Hello world-builders and story crafters!
Below are articles and tools that I have used to help me write great stories. I’ve not been asked, nor am I being paid to promote these invaluable tools. I simply want you to know which books and articles I found instrumental and highly recommend them to any author who struggles with putting it all together, raising stakes, keeping readers interested, and crafting solid stories from beginning to end.
Structuring Your Novel Workbook, Hands-On Help for Building Strong and Successful Stories, by K.M. Weiland (she has several craft-writing books)
Break Into Fiction, 11 Steps to Building a Powerful Story, by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love
Build-A-Book, by Erika Kelly, Plotter? Pantser? It doesn’t matter. Whatever your style, if you want to knock out a great first draft, then you need to develop the essential story elements first.
Romancing the Beat, Story Structure for Romance Novels, by Gwen Hayes
The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr., and E. B. White
How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen
Writing Tools created by Aedyn:
Get these tools and more from my shared Google Docs folder
Publishing Checklist (for Indie Published Authors)
Back-of-the-Book Blurb (Synopsis) Infographic
Scene & Sequel Template (Template to keep in front of you while you write your scenes)
Hero’s Journey Tarot Spread (Use this to hit the key story beats)
Hero/Heroine/Villain Tarot Spread (Use this to help create key dynamics between these three key characters)
Make-A-Scene Tarot Spread (Use this to create unpredictable scenes or if you get stuck on what should happen next)
43 Words You Should Cut From Your Writing Immediately, by Diana Urban
7 Effective Ways to Give Your Characters Unique Voices, by Ken Miyamoto
9 Types of Decisions Your Characters Will Have to Make, K.M. Weiland
Wheels of Motion – Dialogue that Propels the Story Forward, by Gloria Kempton
Subterfuge in Dialogue, by Becca Puglisi
How to Enrich Your Descriptions, by Stephenie Steele and Joe Stollenwerk
Eight Rules for Writers, by Kurt Vonnegut
Deep Dive with Emotion, by C.S. Lakin
Stephen King on Writing, Fear, and the Atrocity of Adverbs, by Maria Popova
Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers, by Lauren Passell in B&N Reads
The Twelve Steps of Intimacy, by Terry Odell (originally from Linda Howard)
Improve Your Novel Writing: 11 Tips for Newbies, by Meg LaTorre
One-Stop Shopping for Writers on Writer’s Helping Writers – Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have many thesaurus’ that help you craft amazing characters. They also have many tools on their website. They have the best blogs–sign up and learn from their treasure trove of information. This is a bunny trail worth traversing.
12 Story-Ending Tips That Don’t Work by Rayne Hall
Tips for Writing Theater & Screenplays by Carina (additional links within this article)
I’ve judged and managed many writing contests over the years. It’s a love and passion of mine. Many new writers make the same mistakes. I sure did. I’m the poster child of crappy first drafts. You have to let go of your ego for a moment in order to craft a compelling story for your READER. You see, the reader doesn’t live in your head. Our characters inflection of voice, gestures, and facial expressions all need to get from your noggin’ onto the page in a cohesive and understandable way. (Editors are awesome!) It takes practice to get the blend of enough description, dialogue that matters, clear goals that are out of grasp, while showing emotion and motivation. All of this culminates into books readers will love. More than anything I want you to know the only way you fail at writing is by giving up.
Often we start writing because we’re avid readers and after reading a million of the same tropes in a particular genre we think, I wonder if I could write a story like that? Then we start writing without even knowing there are key elements that you love in your favorite authors’ books that you blindly missed. *raises hand*
Each scene must have a purpose that drives the story forward. Rather you follow Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, Six Stage Plot Structure by Michael Hauge, or Ten Key Scenes You Need to Frame Your Novel by C.S. Lakin, each time we’re in a character’s point-of-view, we need to know there is a clear goal, what’s the motivation behind the goal, and whatever you do, the character cannot accomplish the goal. Instead, a disaster (obstacle) happens that keeps them from reaching the goal. It can be small or large, but what it does is keeps your reader reading. If you’ve crafted a great scene, it also raises the stakes.
After some of those magical scenes you’ll need to take a breather where your character licks their wounds and contemplates their next plan of attack–those are called sequels. This is where you dive deep into the character’s psyche and show the reader how wounded and flawed your character is. Readers love imperfect people because they can see themselves on that page.
The other element that new writers struggle with is too much backstory, especially within the first three chapters. Okay, I’ll admit, this is my personal guilty pleasure. Ninety percent of which I remove in the editing process. Frustrated by my many copious lists harvested from other generously sharing authors, I knew I had to find a better way. So, I created a tool: character creation and backstory management. Currently, I have it in Excel and I’d be happy to send it to you if you drop me an email (linked below). Nothing on this list is mind-blowing or earth shattering. There are millions of lists out there–but I have a twist in my organization that I’ve not found anywhere else. (Someone’s about to send me a link to something just like mine, right? It’s okay. Great minds think alike.)
Most of all, KEEP WRITING! Keep learning how to write better. Follow your favorite authors on social media, sign up for their newsletters, and keep your eye on the prize: Publication.
Please send me an email if you have any questions regarding the links or information on this page: email@example.com