and exercise regimen?

  4. What is your character's sleep schedule and dream life?

  5. What are your character's vices, bad habits, or guilty pleasures?

  6. What is your character's living situation and home environment?

  7. What is your character's financial situation and spending habits?

  8. What is your character's travel history and dream destinations?

  9. What is your character's relationship with alcohol and drugs?

  10. What is your character's personal hygiene and grooming routine?

Beliefs, Values & Motivations

  1. What are your character's core beliefs and values?

  2. What is your character's moral compass and ethical code?

  3. What are your character's political views and affiliations?

  4. What social issues does your character care about most?

  5. What is your character's life philosophy or mantra?

  6. What is your character's biggest regret or mistake?

  7. What is your character's greatest achievement or proudest moment?

  8. What is your character's idea of success and happiness?

  9. What motivates your character to take action and pursue their goals?

  10. What is your character's purpose or mission in life?

Favorites Section

  1. What is your character's favorite color and what does it represent to them?

  2. What is your character's favorite food and why?

  3. What is your character's favorite music genre and artist?

  4. What is your character's favorite book or literary genre?

  5. What is your character's favorite movie or TV show?

  6. What is your character's favorite hobby or pastime?

  7. What is your character's favorite word or catchphrase?

  8. What is your character's favorite article of clothing or accessory?

  9. What is your character's favorite season and type of weather?

  10. What is your character's favorite holiday or special occasion?

Emotional Wounds & Challenges

  1. What is your character's deepest emotional wound or trauma?

  2. What is your character's biggest challenge or obstacle in life?

  3. What is your character's greatest fear or phobia and how does it hold them back?

  4. What is your character's most toxic or unhealthy relationship?

  5. What is your character's biggest failure or disappointment?

  6. What is your character's most painful loss or grief experience?

  7. What is your character's biggest secret or source of shame?

  8. What is your character's most self-destructive habit or behavior?

  9. What is your character's biggest blind spot or area of ignorance?

  10. What is your character's most challenging personality trait or quirk?

Goals, Dreams & Aspirations

  1. What is your character's biggest dream or aspiration in life?

  2. What is your character's short-term goal or next step?

  3. What is your character's long-term goal or vision for the future?

  4. What is your character's idea of a perfect day or ideal life?

  5. What is your character's wildest fantasy or impossible dream?

  6. What is your character's bucket list or top life experiences to have?

  7. What is your character's legacy or impact they want to leave on the world?

  8. What is your character's idea of a fulfilling career or calling?

  9. What is your character's idea of a healthy and happy relationship?

  10. What is your character's personal definition of success and happiness?

Outside-the-Box Thinking

  1. If your character could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

  2. If your character could time travel, what era would they visit and why?

  3. If your character could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?

  4. If your character could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be?

  5. If your character could learn any skill instantly, what would it be?

  6. If your character could change one thing about their past, what would it be?

  7. If your character could invent anything, what would it be and why?

  8. If your character could start a new life somewhere else, where would they go?

  9. If your character could have any magical or mythical creature as a pet, what would it be?

  10. If your character could solve any world problem or issue, what would it be?

21:11 UTC


How to write news segments in stories?

In a dystopia book I'm outlining, my characters are on the run from law enforcement for most of the second half. The media coverage of the characters' actions is a decent part of the story, the way it shapes interactions and opinions of other characters, as well as creating. I don't want to do the cliche "looking through the electronics store window and seeing the broadcast" thing ever single time there's an update to the coverage I want to include.

How do I insert short-ish segments of news and media without messing with the pacing or immersion?

1 Comment
21:05 UTC



im wondering how to make combat in a story fast/tense and interesting. any advice/prompts?

20:56 UTC

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