Categories
Craft

5 Things to Avoid When Writing Setting

Worldbuilding is such an important part of communicating a story to a reader, and writing setting is an essential element. If a reader doesn’t see a world clearly, they won’t understand where the characters are within it and won’t have that vital interest in the novel.

So, when we are writing setting, what should we avoid?

1) Focusing on sight only. 

There are five senses (well, six depending on your outlook), and the reader wants to read about them. It is beautiful to read about how a place looks, but make sure you pull the reader into the story by telling us about the other senses too. We want to know about the cool air on your character’s skin, the scent of bread in the local bakery, the sound of children playing in a far off field, and the taste of autumn in the air.

2) Too much detail.

Your reader is intelligent, so have faith in their vision and ability to imagine the scene before them. Putting in too much detail can be jarring, especially if the detail seems irrelevant to the story. Consider what you can get across to your reader without going overboard with the description. For example, do they need to know about an old chair that doesn’t appear again in the story?

3) Setting information dumps.

Information dumps are a significant amount of text dedicated to filling the reader in. It can pull a reader from a story, so avoid setting the scene with pages and pages of description. The reader will forget that they are reading a story at all.

4) Disconnecting the setting from your characters.

How does your character interact with the world around them? How do they see the world they live in? This can tell us so much. For example, perhaps the steam rising from a chimney makes them think of a dragon. Why would this be the case? Are they a dreamer, an adventurer in a fantasy story? Connect the world with your character and draw your reader in further.

5) Allowing the setting to overtake the story. 

Setting is a vital element of your story, but it is not the most important thing about it. Sometimes, we can get wrapped up in imagining a world we have created, and while it is wonderful to read about that place, make sure that your story is still firmly set within it. The reader wants to know about your tale first and foremost.

Ready to create a world that sparkles? There are many ways I can help. Check out my online writing course, It’s Time to Write Your Novel, here. This course takes you through the journey of writing a novel, including worldbuilding and setting.

Do you want to read something similar?
Check out the following:
3 Ways to Ensure Your Novel is Well Paced
4 Tips for Writing in Multiple Points of View

Categories
Productivity

Want to get more done? Shrink your goals.

So you want to get more done, write a novel, a bestselling book, a work of non-fiction, a book of short stories, a poem. It can feel overwhelming to sit down and just *begin* and while some people seem to have that knack and talent, I am certainly not one of them.

The world is a distracting place. We have to work during the day and have family responsibilities, and our desire to write a novel might be high on our list of dreams, but it isn’t always high on our priorities list. Why? Because the dog needs to be fed, and there’s a weird stain on the ceiling, that’s why.

So, want to know the secret to getting it done? Three words:

Shrink your goals. 

You might be baulking at this because this is the opposite of what you have read. Perhaps it’s even the opposite of what your writing coach has told you: Dream big! Bigger! BIGGER!! But, here’s the thing about big dreams – if you don’t break them down and work out how you’re going to get them done, they remain dreams and don’t become a reality.

I’m not telling you to shrink your goal of writing a bestseller; heck no. You have it within you to write a bestseller, and I don’t doubt it for a minute. What I am saying is: to get there, you have to shrink down that goal into sizeable, manageable chunks and fit them into your daily life.

Here’s how:

1: How long is your novel going to be? The below might help, if you’re unsure of the word count you are aiming for.

Epic: 120,000 – 200,000
Thriller: 70,000 – 90,000
Sci-Fi or fantasy: 90,000  – 120,000
Romance  novels: 50,000 – 100,000
Historical fiction: 80,000 – 100,000
Non-fiction: Depends on genre – best to research your specific area.
YA: 40,000 – 80,000
Middle Grade: 20,000 – 50,000
Novella: 20,000 – 50,000
Novelette: 7,500 – 20,000
Short Story – 1,000 – 7,500
Flash Fiction – 1000 words or less
Drabble – Exactly 100 words
Micro Fiction – 300 words or less

2: How long do you have to write your novel?

3: What is your creative data? (Unsure? Check this blog post out to see.)

4: Work backwards. How much do you need to write a day to get your novel written? How many days do you have available for you? When, therefore, will you be finished?

Shrink those goals into sizeable chunks so that you can move forward with the confidence of a definite bestseller!

You’ve got this writer. 

Looking for a similar read? Check these out:

4 Time Blocking Tips for Writers
How to Set Effective Writing Goals
3 Things I Did to Level Up My Writing Game

Categories
Coaching Craft

10 Ways to Grow as a Writer

Are you looking for a way to grow as a writer but struggling to work out how to do it? Don’t worry; I’ve got you. Growing as a writer means expanding your knowledge of the craft, your ability to find the time to write, and your access to writing. It means getting better at what you do – writing stories. So, let’s begin with ten ways to grow as a writer.

1) Expand your vocabulary.

Great idea. But, aside from eating a dictionary, how can you go about this? Here are a few ways. Develop a reading habit. Reading helps you understand so much about writing, and it is such a vital part of being a writer that it should not be discounted. It grows your vocabulary, yes, and it also helps you understand plot, tropes, characterisation…the list is endless. Another great and fun way to expand your vocabulary is to play word games. I’m talking about Wordle, Scrabble, and more. Games are for adults, too!

2) Use writing prompts.

Every other week I share a new writing prompt with my subscribers. Why? Because they are an excellent lesson in writing. They can inspire poetry, short stories, a paragraph that sparks an entire novel you never knew you had in you. Writing with writing prompts is the practice of growing as a writer and making progress in the craft you love.

3) Share your writing.

Yes, I said it. Sharing your writing will help you grow as a writer. For some, the thought of this is scary. I get it; I’ve been there. When I was in the first year of my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, I used to sit at my table, dreading the moment I would be called on to read my writing to the class. But, here’s the thing…after a while, it didn’t bother me so much. Why? Two reasons. The first is that practising anything makes it much easier. The second is that my peers were trained to give feedback. That second one is vital. If you are nervous about sharing your work, share it with the right person. Share with another writer, a friend you trust, an editor or a writing coach. Practice sharing because peer review is one of the most valuable tools we have at our disposal as writers.

4) Keep a writing journal. 

What’s a writing journal, and why keep one? A writing journal is like your regular journal or diary, only this one focuses on your writing, including anything you want to talk about, how it’s going, what you are struggling with, and what you have written that day. So why would keeping one help you grow as a writer? Because it enables you to explore your process, what is working for you, and what isn’t. This kind of investigation helps you learn exactly who you are as a writer and pinpoint areas of growth.

5) Hire a writing coach or editor. 

As a writing coach and editor, I can tell you that I have watched all of my clients grow through our work together. It is an incredible thing to witness, and I love helping writers discover what works for them, clear the path forward, and ultimately achieve their dreams of writing their novels. I am trained to ask the right questions to help you find a way forward, and growing as a writer is a worthy investment indeed. I hire a coach too, and it’s the best thing I ever decided to do. Here’s a little on my own experience: The Top 5 Things I Learned from Working with a Coach

6) Join a writing group. 

Writing groups are amazing because they provide us with support and craft knowledge and offer us accountability. You can look online or in your local area and see what’s offered.

7) Take part in a writing retreat. 

Writing retreats are incredible. They are spaces for you to create, write, and learn. They are your community, and they leave you feeling rested, inspired, and truly like the writer you are. Looking for a writing retreat to join? Recently I co-ran a writing retreat called The Writing Week Retreat, and it was a runaway success, with writers writing more in one week than usual, and community-led learning. Want to know more and receive updates about the next one? Get in touch here.

8) Write outside your comfort zone. 

When was the last time you pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone when writing? Not sure? Here’s a task to do that right now!

Take the opening paragraph of your novel or latest work. Re-write it, using none of the same words as your original work.

What does this task do? It forces you to think differently, search for new words, and grow as a writer. Give it a go today, and see which piece of writing you prefer.

9) Subscribe to a writing magazine and participate in competitions. 

There are some fantastic writing magazines available, and they are full of competitions and fun things to be a part of. How does this help you grow? Aside from the craft information shared within these magazines, using writing competitions gives you new ideas, new prompts and instils a routine into your writing life.

10) Revise old writing. 

Want to know how much you have grown as a writer? Read and revise your old work. Highlight what you like, and re-write what you don’t. Pay attention to what has changed, how your eye has developed, and be proud of your growth. Need an editor to help? Feel free to get in touch today and book a free 30-minute Discovery Call with me.

Ready to talk about coaching?

As a Certified Professional Coach, trained by an ICF company and with an ILM Level 2, you can trust that my coaching skills are tried and tested. As a writer with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, and over six years of lecturing in adult education and at universities, I’m a professional writer specialising in helping others find their way forward. 

Any to add? Let me know! Want to read something similar?

Check these out:

3 Things I Did to Level Up My Writing Game
10 Ways to Limit Writing Overwhelm

Categories
Craft

Don’t Know Where to Start Writing? Try The Triptych Method

Sometimes we have a story in our mind, but we don’t know where to begin. It can be hard to figure out what the first step is, which can mean that the story doesn’t progress. So what can we do in this situation?

Well, you’re in the right place if you are ready to try the Triptych method (featured in Writing is My Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor). You may be familiar with the word triptych in the art world, referring to a painting made of three sections. This writing method is so-called because it also uses three parts. So, let’s break it down.

The Triptych Method

Step 1: Think of a theme, concept or idea you want to write about.

Step 2: Think of three examples from your life where you have experienced something related to this, and note them down.

Step 3: Set a timer for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Describe a scene from each example.

Step 5: Re-read your writing. Circle words that jump out of the text. What are the emerging stories or feelings? These are your inspiration to continue.

What does this exercise do for you?

It inspires you to write for fifteen minutes on an idea you previously struggled with, meaning that you can move forward and fuel your desire to tell the story. Have you ever tried this method before?

Want to read something similar? Check these out:

How Understanding Your Creative Data Can Lead to Literary Success
Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Character Development 

Categories
Coaching Productivity

Mindfulness Techniques for Writers

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that can be practised at any time. It might be that you have heard people talk about eating ‘mindfully’, meaning that they focus on and are aware of what they are eating during that moment, and in many ways, this is the simplest way of describing it:

‘Mindfulness is being aware of yourself, others and the world around you.’ (Chaskalson, M and McMordie. M. Mindfulness for Coaches. New York, Routledge, 2018.)

You may not know this, but I have studied and practice mindfulness. This helps me every day, and I use it in my writing and coaching practice. Practising mindfulness involves focusing on your breathing, noticing thoughts without entirely giving in to them, and paying attention to the task at hand. Practising mindfulness has been proven to improve the ability to focus, regulate emotion and gain perspective. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

How can it help you write?

Mindfulness is all well and good, but if it weren’t linked in some way to writing, then I wouldn’t be talking about it! So, how can it actually help you write? It’s all linked to the act and process of writing. As we all know, sitting down to write is not always easy, and it can be stressful. Whether you feel pressure because of a deadline, don’t know what you should be focusing on next, or don’t know how you will fit writing into your busy week, practising mindfulness can help.

Why involve it in your Creative Writing practice?

Good question. The answer is because it can help move you forward. It can help with your mindset, allow you to have perspective, and offer you the ability to enjoy writing as a mindful process instead of one that potentially causes feelings of stress, comparison, and overwhelm. Just as a side note, these are totally normal feelings to have around writing. Why? Because it’s not as simple as sitting down and writing a fun story. Sometimes we feel stressed, and other times we can’t help but compare our writing or productivity to the highlight reel that is Instagram.

How to begin involving mindfulness in your process today:

If you are ready to give it a go, let’s start today. After all, if you’re being offered something that could improve your writing life, why not start as soon as possible? Here are some mindfulness techniques for writers:

Technique 1:
An excellent task to begin your mindful writing practice is to write for five minutes about your current surroundings. Five minutes is a short amount of time, so don’t feel that you are wasting time that could be spent on your work in progress – on the contrary, allowing yourself some time and space to warm up, embed yourself in the present, and notice the senses, will result in a happier writing experience. Why? Because you will feel calmer, and your mind will be more focused on the task at hand, having a similar result to task batching.

Technique 2:
Ring a bell. This is one of my favourite tasks because it helps me see when my mind has wandered from writing. Give it a go yourself, and see how it works for you. When writing your work in progress, keep a bell beside you. Every time you find that you have slipped from the narrative of your story and start thinking about something else – perhaps you begin to think about what you will have for dinner – ring the bell. This might sound strange, but what you are doing is practising paying attention to writing. You are being mindful of your practice. Ringing the bell is a physical activity that uses the senses, pulling you back into the present.

Technique 3:
Practice being present with your main character. You could do this in many ways, from writing a letter to them to hot seating them with interview type questions. One of my favourite ways of doing this is through drawing. You should know your character inside out, so spend some time with them. The better you know them, the better you will write them, and the easier it will be to focus purely on the act of telling their story.

Technique 4: 
To get a first draft down on the page, it helps to push revision to one side. Why? Because you cannot edit a blank page. If you are someone who struggles with the idea of this and find yourself re-reading what you have written as you are writing, catch yourself. Take a breath, and think of the next part of your story. If you notice that you are thinking thoughts such as ‘That doesn’t sound good,’ or ‘That word isn’t quite right,’ label it as a thought. Ask yourself if spending your writing time searching for the right word is the best thing you could be doing right now or whether you could spend those ten minutes writing one hundred new words. Taking a deep breath and noticing our thoughts is a big part of getting to the next stage of our writing process – the edit. Revision can be done then, so allow yourself the grace to write now.

There are four ways to practice mindfulness in your writing life today. Give it a go, and see what happens.
If this has brought anything up for you and you want to talk about how you can move forward in your writing life, get in touch. I would love to help you prosper and write a novel you are proud of.

Categories
Productivity

10 Ways to Limit Writing Overwhelm

What is writing overwhelm? It is that sometimes familiar feeling of being overwhelmed by the vastness of the job at hand – writing. As we all know, writing is not an easy task all the time, and sometimes the sheer amount of work that needs to be done can weigh heavy on our minds. So, how do we overcome this, pausing the battle so we can get some words written down on the page? Here are ten ways to limit writing overwhelm.

1) Make it fun again. 

Remember when you first started writing? What did it feel like to sit down and get to share a story that had been waiting inside your head? For me, it was pure joy. It was sitting at the computer after school, basking in a fantasy world that I just wanted to spend more time in. The words flew out of me because I had no expectations. All I wanted to get from my writing time was the pure joy of writing, of spending time with my characters. So, how can we make writing FUN again?

If you’re struggling to enjoy writing your novel, change what you’re doing. You could change your writing space, making it brighter, clearer, or simpler. Take a break from your book with a short story or a page of writing that has nothing to do with anything else. You could use a writing prompt, like the ones I send out every week to my subscribers. The main thing is to ask yourself HOW to make it fun again and think about the question. For me, fun comes from real-life research, cooking the foods I write about or visiting similar places. That gets me fired up and ready to write – so what works for you?

2) Separate research time from writing time. 

I’ve previously written a blog post all about this – check it out here! Separating research and writing time can really help with limiting overwhelm. Why? Because when you sit down to write, take a minute to do some research and fall down a research rabbit hole (which happens at the best of times), you find that the time you had set aside for writing quickly disappears. Instead, try setting aside time for researching as one task and writing as another. Multi-tasking was invented for computers, not the human brain, so it makes sense that task batching would work better. Check out this post, all about task batching, to learn more. Being able to sit down and get some writing done helps limit that overwhelm because it focuses your mind on the task at hand.

3) Remove distractions.

Distractions are tricky when writing, and it is easy to be overwhelmed when there is so much going on. I often think about Dickens and wonder what distractions he had when working. Of course, it was nothing like today when the urge to check Instagram ‘just for a second’ is there while writing, but certainly, he must have had some. So, how can we limit distractions in this world of entertainment? The Forest App is excellent for this. It blocks websites of your choice for as long as you set a timer. Don’t want to download an app? Not a problem; try simply setting the stopwatch on your phone. You will find that each time you look at it, you see it counting up, giving you pause for thought. Realising that you are about to be distracted is often all you need to continue. Want to know more about limiting procrastination? Click here.

4) Set a timer.

Have you ever tried the Pomodoro technique? This time limiting technique asks you to set your timer at twenty minutes for a task. Sometimes you will find that twenty minutes is all you can spare, and at other times you might continue without noticing that the time is up. Setting a timer can help limit overwhelm because it lets you take the task in one small piece. Writing a novel is made up of those moments of writing, just one paragraph at a time.

5) Try a new perspective. 

Not your perspective, a character perspective! It can really help you refocus on your story, and limit overwhelm to consider your characters’ feelings. Here’s a fun task: try writing a letter to your protagonist from the point of view of other characters. You might find that you learn something you didn’t already know.

6) Create a writing routine that works for YOU.

A writing routine that makes you feel overwhelmed is not the right one. Perhaps you are trying to write every day when you just don’t have the time. That’s okay – writing every day is for Stephen King, but certainly not for me, and it might not be for you either. If you are ready to create a writing routine that works for you, click here and read about how to do it.

7) Consider your expectations. 

How much pressure are you putting on yourself to get this work done by a specific time, and is it realistic? Can you move the deadline, and what would happen if you did? Are you stressing about something like formatting your book when you could hire someone to do it for you? Consider what expectations you are having of yourself and how they play into your feelings of overwhelm. If you want to set effective goals, check out this post. 

8) Journal.

I am a big fan of journaling because it helps you investigate your feelings and thoughts about a situation. I would always recommend doing it by hand if possible because it forces you to write slower, giving you the time to think about the overwhelm you are experiencing. You could also try meditation, or purely sitting in silence, and allowing yourself to think through the feelings. Time for yourself can work wonders.

9) Set boundaries with yourself and others. 

Setting boundaries with other people is essential in writing. You need the time to create! It helps to tell other people that you are planning to write at a specific time and that you will need space to do so. If you find that the response is a little combative, try involving the other person in your plans and successes, such as sharing a reward when a thousand words have been written. This may make them more willing to give you that space and time you need to work and will show them how seriously you take it.
It’s also important to set boundaries with yourself. This means allowing yourself to find that time, to have that space, and invest in your craft. Writing isn’t easy, but it deserves your attention if it’s important to you. If you allow yourself the support of you, the feeling of overwhelm will be much easier to investigate.

10) Organise your writing area. 

A tidy desk really does create a tidy mind. When our writing area is cluttered, it can make us feel overwhelmed purely by looking at it. So, take a moment before writing to clear the space in front of you and make it nicer to be in. Perhaps light a candle, and open a window for some fresh air. Making your space conducive to writing will help.

There you have it, ten ways to limit writing overwhelm! Want to chat about this further? Get in touch; I would love to tell you how coaching can help you move forward in your writing life. 

Categories
Coaching

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Writing Coach

Ready to hire a Writing Coach but don’t know what to ask on a Discovery Call? Don’t worry; I’ve got you.

Writing coaches (also called book coaches) are your personal trainer for writing, there to support you, help you through your writing issues, and give you the confidence to show up to the blank page. You may have considered hiring a writing coach but struggle to know who is best for you. First of all, here are some tips on finding a writing coach before we move on to what to ask them.

How To Find A Writing Coach

You can find a writing coach online. One sure-fire way to peruse the options is by searching ‘writing coach’ on Instagram. Any coach with that in their bio will show up, and you will be able to see what they’re about. As a writing coach myself, here are my tips:

  • Ensure the person is offering some type of ‘meet and greet’. This might look like a Discovery Call, like the ones I offer, an introduction over email, or even a coffee in the local area if you happen to be nearby. This is because you want to make sure you and your coach have a rapport. You will be having confidential sessions with your coach, so find someone you can talk to, open up to, trust, and like.
  • Check their experience. Do they have qualifications and happy previous clients?
  • When was the last time they posted? It might be best to look elsewhere if it’s been months because this signals that the person is no longer engaged in their business.
5 Questions to Ask a Potential Writing Coach

Once you have made some progress with your search and you’re ready to chat with a coach, here are some questions you can ask:

  1. How would you help me with my writing issue? (This will help you understand if this is the best step for you.)
  2. What are your values? (Having a coach whose values align with yours is important.)
  3. Why are you the right coach for me? (This is a great question and will tell you whether you are a good client for them.)
  4. Do you have your own coach? (A coach who is coached and invests in themselves believes in the value of coaching and works on their own mindset. This makes them a better coach.)
  5. What is your feedback style? (If you’re looking for tough love and the coach you are talking to isn’t built that way, it’s okay. It just means that it might not be the best fit.)

There you have it, five questions to ask your potential writing coach! Do you have any questions that you would add? Let me know. 

Looking for a writing coach? As a Certified Professional Coach, trained by an ICF company and with an ILM Level 2, you can trust that my coaching skills are tried and tested. As a writer with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, and over six years of lecturing in adult education and at universities, I’m a professional writer specialising in helping others find their way forward. 

Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.

Want to read something similar? Check these out!

What is a Writing Coach?
4 Ways to Edit Your Own Writing

Categories
Coaching

How to Get Rid of Self-Limiting Writing Beliefs

“I haven’t published a story, so I can’t call myself a writer.”

Many self-limiting beliefs can hold us back in the writing world, and that’s just an example of one of them.

I often compare writing to the art world. If someone paints, loves it, spends their spare time painting, is part of a painting community and thrives in it…there’s no question that they’re a painter. Whether they have had an exhibition of their artwork or not, they are still a painter.

Often when we tell other people we write, the first question that comes back is, “Have you written anything that I’d know?” Or “Are you published?” Or “Where can I find your work?”

I know this can lead to anxiety and can further that annoying self-limiting belief. So read on if this is something you struggle with because I am going to share a task to help you move forward when these thoughts appear.

Acknowledge.

What is the belief that’s holding you back? The first step is acknowledging its presence and taking note when it appears. Write it down and don’t let it get away without investigation – because if it’s holding you back in writing, then you have every right to show it who’s boss!

Question.

Ask yourself the following:

  1. Do I actually believe this?
  2. Why?
  3. What’s my proof for this?
  4. What advice would I give someone else who is feeling this way?

These questions will force you to really get to the heart of the belief and allow you to break down those self-limiting walls with proof and empathy for yourself.

Practice. 
Every time you notice this pop up, remember that this is not necessarily what you believe. Remind yourself of what you have discovered, and keep working at moving past it!

If you struggle with this and want to chat more about it, get in touch! As a writing coach, I can help you investigate the issue and develop action points to move forward. Want to read more about self-limiting beliefs? Check this post out from The Open University.

You’ve got this, writer!

 

Categories
Craft

5 Ways to Tackle Research

Research is a significant part of being a writer. Whether you are writing historical fiction, fantasy, romance – there will always be an element of research that needs to be done. So, aside from using the Google search box, how can you tackle the research part of your book? Read on for five ways!

1) Experience. 

Sometimes people trip up on the advice to write what you know, believing that you should write only about your life. However, this means that you should draw from experience to add realism to your work. So, how can you do this? From cooking the meals that your character eats (I enjoyed making son-of-a-gun stew recently, straight from my novel) to visiting a place you are writing about, there are many ways to experience research. You could even take a class on the subject at your local library!

2) Ask the experts. 

Who do you know that you would consider an expert on a subject you are writing about? Perhaps your childhood friend owns a horse, and your main character uses horseback as their primary method of transport. Why not set up an interview with them? Asking for personal experiences in what you write about can help you develop a realistic storyline and create a world that jumps from the pages.

3) Read.

Read as much as you can – and I don’t just mean non-fiction research type books about your chosen subject. Fiction can also be beneficial for research because it helps you understand the genre and subject you are writing about. You can also use niche magazines to help.

4) Use other forms of media. 

I am so grateful for documentaries when I feel tired, but I still want to research my novel. I find that there is nothing more delightful than sitting back with a cup of tea and enjoying a well-informed, fact-based show. I also watch lectures on YouTube, which many universities upload for free. You can find a wealth of information from experts there.

5) Image searches. 

Using sites like Pinterest can help with your research too. You might find that you’re a little bit stuck on what you need to research, especially if you haven’t started writing yet. Don’t panic – a search on Pinterest can ignite that creative flame and help you understand where to start, where to continue, and give you ideas for your novel.

How do you research your work, and is there anything you would add to this list? Let me know; I would love to hear from you.

Want to chat about researching? Get in touch here.

Categories
Craft

Your Guide to Decoding Writing Acronyms and Terminology

Have you ever been online and seen a writing post that you don’t understand? I have been there.

Despite having studied Creative Writing at university, I was slightly baffled by the writing acronyms and terminology used when joining the online world of writers. What on earth was a CP, anyway? So, if you have ever felt this way, too, here is a helpful guide to de-code that confusing language for you!

  • Active voice – Using the subject of a sentence to perform an action, “The monkey likes bananas” rather than “The bananas were liked by the monkey.”
  • Alpha reader – Someone who reads your draft as you are writing it. Alpha readers are often writers and can give you insight into fixing an issue.
  • Amplification – Adding to a sentence to build upon its meaning.
  • Analogy – “The mind is like a car engine.” – Drawing a comparison between two things that are not alike to help make a point.
  • Antagonist – The villain of your story.
  • Anti-hero: A flawed hero, such as Batman.
  • Beta reader – Someone who reads your novel once it has been through at least one draft. A beta reader aims to give you a reader’s perspective. They do not have to be a writer, as they are reading as your ‘target audience’.
  • Blurb – A short description of a book designed to engage a reader.
  • CP – Critique Partner
  • CW – Creative Writing
  • Character arc – Your character’s personal journey and how they develop.
  • Colloquialism – Slang, ordinary conversation. This can make dialogue seem more realistic.
  • Copy editing – Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and style.
  • Developmental editing – Editing for narrative, characterisation, plot, and more.
  • Dialogue tags – A verb post dialogue to show who has spoken, e.g.: ‘yelled Sally.’
  • Exposition – providing background information to help the reader understand what is happening.
  • External conflict – The issues facing a character externally, for example; A character losing their job.
  • First-person – I language. ‘I went to the shops.’
  • Foreshadowing – To write an indication of an event or moment.
  • Fourth person – One language. ‘One goes to the shops.’ (Not often used in narrative)
  • Grammatical person – First, second, third or fourth person narrative.
  • Head-hopping – moving from one character’s point of view to another within the same writing section.
  • Information dump: A lot of backstory or information given at one time. This can be jarring and might pull a reader out of a story.
  • Internal conflict – How a character is coping internally, within themselves.
  • MS: Manuscript, an unpublished piece of work.
  • NANOWRIMO – National Novel Writing Month, which takes place during November.
  • Narrative break – A break in the story to signal to the reader that there has been a passage of time.
  • OC – Original character.
  • POV – Point of view. The person from whose perspective you are telling a story.
  • Pantser –  Someone who doesn’t plot a novel but prefers to invent as they write.
  • Planster – Someone who both plans and creates on the spot when writing.
  • Plot hole – An issue with a plot that makes it seem unrealistic or creates an inconsistency.
  • Plotter – Someone who plans a story in advance.
  • Protagonist – Your main character.
  • Red herring – To give a false clue to your reader.
  • Second person – You language. ‘You went to the shops.’
  • Subplot – a storyline that moves alongside the main plot, often supporting it.
  • Synopsis – A summary of your story.
  • Third-person – He, she, they language. ‘They went to the shops.’
  • WIP – Work in progress.
  • Writing sprint – A timed session where one writes as much as possible.

Are there any writing acronyms and terminology I have missed out that you want to know about? Let me know, and I’ll add it!