Don't Be A Writer

Ideas & tips from a young writer. Also hilarity.

new novelists seem to have a particular hang-up about making sure their idea has ‘never been done before’…. let me try and put your mind at ease: it’s all been done before.

—joseph bates, the nighttime novelist  (via writetogetherfighttogether)

Ten questions to ask a friend who just read your novel


Found this article. Found it incredibly helpful. Be sure to go read the full story, but these are the ten questions the author (Lydia Netzer) covers in it:

Some of this could be easily adapted into roleplay critiques, though it’s primary use is, of course, novel writing.

(via referenceforwriters)

Short story revision: the arts & crafts method.

Short story revision: the arts & crafts method.

Deciding between different ideas for the same story


Hello! I intended to write a story in one pov but I realized that there’s not one main character but two, and they are both equally important and relevant to the story. I’m doubtful about using two pov though, because I wanted the relationship forming between the two to be a surprise. I don’t know how I can manage it to still be a surprise if we see in both their minds.

It sounds like you’ve come to the point in your plotting where you have a fork in the road: stick with one idea and you end up with one story, or go with the other and end up with something totally different.

I definitely know this feeling. A good way to tackle this is to flesh out what each potential story might look like, then compare the two. A good way to get a clearer vision of the two stories is to map out the positives and the negatives of what could happen.

I only know what you gave me, but let’s make a hypothetical example:


This illustrates a better vision of what the two stories might look like, and if you fill a chart out like this, you can add various plot points that may be affected differently (the stuff that I don’t know). If you don’t have your story plotted out this far, then this can challenge you to really start thinking about it. Brainstorm those ideas. Look at them from the angle of all your potential story ideas.

Once you fill out your chart, you’ll end up with two very different stories (or three or four for those who have multiple ideas for their story). What you want to do after you map out the traits of both (or all) versions of your story is add in the answers to these questions:

  • Can I combine any of these ideas? When I have multiple story ideas, sometimes I’ll look for a way to combine them if the end result is something cohesive and comprehensible. Sometimes combining story ideas creates something even better than the two (or three or four) ideas separately.
  • What is the strength of both (or each) story? Think of pacing, twists, intrigue. Ask yourself if one POV is enough to carry the story. Ask yourself if the second POV affects the story enough to be included as a POV. Overall, find the points that make each story idea brilliant and map those out at the bottom of your chart.
  • What are the weaknesses? Just as important, map out where each story falls short in comparison to the other idea(s). Unreliable narrators can create awesome plot twists when they come to realize something they didn’t know was happening – and this might not be as strong of a twist when a second narrator already knows this throughout the story. However, while the first aforementioned example creates one type of story, the second example can create something entirely different but just as interesting.
  • How can the weaknesses be improved? Just because you find weaknesses in your potential story doesn’t mean those weaknesses can’t be improved upon. Sometimes it takes some tweaking, some rearranging, or adding some additional subplots or ideas.
  • Which is the better overall story? This is a tough question and might require a five paragraph essay – but this part is your opinion. Your personal opinion. And, if you need to, you can always ask your fellow writerly friends for their opinions as well. If you do this, however, make sure you get lots of opinions, not just one or two. Then chart these as well.
  • Which story do I want to tell more? The most important question of them all. Write the story that most excites you. If you’re excited, someone else out there will be, too.

As always, good luck!

(via a-writers-littlethings)