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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.

Weekly Daily Discussion Thread Schedule:

Monday: Writer’s Block and Motivation

Tuesday: Brainstorming

Wednesday: General Discussion

Thursday: Writer’s Block and Motivation

Friday: Brainstorming

Saturday: First Page Feedback

Sunday: Writing Tools, Software, and Hardware

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How do you write a book?

Hi everyone! I've been maintaining an as-yet-undiscovered blog for about two years now, and I want to write a book. I've got the outline and I'm reasonably okay at writing generally, but I'm wondering how people write a book in 2023. Like, the nuts and bolts. Back in my day, we wrote all our material in Microsoft Word. Are people using Google Docs now, or do I need to pay the $10/month or whatever for Word? Everything I have so far is in Google Docs, but in my gut it just FEELS wrong because that's not how I did it in my 20s. And should each chapter be a different file, or is it all together in one document?

Additionally, I've never gotten anything published, so how does that work? I know it's not until way down the road, but I feel like if I could picture the light at the end of the tunnel, I'd be more motivated to plug away right now. Any other tips on the logistics of book writing would be much appreciated!

00:59 UTC


Can I write you a poem?

People give me a subject and I type a custom poem for them on the spot, on a typewriter. I've gained over 1M views and have been featured by Emily Ratajokwski, Indya Moore, and Alex Elle. I have also performed at over 1,000 events, including the exclusive Art Basel.
Can I write you a poem? Leave a comment below for one...

00:54 UTC


Feedback on a scene

Looking for feedback on a scene I'm writing. I'm trying to introduce a character to a story and I'm very new at doing this.

Helena gazed thoughtfully at the firearm on her nightstand. She had complex feelings about its presence in her life. There was a part of her that found comfort in its metallic corpus, a cold reminder of the ordered world she once knew. Yet at the same time, she felt a growing sense of unease. Each morning, as the first rays of light reflected off its polished steel, she heard an inaudible siren's song beckoning her to embrace past pains and glories. But deep down, she knew that path led only to a false idol. True peace could not be found in metal and gunpowder. She needed to seek a higher truth, one that the .45 revovler alone could not give her. With a heavy sigh, she closed the drawer resolutely and whispers to herself "God's caliber it… sings to me". Yet today as was yesterday, the gun's silent hymn would go unanswered.

00:38 UTC


Looking for beta readers

Sorry if this isn’t allowed. Please remove if so.

Hello! I am seeking some beta readers for my YA Fantasy novel, Vainglory. Mainly looking for general critique on the story, pacing, and characters.

Title: Vainglory Age: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy POV: Third-person Word Count: 102,000 Trigger Warnings: Su*cide Blurb:

Quinn holds onto one thing the world around him does not—hope. A promise to initiate change in a world without compassion or freedom for the powerless pushes him forward. One that he swore to those he loved he would see to its end. He knows it will be difficult, both physically and mentally, but he could never predict that the hardest part would be the battle raging inside himself.

When his world seemingly collapses around him, he is presented with a gift; a new life of power and luxury far better than he anticipated. Through the influence of King Amell’s personal attention and a new friend, Quinn’s morality unravels and his passion for change fades. Until he is presented with a task so unscrupulous that it forces him to question what he has become and how far he will go to maintain his own comforts at the expense of those around him.

Relatable and realistic, Vainglory is a coming-of-age novel that explores the complex maze that power and corruption create as their insidious and imperceptible influence redefines dreams, morality, and compassion.

The manuscript has already been thoroughly edited, and I am just seeking some critiques on the story itself and what people think of it 🙂

1 Comment
00:18 UTC


Is it possible to write a character who is so evil that they cannot be redeemed?

I’m wanting to write a story where the main character is initially pretty bad/evil, but they slowly realize why their actions are wrong and end atoning in the end. That said, I am concerned about writing a character who is so evil that they come off as unforgivable to my audience no matter how hard I “punish” them for their evil deeds.

So what do you all think? Is it possible to write a character who is so evil that the audience won’t forgive them no matter what?

23:36 UTC


How do you find time to write consistently when you work a 9-5 job?

As the title says, I work 9am-6pm at Walmart, my only days off are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

23:25 UTC


That part of you, that part will no longer exist.

So, I did a lot of psychology to my character, I researched A LOT and when I say a lot, that's A LOT, I filled out a Word sheet(1644 words), with even phrases from the web pages they put in, I also put them in,Everything connected to his three internal conflicts (emptiness, love and sex) And I talked to someone about this, and they said that was the problem, "people tend to go too deep," so what should I do? Do I eliminate part of her depth? The person is wrong And is the problem another? How is she supposed to live her "life"with a part of her DELETED?In addition, this investigation led me to add other things to her character, such as, for example, my character purposely self-destructs (does not eat) like "I have control over my body" ( This is because she was always sexualized, she sexualized herself to receive love, basically being a slave to what others thought,And with a thought of "if I am not loved = I am not beautiful = if I am not beautiful = I am not loved") Should I delete them too?

23:24 UTC


How to Write a Great Female Main Character

Hey everyone, this is my first time posting here and I would like some advice on my main character of the book I'm currently writing.

A quick summary of the book is that it's set in a fictional world where mythological and supernatural creatures live and it's being taken over by the antagonist a shapeshifter named Laura is trying to find a way to stop him. She is a powerful shapeshifter and the only one who can stop the antagonist.

I'm asking how can I write Laura to be likeable, believable, and not a Mary Sue character? A lot of books I've read the main character is Mary Sue and it ruined a book and I have a hard time liking a book when I can't stand the main character.

Laura is extremely powerful and is the one destined to save everyone but I want to write her as someone that the audience can get behind. Any advice is appreciated.

23:22 UTC


Looking to write non fiction about experiences with other IP-based hobbies

Hey all, I'm planning on developing a series of nonfiction books built around focusing on experiences in different hobbies of mine. The first book I have in mind would be a nonfiction book about WWE and how it brings fans together. My main goal would be reaching out to fans/content creators/influencers/workers in the business and seek to conduct interviews with them about their experience with being a wrestling fan, then write the book based on my own research of the topic + quotes from those interviews.

Do I need any approval from WWE to move forward with an idea like this? Since the book has more of a journalistic focus, I would definitely wind up using names/concepts/stories from their IPs, but not actually creating new fiction content or creative insight into their product. It would be more about telling the stories and experiences of WWE fans, but would that still cross a line into copyright law and stepping on their IP? Any insight would be much appreciated!!

23:13 UTC


Low-stakes protagonist of a fantasy world.

What do you all think about low-stakes characters in fantasy? Where the protagonist doesn't serve much of a purpose and is incredibly weak compared to most. Most they would get in trouble with is petty crime. This is not to say they won't do anything by the end of the story, but I mean characters that are extremely unassuming and barely important compared to past characters in the same universe.

22:48 UTC


When is writing inclusivity just diversity for the sake of diversity?

Trying to gather my eggs into one basket at the moment before committing to anything but this topic feels like a landmine waiting to blow for me.

I would like to write a story and characters that most people of any background could appreciate (so does everyone I'd imagine). And while the story I have in mind is not specifically about anything like race, culture, sexual orientation , disablities (physcial and/or mental), etc, they ARE topics I would like to include and touch on for representaion. But at what point is it too much, too in your face, too "inclusive" (if that's even possible) that it becomes heavy-handed?

For example, let's say I have my cast of main characters. Each with their own fleshed out backstories, ideals and flaws, etc. And then afterwards I decide "This one is trans, this one is Bi, this one has depression, this one is from a different continent, this one is Bi AND depressed, and this one is cis" is that bad inclusivity? I really don't want to make their character be defined by what makes them inclusive, (Like being gay, or being blind is not a personality trait) but I also don't want it to feel tact on for the sake of diversity. A character's story can be influenced by their quality as long as it's not what makes them as a person, people are obviously deeper and more complex than that.

So I'm curious as to where that ever so sensitive (and subjective) line is drawn. At what point is it too much? Or if it has meaning to a character's story does it matter in the end? Just wanted a guideline on how to approach.

21:45 UTC


Can someone help me figure out if I’m using imagery properly?

My example of imagery is: “The warm scent of the freshly baked pie reminded him of his childhood, and being baked for by his grandmother.” This may sound like a stupid question, but I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with a learning disability and it’s been affecting my nerves. Please try to keep feedback positive 💗

21:09 UTC


Piece of advice to a non-native who learned English mostly through non-fiction, but now wants to master literary English?

I'm not aspiring to become a writer, but I want to go beyond C2 certificates and actually master the language. English is not my major.

I have been learning and then studying English for 10+ years, and I dare to say I'm fairly proficient and fluent with it, if certificates and comfort in expressing myself are any indication. Having mastered it enough, I ventured into consuming media and enjoying the English side of the Internet. Barring movies, music and games, it was mostly non-fiction: scientific articles and news articles, albeit good ones: The Economist, Financial Times, Bloomberg. I was reading them daily, and it has really elevated my writing skills. Not as in actually producing literature pieces, but essays or reports that are expressive and easy to read.

However, once I've started reading fiction, I realized it's a whole new beast. Not that I didn't understand it (sure, there were new words that otherwise don't find use outside fiction), but it was mostly syntactic structures and phraseology that felt cumbersome, overly complicated in a way?

Say, the style of The Economist feels so refined, even if complicated. Hemingway or Chekhov are, too, easy to read. As in, descriptions and language aren't unnecessarily complicated. These are masters, though.

But attempting to brave anything less eloquent is just hard! It's like slogging through molasses sometimes. Especially, if it is amateur writing. I was even once offered to edit a fanfiction and I just couldn't do it. Everything was so off about phraseology, even if grammar and structures were technically right. I knew something was wrong, I knew I had basic taste in literature, but I wasn't sure how to correct it properly.

What is up with English in fiction? Is it supposed to be so complicated unless you are an established master? Or am I just biased in my perception of literary English?

Finally, how do I learn what makes a good literary English? I've picked up The Chicago Manual of Style. Should I maybe keep on reading all of Hemingway? Can you suggest more authors like that, whose style is economical and refined?

I really wanted to help with that fanfic, but I just was so unsure of how to navigate that type of English and what corrections to make. So I resigned, because I didn't think I had experience.

20:42 UTC


How to learn to write short stories?

My main problem is why I never finished any work because I pulling the cat by the tail. The first pages are three and there is nothing to do with the original plot, long dialogues, or silent actions, without a plot. This is my talent - starting with anything, but not starting the plot. What do you recommend doing?

20:01 UTC


Ghost Hands

Have you ever written something and look back and think you couldn’t have possibly written that?

I’ve gone as far as googling the fragment to make sure I didn’t plagiarize 🤦🏻‍♂️

19:44 UTC


What are some coming of age story clichees/tropes?

For example I'm thinking of sunsets, romance plots, prom dances, summer settings, running away from home to go on a roadtrip, sitting at a lake etc.

1 Comment
19:40 UTC


How do you keep track of complex international politics in a story?

Or rather, how do you make it easy for your reader to keep track?

For context, I'm working on a historical novel set in the 6th century, after the fall of the Roman Empire. The main character rules one country (Italy) and has six other major countries to deal with. Some are allies, some are enemies, all are important at one or more points in the story. There are two main players, but the others each have a role that I couldn't easily omit (except maybe one). And this is not a very well-known era, so I can't assume people will immediately understand when I talk about, say, the Visigoths in Spain.

So I am curious to know what your solution is, or would be, to this problem.

1 Comment
19:08 UTC


Do you feel bad for not being able to 'switch off'?

For the first time in years I'm totally absorbed in making all these abstract ideas into a story. I've not felt this dedicated to anything in a hell of a long time, and it truly feels personal to me.

I'm enjoying the process, I don't mind getting stuck on moving the story because it means I can further perfect the specific scenes I have in mind till I get a new wave of inspiration to move on.

The potential issue is; I feel I'm writing/jotting down ideas as soon as I get a wave of ideas, it can spin into hours. I love that feeling of getting lost in the writing and finding breakthroughs, but I slightly fear that it'll become annoying to friends and family.

My mind wanders in general, but I feel I'm present for the most part and of course want the person/people I'm with to mutually enjoy the company and presence.

In my case, I don't mind when someone's absorbed with their project and may take a step back to jot something down..but I did have a friend candidly explain they felt I should switch off as well as they felt a bit upset when I'd pull my phone out to write a note and that it could wait.

I do try do it quickly and time it appropriately, vs when someone's directly talking to me but I did feel bad that I made them feel that way. In my case, as soon as I get that 'eureka' moment I really want to store it and then expand on it when I'm alone at home.

I explained that I'd try find a better balance and to bare with me if I want to jot something down real quick. Maybe to be more aware of timing, but that in itself isn't really being present lol..

So my question is: have you struggled with this, and how easy is it for you to switch off? I know some of you on here can easily do it and leave it for when you're alone and some are always hit by inspiration and don't truly switch off from it.

19:02 UTC


Antagonist problems

Hey all, I have a series I’m trying to work on and the main antagonist is a cambion (half demon). the problem is I’m having a lot of trouble deciding what their goals should be, and I can’t finish the rest of the plot until I figure this out. I also have a rather bad habit of overthinking the story details and it makes it harder. any tips on how to work this out?? Any input is appreciated!

19:00 UTC


I don't know which direction to take my story

Right now i've been mainly focused on designing characters and starting on a couple of locations but when i'm not doing that i am trying to think of which direction i want to set my story.

Its going to be a sci fi comic about characters stuck on this wrecked space mall after an accident which is undecided as of now but it ends up floating through space and the characters stuck inside are trying to find a way to escape.

The thing is that i don't know anything past that point, i have been thinking of maybe making it a time loop/ time travel story but i feel like i am stuck and don't know how to move forward.

18:58 UTC


How to become a better writer?

Just overall, tips, tricks, and methods to develop writing skills?

I’m pursuing a journalism degree and feel so stagnant right now. I want to improve. I do all sorts of writing (research, technical, creative).

18:55 UTC


How do you feel nearing the end of your novel?

I'm getting close to finishing a novel, and honestly? It's a rollercoaster of emotions. I have this nagging concern about whether the ending will resonate as I intend. Some of it is also an underlying anxiety about delving into the idea of publishing and how much goes into that.

It's funny because I've felt really proud of what I've written so far, but now that I'm nearing the end, that confidence is kinda wavering.

Anyone else feel this way when they're about to finish up a big project? How do you deal?

18:53 UTC


How long can 1 chapter be?

The chapter, #14 is long, 4700 words. I think it needs to be cut in half, but thought I would run it by all y'all to get some general feed back. It ain't like there is any consisitancy in chapter length (41 chapters) but they generally range between 1200 and 2000, so, it would make sense to halve it, right? Jacks

18:04 UTC


Who's your inspiration when it comes to your narrative voice?

We all have our own voice, but we have authors who influence us. My two authors which I draw (try to) my voice/style from are George RR Martin and Steven Erikson. If I'm troubled with one section of my current wip, or anything, I just read them. I also have my go-to chapters from them for whenever I need that immediate boost and inspiration, Martin's 'The Forsaken' and the last scene of the last chapter of Erikson's Toll the Hounds (Bainisk the true hero). When I read them I just feel like I can do it.

So, what are yours?

18:00 UTC


What are your go-to magazines, blogs, journals, etc. for writing *about* writing?

Every time I have a question about writing that I want to explore or see perspectives on, Google does me dirty. I get mostly results from Masterclass (whose website I hate), “Self-Publishing School,” and a bunch of other websites with what just seems like SEO-spam articles to get people onto the site and sell them something.

Are there any blogs, forums, journals, websites, magazines, or bathroom stalls that you go to for thoughts about the process/art/etc. of writing?

17:46 UTC


Those who did an MFA in creative writing, what impact did it have on your mental wellbeing?

I did an MFA in fine art, and I struggled with my mental well-being during and after the course.

It is not uncommon in the discipline- some people in my year also struggled.

I wonder what the situation is for those who do creative writing MFA.

Please share your stories!

17:41 UTC


How do you "effectively communicate" whatever messages you're trying to send through you're writing?

Let's say you're writing a story about how "murder is bad".

How do you convey that message and have the reader walk away with that message?

Do you only show situations where "murder is bad"?

Do you also show situations where "murder is good" is wrong?

Do you have all the Good characters say "murder is bad" and all the Bad characters say "murder is good"?

Do you have Ugly, dumb characters say "Murder is Good" and Beautiful, Smart characters say "Murder is bad"?

Do you have "murder is bad" plotlines resolve in cathartic, thematically satisfying ways and "murder is good" plots resolve in unsatisfying failure?

What do you do?

17:07 UTC


I have a story idea, but should i countinue?

I actually have written a part of my story which i would like to get a honest review on. If i post it here, will you guys give an opinion if i should continue writing the story?

16:51 UTC


What kind of writer are you?

I like to hear what relation all of you have to writing and what writer you are.

I) You're a professional writer who writes for a living. You have probably already published several books.

II) You're a wannabe writer who hasn't so far published a single story, but you work hard to become a professional writer and hope to publish your first story some day to come.

III) You're an amateur writer who writes for the fun of it but never publish your stories. Sometimes you share your stories on your personal blog or some other web site for free.

IV) You only wite your private diaries and never share them with any one. You write bc you need to write.

V) You only write fanfiction.

VI) You're semi-professional and publish printing on demand books but with no ambitions to become a real professional. You only write on you spare time.

VII) Something else.

16:50 UTC


I Feel Really Bad

Just to clarify, I am fully aware of how entitled and ignorant my problems sound, but for some reason, knowing that my thoughts are illogical doesn't stop me from thinking them. In Grade 8 and 9, the only subject that I excelled at was English. I loved to read, and I felt proud of my work. In grade 10, I changed schools, and I this new school I stopped getting the same validation from teachers, because unlike in my old school, they actually took the time to criticize my work (as a teacher should, obviously). And to be candid, my grades barely dropped. I had a 98 in grade 9, and a 94 in grade 10. I know it isn't the end of the world. However, I no longer feel like I'm cut out for writing. I know it isnt a competition, but it feels really weird knowing that I'm no longer a superlative writer when compared to my peers. It feels like everyone has caught up to me, and I feel like I hit a wall in Grade 10, and that I am no longer improving this year. Again, I know It is arrogant to not want to be at the same level as everybody else, but I feel as though I dont really stand out In any way anymore. I am equally aware that this entire post is unreadable, my apologies, I'm not good at typing on my phone. Regardless, how do I stop myself from developing these misleading notions? Moreover, how can I tell that I am improving, and how can I be assured of my progress?

Thank you, and sorry to take up your time.

16:49 UTC

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