Writing Craft

Writing is both an art and a science. Below are tools, blog posts, and resources for improving craft, finding motivation, and polishing your work.

Articles on Writing Craft:

3 Ways to Set Yourself Apart in the Slush

Narrowing Your Focus: Rule #5 of Pixar Storytelling

A Plotting Tool (With Good News for Your Query and Synopsis): Pixar Rule #4

Allowing Theme To Develop Itself: #3 of Pixar Storytelling

Pixar 22: Rule 2- Flings vs. Soulmates

Pixar 22: Rule 1- Character Struggle

My New Favorite Plotting Tool: Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

Struggling with Writer’s Block?

The Basics of Character Development

Drafting Tools:

Marathoning a Novel. Have you ever wanted to fast-draft a novel? I wrote the first draft of my YA contemporary in 40 days with a full-time job. Try it!

Camp NaNoWriMo

Revision Tools:

AutoCrit Editing Wizard: This tool is brilliant. There are both paid and free versions, but the paid version is cheap and totally worth it. Why? Hold on to your hats. I copy-paste a chapter into the box, and within seconds it generates a report showing passive verbs, filter words, empty words, adverbs, and adjectives. It gives me a word count and visual for the length of my sentences, lists any clichés and dialogue tags I used, highlights words and phrases I use repeatedly, and gives me a list of phrases I use that could be cut to a word or two. AutoCrit also marks homonyms so I can make sure I didn’t slip up, and it evaluates the reading level of my writing based on 12 major tests. Last but certainly not least, it compares all those highlighted things with a massive database of published writing and lets me know how many more passive verbs (for example) are in my writing versus the writing in their database.
In short, AutoCrit is editing genius. I no longer have to strain my eyes picking through sentence after sentence. I have everything highlighted neatly in a several reader-friendly reports. It’s not a human, but it’s remarkable anyway. Plus, it pays me compliments if my writing comes up clean. How much better can it get?
The free version requires no sign-up, but you’re limited to 400 words three times per day- and you only get the top three reports. Definitely try the free version to see if you like it, but I recommend at least the gold membership ($47/year). You can enter up to 1000 words unlimited times, and you receive access to every report.

Noah Lukeman

  1. I LOVED Gardner’s book. Read it the way I drink wine, a sip at a time. Then turned back to page one and read it again!

    One more for you to try, not directed at fiction per se but I loved how she approached the task: Francine Prose, “Reading Like a Writer.” I found myself reading that one the same way, although not getting my world turned upside down quite as often. I’m going to add your others to my Goodreads list.

  2. I’m reading The Anatomy of Story by John Truby and highly recommend it.

  3. I do use Goodreads! I’ll check out your blog.

  4. I will gradually be reviewing books on the the craft of writing on my blog. Looks for those posts on Tuesdays. Then I will follow that up with a writing exercise post on Wednesdays. Do you use Shelfari or Goodreads?

  5. Website: http://www.aseedforcoralee.com

    Leamon E. Scott

  6. Greetings. I would like to recommend that you review my debut Mystery/Suspense novel – A Seed for Cora Lee- on your blogsite. Please see website provided for preview/about-the-author/video trailer. I would be honored if you’d accept this request. Thank you for your consideration.

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