Monday, December 19, 2016

Everything on genre, characters, plot, and more from 2016

Stephanie here. Perhaps it's a cliche thing to say, but it's hard for me to believe that it's the time of year where I'm telling you Jill, Shannon, and I are on vacation for a couple weeks and will see you after the New Year.

The three of us are meeting this week (thanks to the magic that is Google Hangouts) to talk about plans for 2017, so if you haven't yet, we would really appreciate you filling out our brief survey.

Below is an overview of our posts from 2016. We will see you back here Wednesday, January 4th!

Posts About The Writing Life:

How To Make Effective Goals When Facing The Unknown
Build Your Own Writing Education In Five Steps
Transitioning In And Out of Your Fictional Worlds
Should You Write The Book Of Your Heart?
Should you "Kill Your Darlings?"
Should You Write Every Day?
Should You Write What You Know?
Read A Lot, Write A Lot
Write Stories That Excite You
Should You Write Like No One Is Watching?
The Joy of Writing Fast
Letting Go Of What Real Writers Should Be Like
Write Fast And Free
Write Your Passion
Should You Finish Your Book?
Should You Write What You Love To Read?
Self-Doubt As A Writer
Growing As A Writer When You Don't (Necessarily) Want To Be Published
3 Ways To Embrace The Writer You Used To Be
9 Ideas To Make Room In Your Life For Writing
When Writing Can't Be Your Life
7 Thoughts For Writers Struggling With Depression

Posts about Brainstorming:

Types Of Prewriting
Creating a List of Key Scenes
Using Your Synopsis as An Outline
What To Do With Characters Who Don't Yet Have A Story

Posts About Genres:

7 Tips On Writing Historical Fiction
Genre Review and Genre Mashing
What Makes Fantasy Epic?
Writing Romance That Works

Posts About Characters:

Character Wants versus Character Needs
How To Find The Heart Of Your Character
How To Change The Heart Of Your Characters
How To Create A Strong Cast of Characters
Main Characters
Side Characters
Character Conflicts
Your Characters Should Be Afraid
Where Did Your Character's Journey Really Begin?
Creating Characters By Working Backward
7 Questions To Ask When Creating Character Goals
Is The Wrong Character Telling Your Story?

Posts About Description:

Writing Super Powers: Hearing
Writing Super Powers: Smelling
Writing Super Powers: Tasting
Maps and Floor plans
Writing Super Powers: Sight
Writing Super Powers: Feeling

Posts About Plotting:

Creating Tension
Raising the Stakes
Choosing A Plot Structure
Adding a Theme

Posts About Editing:

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.
The Macro Edit
The Micro Edit
Editing For Musicality
Editing For The First Time?
Staying Motivated

Posts About The Business:

5 Tips To Successful Self-Publishing
6 Things To Consider Before Starting A Small Press
How To Make Connections and Boost Your Writing Career
How To Write A Synopsis For Your Novel
How To Edit A Synopsis For Your Novel
Traditional And Self-Publishing
Do You Have To Pick One Genre?
The Writer Versus The Author
One Thing No One Told Me About Being My Own Boss

Posts About First Drafts: 

Putting Dialogue To Work
Point of View
The Five Narrative Modes
How To Write A Scene
Where To Start
Dividing Your Books Into Chapters and Scenes
Dialogue and Thought
Beginnings and Endings of Scenes and Chapters
Where To End The Book
Borrowing Languages And Cultures For Your Book

Thank you for hanging out with us this year! What's something you've learned in 2016 (not necessarily from us) and what's something you'd like to improve upon in the coming year?


  1. Ooo, what a helpful post! Definitely bookmarking this for later :) This year I've learned that finishing a first draft does not mean a book is finished -- there's still much, much more work after that. Next year, I'm hopefully going to finish my next draft (that's quite a big hopefully) and start the dreaded editing process... I hope you guys have had a great year, and have an excellent Christmas!!

    1. Oh, that's so true, Charlotte. Finishing the first draft is definitely worth celebrating, but yes. Still lots of work to be done!

  2. This year I learned that a new idea is a lot more fun to write than an old one, but you just have to keep plodding on with your old, "boring" draft. I think that because you know and think about your plot so much, it gets to be "boring" to you, but not to anyone else. Next year I am going to work on writing every day, even if it's just one sentence. I really hope that I will also be able to finish my first draft of the book I've been working on for two years and get at least half-way through a story that has been marinating for who-knows-how-long.

    1. YES, Lexi. It's very easy to be distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. My favorite book is always the one I haven't started writing yet :)

    2. A question.... What are some of the ways that you can motivate yourself to go write your "boring old draft"? I've tried rewarding myself with various things if I write, but the reward system doesn't really work and I have a hard time actually sitting down to write.

  3. Great post! It's cool. :D

    I have a question for you, Stephanie, about traditional publishing. I am 12 years old and I am planning on sending a query and proposal to a traditional publisher that is currently accepting non-agented proposals sometime in 2017. But, I have researched it and I can't find out if I have to pay to be traditionally published. So, that's my question: do I have to pay to be traditionally published, or do they just get part of my royalties?
    Thank you so much for your time, Stephanie! I look forward to hearing back from you. :D

    1. Great question, Anika! The answer is NO. You never have to pay a traditional publisher. They pay you, and then they make money as people buy the book. Lots of companies masquerade as traditional publishing but then charge you reading fees or marketing fees or something else made up. That's not traditional publishing, that's crooked businesses preying on vulnerable writers. (To be clear, I'm not talking about companies like CreateSpace because they are clearly for writers who are self-publishing their titles. I'm talking just about companies like Tate that pretend they are traditional publishing when they are not.)

    2. Okay!! Thank you so much, Stephanie! I KNEW you were just the person to talk to. BTW I absolutely love your site! I've been reading it for a year now, and even though I won't be a teen for another year, I love all your posts anyways. :D

  4. Thank you so much for this list! We will miss you, but I hope you have a great break!

  5. Ooo, thank you for this wonderful list, Stephanie! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! :)


  6. Goodness! We said a lot in 2016! Merry Christmas, everyone!

  7. Oh, so fun! Have an awesome vacation! Something from 2016? Um... not writing related, I had a hard time with a few friends... (maybe I learned how to be a better friends, at the cost of losing some? lol) writing related... I have just learned to be a better, more effecient writer. Keeping at schedules, and working towards, and completeting my goals.

  8. As a writer this year I've learned that the first draft does NOT have to be perfect, and to stop editing as I go. I realize now it's so much easier to get through the first draft without editing and editing. I love GTW by the way.
    Merry Christmas!

  9. Thanks for the list! The list-loving part of me is smiling very hard.