10 Tips to Improve Your Writing Method

10 Tips to Improve Your Writing Method

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I’ve proposed many different kinds of writing plans, and will propose many more. If you have no idea what you want to write, writing plans are a good lead. They give you something to work on for writing practice until you know what you want to do.

On the other hand, the writing plans that will work best for you are ones you create yourself. As you write, you will develop your own methods. Some will slow you down and others will speed you along. You need to use what gets the job done. Along the way, it doesn’t hurt to learn what else is available.

What writing plans have I proposed so far?

Eight Article Writing Methods gives a short overview of many methods of writing articles.

Fourteen Ways to Create Multiple Articles on a Topic is another plan for article writing.

Prolific Pulp Fiction the Ryoki Inoue Way is about using pulp fiction writing methods to write more. It’s great for first drafts. You can move from pulp to quality in the second draft.

Prolific Writing Using Caidin Methods makes a guess at the writing methods of another prolific writer.

Prolific Revision – An Alternate Caidin Method is another article about Caidin’s writing method and a new trick I started using.

Write Systematically and Become More Productive is about creating a system for your writing.

Cultivating the Writing Habit is about the importance of making writing a regular habit.

The Journey of 1000 Pages Starts with One Paragraph explains how to get a big writing job done by breaking it into small steps.

What Makes a Novel Into a Page-Turner? presents a collection of ideas to make your chapters zip along and keep the tension high as readers hurry from chapter to chapter.

Stages of the Writing Process is my most important article about manuscript writing. It details the writing plan used by writers for decades. Unless you’re a seat-of-your-pants writer, this gives an overview of what you should be doing for a book length manuscript.

I had ignored some of the steps in “Stages of the Writing Process” in the belief I would get my novels written faster. Practice proved me wrong. Without a synopsis, my first novel was too short. Without an outline, my second got lost along the way. It pays to follow every stage of the plan.

I know I’ve written more than these few articles with tips about writing methods, but those seem to be the most important ones. I’m sure I will be writing more of that kind as I continue writing novels. And I will be writing those novels using my preferred methods. Reading and writing about methods used by others influences how I write and how fast I write. I’m sure it’s the same for you.

Keep refining your own personal writing method and you can only get better and faster as you put it into practice.

Article by Ivan Izo.


Short Stories Can Help Your Novel


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Short stories are not as great as novels. No question. Writers who produce great books rarely produce great short stories. The only exceptions to this rule I’ve found are Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, and H.P. Lovecraft. I’m sure there are a few others. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write short stories. Because it’s difficult to write a good one, writing short stories helps you grow as a writer. That’s not the only benefit.

There are many ways short stories can make your novel better. The short stories you write before attempting a novel make you better at writing beginnings and endings. The short stories you write while writing your novel can be used on a short story blog to show samples of your writing and promote your novel. Short stories that are related to your novel have several uses I’ll describe below.

Short Stories as Writing Practice

Read any book or article on how to become a novelist and you will be told to start by writing short stories. The first thing you will notice is that it takes a long time to write just a few thousand words. Writing short stories gives you some time to learn to write faster before attempting a 100,000 word book.

Another advantage of writing short stories is that you will get practice at writing beginnings and endings. A good opening will hook readers into reading more. A good ending will leave them wanting more. The best place to fail on each is in short stories. Master opening hooks and satisfying endings with short stories and you’ve done a lot for your future manuscript writing efforts.

There are other skills you could use practice with too. Writing dialog, description, and narrative are all different challenges. Find a reader who’s willing to review your writing and tell you what they did and didn’t like. You’ll also want to practice editing. After re-writes, the best way to improve your writing is editing. That means cutting what isn’t necessary. It can mean adding, re-writing, and re-arranging too, but cutting is what will give your stories the biggest boost. The rule is: Cut big, then small.

Short Stories as Fiction Samples

Share your short stories by selling them to magazines or post them on a blog. There are several sites that offer free blogs as long as you don’t advertise anything except your own books. I use wordpress.com. Blogger is also popular.

When you put your work out there where people can read it, some are going to be looking for your books.

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Escape Endless Revision

Escape Endless Revision

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As any writer knows, it’s possible to revise forever. At some point you need to decide it’s done and move on to another project.

Two years ago, I found myself endlessly revising blog articles. The following two paragraphs outline my dilemma and solution.

I revise my writing too much. I know this because I find myself getting bored of endlessly revising articles. It seems like I’m going around and around the same group of 50 or 60 articles eternally. An article idea must have a couple of hundred words before I promote it to a first draft. The first draft must be worked on until it’s long enough and has all the components that make an article. Then, I have four revisions before I’m willing to call it finished. Even when I go through the finished articles, I won’t release them as blog posts until I’m certain they are good enough.

The endless revisions must end. But, I don’t want to stop writing. What to do? A different kind of writing is the answer. A different subject. A switch between fiction and non-fiction. A switch between articles and a book.

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Kyokutei Bakin’s Prolific Writing Method

Kyokutei Bakin's Prolific Writing Method

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Kyokutei Bakin wrote over 470 books, including a 106 book novel. The 106 volume novel took 28 years to complete. That’s about 4 books per year. His other books included 30 long novels. Possibly there are a couple of hundred novellas in there as well. Even if it were only 470 novellas he wrote, we’d still like to know the secret to his writing output. What do we know about him?

Bakin was born in 1767 Japan, so the qualifications for publication were a little different than today. It’s seems like before 1900, if you could write a novel it would get published. That doesn’t change his accomplishment. 470 books is a lot of writing. If he wasn’t good at the start, he would have been eventually. And he was. His novel Nans? Satomi hakkenden (“Satomi and the Eight Dogs”) is considered a classic.

There’s not a lot of information about Bakin, but among the biographical information there is a clue as to how he was able to write so much.

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Take Your Writing to the Next Level

Take Your Writing to the Next Level

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Only a small percentage of writers take their writing to the next level. I’m sure there are statistics for each transition just as I’m sure the numbers are all over the place depending on the source. I’ll go with the fiction that 10% take the step to the next level.

What stage are you at in your writing?

Will you take the next step?

What are these steps?

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Writer on Fire’s 10 Best Articles on Prolific Writing

Writer on Fire's 10 Best

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Since 2009, I’ve written many articles on prolific writing. The following are my 10 best.

On Free-writing and Spontaneous Writing describes two kinds of writing exercises that can get you pumping out words on days you can’t seem to get going.

How To Use Pulp Fiction Methods For Quality Writing talks about the advantage of using pulp fiction methods for writing first drafts.

Think Less – Write More is about turning off your internal editor and how to use the editor when it won’t shut up.

How to Think Like a Prolific Writer presents six methods that will help you think like a prolific writer.

Become a Master Writer in Only 10,000 Hours talks about the importance of writing as much as you can because writers are made, not born.

Prolific Writing is a Skill talks about the importance of continuing to learn as you write.

Six Secrets to Prolific Writing presents some common sense tips that will get you writing more.

Pulp Fiction – Feast or Foul? explains why writing pulp fiction is a bad idea and then gives reasons for you to give it a try.

Write More Daily is about overcoming distractions and taking steps to increase your productive writing.

Writer’s Block: Myth or Reality? teaches you how to develop the tools to wipe out writer’s block using problem specific cures, blanket cures, and methods that overpower writer’s block.

There are so many ideas here that you may not want to read them all in one sitting. On the other hand, you can always make notes. Every prolific writer has that skill. If you’re not a note taker already, today is a great day to start.

Article by Ivan Izo.

How to Write Several Articles When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

How to Write Several Articles When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

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Motivation is highly overrated. If you’ve set yourself a daily writing goal, you need to do it whether you feel like it or not. That’s what makes you a writer. This post talks about articles, but it could just as easily be about short stories or chapters in a novel or non-fiction book.

If you have many articles in progress, simply reading through them will lead to working on them. You’ll think of ideas and information you want to add. Keep cycling through article ideas, outlines, first drafts, second drafts, and final drafts. You know this works.

If you don’t have any articles in progress, make some up. Don’t worry about starting with sensible ideas. You feel like doing nothing. Waste some time with silly ideas. Write enough on a silly thought and some sense often comes out of it.

More on this, did you say?

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The Wheel of the Ebook Writing Life

The Wheel of the Ebook Writing Life

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There are several tasks that must be done if you want to make it as a writer selling ebooks online. I’ll say first that I haven’t started yet. Even if I was selling novels already, I wouldn’t know which part of this worked. I say they must all be done, but I’m ignoring some until I have the first book up for sale. If you think some steps are unnecessary or that I missed one, let me know.

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