I'm not doing NaNoWiMo, but I know a lot of people who read my blog are, so I thought I'd collect some of the writing advice I've found over the years and put it all into one easily-bookmarked post.
Before I get to the older stuff, a couple new things I've found:
- io9 (which I feared would be lame like Gawker, but is awesome like Lifehacker) collected some secrets to creating great characters, according to six science fiction authors.
- I wrote about the weird feeling of emptiness that I always experience after I finish a project. Charlie Stross expressed something similar in a post titled On finishing.
Got it? Yay! Let's move on to some older stuff:
- five simple ways to Just Keep Writing
- Elizabeth Bear, Cherie Priest, and John Scalzi are three authors who are as generous with their advice as they are awesome and successful.
- One more post with lots of links to and wisdom from Elizabeth Bear.
- Five writing lessons I wish I'd learned the easy way.
- Even Neil Gaiman struggles from time to time. This is very comforting to me. (Interesting note. If you read that linked post, you'll see a mention of my friend who quit his safety net job to be an actor. He's on Heroes this season. Go David!)
- Neil Gaiman, it turns out, is very reassuring to me.
- Sometimes, you just get writer's clog. This is okay, and it will pass.
- I explored some of the differences I've encountered between writing short-form and long-form fiction. Related to that, from the common sense file: When working on short short fiction, which I'd say is between 500 and 1000 words, I can keep stuff in my head and write it all on the fly. Since I've moved into longer-form stuff this year, I've discovered that I absolutely must have an outline to follow, so I write that first (I spend a lot of time on it) and then use it as a memory map (much like I use my own memories when I write my narrative non-fiction stuff) when I write the story. I did this with both Star Trek mangas and with one of the two short stories (~15,000 words each) I've been working on since June. Of the two, guess which one has been enjoyable to work on? [::headdesk::]
- A collection of resources that I've come across, which I found useful as a writer.
- John Rogers writes very candidly and frequently about writing for television and movies. He is awesome, and so is his blog.
If you're doing NaNoWiMo, remember that the whole point of the thing is just to get a whole bunch of words together in a hopefully-coherent story that you will have to edit, rewrite, and polish. It is not supposed to be good, it is not supposed to be perfect, or even ready for anyone but you to read. The idea is to write, and write a lot, so let me close with Wil's Fundamental Truth of Writing: Don't be afraid to suck. It is easier to fix a broken scene than it is to fill up a blank page.