Hello there friends and lovers (you know who you are)! Here at last is the long-anticipated (I’ve been anticipating it for over a week now!) blog post about blog posts. Specifically blog posts from which you can garner writing advice from the pros and semi-pros!
Most of these blogs are free to read, unlike mine, which has secretly charged your credit card for $100 while you were reading this. Don’t worry, it all goes to a good cause.
Chuck Wendig is brash, crude, profane, bloody-minded, and awesome. His blog posts are not for the weak of stomach, but they are fun to read and often provide GREAT writing advice. You may recall that I recommended his e-book, 250 Things You Should Know About Writing. Well that book is a collection of 10 of his excellent “25 Things” posts, which are always popular and always informative. Check out his blog, or you will wish you had!
Karen Woodward is a semi-pro writer who has published at least one book. I have not read her book yet, but I have read her blog and she has some great things to say about writing. She also does a good job of assembling advice from other pros and condensing it into easy-to-follow posts. Read it!
This is actually something I found through Karen Woodward’s blog, links to what appears to be an absolutely ancient Jim Butcher blog, back when he just had a plain LiveJournal. Regardless, the insight he provides on scenes and sequels has been invaluable to me in continuing my NaNoWriMo story, and his series of questions for scene complication is magnificent for getting unstuck in a tough scene.
A fellow wordpress blogger and semi-pro (I believe) author, Cristian’s writing advice seems to focus mainly on blogging and other kinds of writing, besides just novel writing. He has great insights and his writing is clear and concise, just the way I like it. I particularly liked his post about the 7 golden rules of blogging.
One of the greats of hard science fiction, David Brin has LOADS of experience and wisdom to impart. From what I can tell, he only has one post about writing advice specifically, but it’s a very good one. Advice from a pro and a living legend is hard to ignore.
John Brown is the author of the recently released and highly acclaimed Servant of a Dark God, epic fantasy. I have not yet read the book, although I intend to, but John Brown seems like a sharp dude, and his blog is packed with writing advice. So much of it, in fact, that I have not even had the time to delve into it very much. However, I feel that if you want to get published, then the best people to listen to are the people who are getting published NOW. John Brown is right up there.
Side Note for those who checked out John Brown’s video series: I don’t know who S. James Nelson (the guy who has the YouTube channel where this video can be found) is, but that dude has a LOT of cool sounding videos about writing from various and sundry conferences featuring various and sundry professional authors.
I think I found this stuff through David Brin’s site. I have honestly not read any of it, but this fellow has put out a free book on his website all about writing SF and Fantasy. Worth checking out, I think, especially if you want to get into genre writing.
This is a special one, because it’s a blog that is apparently written by agents, editors, and other folks in the publishing industry. It’s hard to tell if it’s just one person writing the blog, or multiple people, or one person who features guest bloggers, but all the writing advice there seems from a focused, publishing industry perspective, and is therefore extremely worth reading for the aspiring pro.
Video for your eyes! And ears!
Do I need to say more? Well, okay, I guess I will anyway. Brandon Sanderson is one of the bigger names in Fantasy right now, and his books are quite enjoyable. He is one of the folks on the Writing Excuses podcast that I talked about in the last post, and he teaches college courses in creative writing. He’s also a damned decent fellow who posts his ENTIRE COURSE for free online. Check it out.
Dan Wells, horror and sci-fi writer, and also one of the members of Writing Excuses, has a series of YouTube videos that talk about a method of structuring story that he apparently shamelessly stole from a role-playing guidebook. Regardless, his explanation is sharp and well-planned, and for some reason this seven-point plot structure is the one method of outlining that has really resonated with me. His lecture is under an hour long, and it’s worth every minute. This is an outlining technique, or structuring technique if you prefer, that forces you to incorporate conflict in your outline from instant 1.
That’s all for now folks. Actually, that will probably be all forever in terms of writing advice blogs. You can only absorb so much writing advice, I think, before the law of diminishing returns (which states that after a while, returns diminish) begins to apply. Basically, absorb as much as you can, and write as much as you can.
I also recommend reading the book Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. First of all, it’s awesome, and second of all, it talks about the 10,000 hour rule of success. You need 10,000 hours of concerted practice to master any skill. This includes writing, but it does not include reading about writing. Go write!