Tag Archives: writing resources

An Optimist Learns Objectivity

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

As an optimist, I assume the best about my writing. Of course I’m writing (almost) every day. Of course my manuscript is coming along beautifully. I’ll be finished in a couple of months.

When I completed WriteOwls’ Write by Midnight in February, the most useful tool in the whole month was the daily writing log. And it’s because I’m an optimist.

When I actually recorded my daily writing progress, I could no longer simply assume the best. If I didn’t write one day, that day had a big blank line beside it. And that objective record forced me to be realistic instead of just optimistic about my writing. Continue reading

Books for Improving Your Craft

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

I’ve been reading a number of books on writing lately, so I’d like to share a few recommendations with you.

1. The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield.
Most of the books on writing that I have devoured over the years have looked at putting together an entire novel, but this book drills down to the level of the individual scene and delves into what makes these building blocks of a novel work. It’s a thoughtful and insightful guide to this aspect of storytelling, and I learned a lot in the process of reading it that I’m looking forward to incorporating into my own writing.

2. Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison.
Pattison taught an intensive course on revision at the conference I attended in September, but I couldn’t get up there a day early to attend it, so my sweet husband bought me the book as a consolation prize. It’s as much a workbook as an instruction manual, so wait on this one till you have a finished draft in hand. I already have a running list of things that need to be improved in the next draft of my manuscript, but digging into Pattison’s perspective on revision gave me a solid approach to the process.

3. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.
Written by two editors, this book gives great advice on improving your own writing that can take it from mediocre to exceptional. My favorite aspect was that most examples came from manuscripts the authors had actually edited, so I could see how to apply the advice in real life. A passage that sounded just fine to me would be taken to the next level with their editing techniques.

What books have you found most helpful in developing your craft?

Two Days Until Write by Midnight

WriteOwls logo 150 black

The kickoff for Write by Midnight is only two days away, and some great resources to help you on your journey to success are writing logs and project trackers.

Click here for a printable log designed specifically by the WriteOwls for next month’s challenge.  Or, search for the terms “word count tracker” or “writing progress meter” online for some tech-oriented options. There are a variety of apps available, as well, for writing on the go. Try a few tools until you find the one that works best for you.

If you opt for the WriteOwls printable log, record the time of day you wrote (8 p.m. to 8:52 p.m.), where you wrote (desk, carpool line, coffee shop), your goal for that day (300 words, revise a scene, finish outline), your progress toward that goal (wrote 208 words, revised one sentence of a scene, outlined chapter one), and any notes about what did or didn’t work during the writing session.

By using this worksheet, you’ll hopefully see how well you’re incorporating writing into your daily routine, as well as patterns of productivity. You might be surprised how much you get written in the carpool lane or how little you get done at 10 p.m.—or vice versa. Experimenting with writing times and locations can help you discover how writing fits most naturally and effectively into your life.

Go ahead and download the form now, and write out your goal for Feb. 1. Then, at the end of your writing session the first day, assess where you are in your project and set a goal for Feb. 2.

When you complete the Write by Midnight challenge with a regular and sustainable writing schedule, not only will the month of February have been a success, but you’ll be ready to maintain that success into March, April, May and onward.

Ew, Argh, Eek!

Stacey Kite

Stacey Kite

Looking up the spelling for interjections and exclamations, those sounds people make that aren’t really words, takes me far more time than it should. It’s strange that, though I recognize expressions like ew, pee-ew and pfffffffffft in stories and cartoons and know what they mean, I have a horrible time remembering how to spell them. Since my spell-checker usually doesn’t know, either, I wind up wasting precious time looking up the spelling on the net. Or worst case, have to spend time fixing a drawing or painting where I misspelled some hand lettered sound-effect.

Writer-Style Twitter



The WriteOwls encourage you to customize your Twitter feed to support a healthy writing life by following:

  • Authors you admire
  • Writers in your writing or critique group
  • Agents you’re considering sending your work to
  • Publishing houses and their imprints
  • Professional associations and organizations for writers, particularly those within your favorite genres and those in your region or town
  • Writing publications and literary journals
  • People who know books, such as librarians, independent book sellers, book stores in your town and book reviewers
  • Writing coaches, university writing departments and style guides

Who else do you follow on Twitter, and what have you learning about your craft by following them?