Hello, writerly friends~ ♥︎
You asked for a Writing Advice Masterpost, so here it is! Below you will find a collection of the best questions and answers from the last two years. Not only that, but they are also organized so you can find the answers to your questions quickly and get on with writing.
But wait, there is more!
This post is more than just a collection of advice, it’s a nexus for writing advice, resources, and information! That’s right, this post is going to grow over time. I will be updating this masterpost WEEKLY with new answers, writing advice videos, playlists, and more! So, make sure to bookmark this page and follow my blog (maxkirin.tumblr.com) so you don’t miss a thing~ ♥︎
- Daily Story Seed
- Daily Weird Prompt
- Daily Character Question
- Your Writing Horoscope (Discontinued)
- "Can I publish a story based on one of your prompts?"
Virtual Writing Academy
- Episode #01: Writing An Intense Scene
- Episode #02: Fleshing Out Characters
- Episode #03: Writing An Engaging Story
- Episode #04: Writing Different POVs
- Episode #05: Writing A Compelling Antagonist
- Episode #06: Writing Things You Have Never Experienced
Motivation & Inspiration
- Daily Writer Positivity
- How to Finish Your First Novel (M. Kirin’s Origin Story)
- What Confidence Is and Is NOT
- How to Regain the Motivation to Finish That Book
- "I’m afraid writing is a waste of time"
- "I’m half-way through this book and I’m stuck"
- Stop Trying to Impress People
- Stop Trying to Make Your Parents Proud of your Writing
- Your Parents Disapprove of Your Writing?
- You’re Not The Worst Writer In The World
- English Not Your First Language? Neither is Mine
- A Tip for All Young Writers Worrying That Nobody Will Take Them Seriously
- Dealing with Hate and Harsh Criticism
- You Need to Develop a Thick Skin
- Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Speech
- Feeling Down About Your Writing? :c
Planning, Outlining, and Getting Started
- M. Kirin’s (Strange) Guide to Planning Your Novel
- M. Kirin’s Click-n-Drag Story Generator
- Which outlining method is the best? (Video)
- "I want to write a book but I have no idea where to start"
- The Story-Idea Test
- M. Kirin’s Secret for Starting books, and Finishing Them
- M. Kirin’s Top 3 Tips to Start Writing and Never Stopping
- The 10-Minute Writing Trick
- Tips for writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal
- How Much Worldbuilding is Enough?
Editing & Revision
- M. Kirin’s Top 5 Revision Tips
- How to Love and Care for Your Beta Readers
- M. Kirin’s (subjective) secret recipe for the second draft
- When is the best time to edit a story?
- M. Kirin Talks About Editing, and Speeding Up Your Story
- M. Kirin Uses Evernote to Revise Books
- "Kill Your Darlings" VS "Cut What You Love"
- Writing Killer Plot-Twists and Mystery Novels
Hot Button Issues
- Realism is a dirty word
- Racist & homophobic language in fiction
- Inaccuracy in Fiction (Video)
- M. Kirin drops a few bombs on ‘creative vocabulary’
- "I want to write but I don’t have the time"
- Is it bad to have too many LGBTQIA or POC characters?
- "My antagonist is POC/LGBTQIA, is this bad?"
- "All my characters are LGBTQIA, is this bad?"
- When to let go of a story
- Overcoming the First Sentence
- Overcoming the First Sentence, Again
- Overcoming the First Sentence, Redux
- The 10-Minute Rule
- Making Boring Scenes FUN to Write!
- Stories are like children
- Let’s Talk About Titles (And Then Talk Some More)
- M. Kirin Reveals the ‘Secret’ Behind Style
- How much description/scenery is too much?
- How can I write faster?
- I want my readers to love my characters
- I think my book may be too short for my genre
- My story doesn’t have an Antagonists, should I add one?
- I killed one of my main characters by mistake, what do I do?
- M. Kirin’s Writing Advice for Fleshing out Romantic Relationships
- A warning about character names and meanings
- Help! My characters are not doing what I expected them to!
- A warning about character sheets
- A talk about the beauty of first drafts, and pacing
- Is getting attached to your characters… bad?
- A note on Antagonism, and whether you need a villain or not
- Past or present tense?
- Is swearing okay? And other muthafuckin’ truths
- "What emotion do you find hardest to write?"
- "What writing software do you use?"
- Communication, a must for collaborative works
- Researching illegal things, cousin? I got just the thing for you!
- Joss Whedon’s Top 10 Writing Tips
- M. Kirin’s Tarot Cheat-Sheet
Writing Music & Playlists
- Writing In The Dark (Relaxing, Unobtrusive)
- Writing About Love (All the Feels)
- Writing & Fighting! (Super Intense!)
- M. Kirin’s Favorite Music to Listen to While Writing
Last Updated: 07-11-14. Click HERE to see the latest update.
I would totally do this for you guys, but I’ll leave the master-post making to my newsletters as I see my posts pop up in my activity feed.
Ever finished a book? I mean, truly finished one? Cover to cover. Closed the spine with that slow awakening that comes with reentering consciousness?
You take a breath, deep from the bottom of your lungs and sit there. Book in both hands, your head staring down at the cover, back page or wall in front of you.
You’re grateful, thoughtful, pensive. You feel like a piece of you was just gained and lost. You’ve just experienced something deep, something intimate… Full from the experience, the connection, the richness that comes after digesting another soul.
It’s no surprise that readers are better people. Having experienced someone else’s life through abstract eyes, they’ve learned what it’s like to leave their bodies and see the world through other frames of reference. They have access to hundreds of souls, and the collected wisdom of all them.
Beautiful read on why readers are, “scientifically,” the best people to date.
Perhaps Kafka’s timeless contention that books are "the axe for the frozen sea inside us" applies equally to the frozen sea between us.
Asked by comealongpixie
I’m doing the exact same thing for my July NaNoWriMo project (because I can’t do anything easy, ever), and I’ve been hammering away at how to do this for a few weeks. That doesn’t make me an expert, but here’s my advice.
- Timeline EVERYTHING. You’re going to need timelines galore, more than one, so that you can compare past and present to each other. Make at least one total time, split your two stories into separate timelines, and finally it might be a good idea to create a timeline where you mix the events together in how you want to write them (post-it notes might be best for this, you’re going to be moving things around a lot).
- Look for matching highs and lows. I am definitely going to do more work on this, but you need to make sure your cuts back and forth in time match up in terms of tone, intent, and events. You don’t want to cut off a cliffhanger and spend the next fifty pages relating a rather calm hang-out with friends. Matching the events together keeps the action flowing.
- Colored pens are your friend. Keep track of events, characters, past and present action by using designated colors. Be consistent, or you’ll confuse yourself!
- Consider limiting your viewpoints. Multiple points of view combined with going back and forth in time is going to be confusing for you; your readers will have even more of a tough time with it. Consider choosing a few narrators (I have two main ones, two minor ones). They’ll be an anchor for your readers to easily understand who is conveying what and when.
- Break it down to scenes, not chapters. I guarantee you’ll have to shift about how the story is told in your later drafts. Split things up by scenes to easily shift them around. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Flashcards are also your friends. Shuffling scenes, characters, tone, and setting are super easy to do with flashcards. If you’re working with time, believe me, you will need them.
That’s the prep side of things. Now let’s consider the actual story side of things:
- Figure out how the past and present connect. In my story, it revolves around the fate of one person who connects both narrations together. Tying these stories together ahead of time will help you figure out how to reveal that to the reader.
- Your main character(s) are essential. This is true for any story, but if the reader is going to be time-jumping, they need reasons to care equally for both past and present stories. Your characters are the key to that. Time jumping is, on the surface, a gimmick; the story that goes with it will be the true seller.
- Tell time via setting. How has the present changed from the past? What do the characters now have or don’t have that’s different? It’s amazing how things change in just ten years. Don’t neglect that part of the story!
- Figure out why the story has to be told this way. I mentioned that time jumping is a gimmick, and that’s because it is. If there’s no reason the story has to be told this way, you risk irritating the reader with this trick rather than fascinating them. With my story, it’s essential to explaining a present problem that was created by the past, and to show how the connecting figure plays a part in both. There are numerous reasons why you’d use this to tell a story, but make sure it’s an important element of the story.