Find your next favourite story now
Over 90 days ago
United States


Active Ink Slinger
The Writing process -

Intro- Hi there everyone thanks for trying out this guide. Here I will give you a combination of tips and tricks that hopefully you find helpful in creating your own stories.

Preparation- The first step of course is to prepare your story. So you got a great idea in your head and want to bring it to life with your words. But the idea itself is probably a bit scattered so before you just dive in I recommend you jot down, anywhere you can, all the notes and ideas for your story so you can refer to them later.
This includes the names of your characters, how many main characters, or protagonists, you will feature in your works, the setting, everything that will be the ground work, or the foundation for you to write out your story as best you can.
Now this part is very important as you will discover what kind of writer you are in the grand scheme of everything else. Are you an architect, the one who plans out every detail of their story beforehand and follows it like a blue print; or even a map? Or are you the gardener, who treats their story like it’s a garden seed and you, plant it, and tend to it, all the while as it grows into a journey of incredible proportions.
Personally I am more of a gardener type of writer, but I have aspects of the architect in me as well. In fact most people are a good amount of both types of writer they make plans for the future of their story and fill them out but along the way the story grows in unexpected ways for them and they go with it. And with all that being said, let’s move on.

Creating- There are so many ways to create a story and it’s up to you to decide how, and which way is best for you. Hopefully by now you have laid down the ground work for your story and can jump on in, but where to start? And how?
Well anywhere between here and the preparation you made for your story I’m sure you asked yourself, “What to write?” Even though you have an idea you think is golden you might not fully know how to flesh it out.
The answer to that question comes from another question you should ask yourself, “What do I, I the author and reader, like to read about?” Ask yourself what kind of stories interest you and what did you enjoy reading?
If you yourself do not enjoy your own work than how can you expect your readers to? Don’t worry about what others think yet, write about what you want to read it’s your story not theirs.
After you answer those questions you can continue on. Now let’s really wonder how to start your story. You can start it off by introducing the characters as they are in a conflicting setting which shows off the theme of the story.
You can introduce the antagonists of the story making the reader wonder, who are they, and what are they planning?
You can even start the story out ahead to a large and critical moment in the Protagonists tale that hooks the readers in and keeps them wanting for more. There are so many ways to start off and you must find which one works best for your story but remember introducing the readers to something important to the overall story, Characters, Plot, and Setting, is a must.

Now with the start up all done let’s look at the actually writing part. You as a writer, no as a creator of art itself must find, what I like to call, your voice. And I don’t mean vocals either, unless you’re a singer in which case yea find your voice.
But what “Find your voice” generally means is find your own style. However long it takes you its paramount that you discover your own unique style of creation and once you have you must work on fine tuning it. Do you think da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa when he was 8? No! He took years finding his talent as a painter and perfecting on it to create amazing works, and so to must you.
Finding your voice is simple, if not tedious and endearing. The best way I can suggest is to try different ways of writing through and through your stories see which one fits you best. This doesn’t mean change writing style half way through a book.
You got to try new style with each new book you create, if one way just isn’t working for that book than it may be a pain but you should go back and redo it with a new style. Or just tough it out and finish he book with the same style. Either way don’t change up the writing too drastically between chapters and pages: readers see it and hate it.
Now in lieu of what I just said, for the love of all that is beautiful in the world here are some things to avoid in writing-
Text talk: you know Brb Lol Ikr. Unless your page is showing the messages of two people talking on the phone through text messages or on or whatever, don’t write like that in your literature, it doesn’t work at all.
Writing in present tense: I’m not sure why but present tense seems to be a very rookie mistake of writing, one I myself made before too. I’m not sure what it is that’s so appealing at first but when you actually stop to read it: it sucks, a lot.
Here is an example: “Daisy drives in her car to work today.” Okay now imagine that, everywhere where it shouldn’t be see how wrong it sounds? Here’s how it should sound: “Daisy drove her car into work today.”
And because I’m a goof here’s how it could sound: “Daisy rode on the back of her raptor to work, machine guns ready to go she terrorized drivers and pedestrians alike. The carnage was a sight to behold, oh why is daisy so crazy?”
See writing can be fun at appropriate times.

Characters- Characters, the heart of the story. What makes a story good? The plot, the writing style, the themes, the characters? Well all of it really, these things combined are what makes a story in general. But it’s the characters that experience everything and through them readers experience the story as well.
Characters are the bridge between our work and the readers that connects them so immensely to the world around them. Creating realistic and relatable characters is the most important and hardest thing there is. Remember your characters are people too, they have their own problems, their own strengths and weaknesses and through their journey they will be challenged by the very trials of life (What these are is entirely up to you).
Some people base their characters off others they know, some draw them from within, regardless of where they came from they should be as realistic as possible. Don’t be afraid to show readers their flaws, the conflicts they face about the decisions they make. They can’t be wearing that armor around their hearts all the time.
Growth and development: This is something that takes time for anyone. The biggest changes also don’t just come out of nowhere it takes something large and unexpected to throw your characters out of the life they knew so well before to change them so much.
Here’s an example: From riches to rags. You take a snooty and probably arrogant character that was very wealthy and lived a sheltered and pampered life and suddenly they lose all their wealth and must live like a commoner. Something that big will force the character to see the world in a different way and that new sight will change who they are so much from before if they continued living wealthy and not knowing what it’s like to have less or want for more.
Another fine example is the world’s best swordsman who is undefeated in combat and arrogant from it all gets an infection in his leg and it has to be amputated to save him. Now the former best swordsmen is reduced to nothing, can’t fight, can barely walk the world he knew before is shattered. But he’s still alive and now he has a chance to learn humility, and understand what it truly means to be powerless.
Understand now? These characters changed greatly after something huge impacted and devastated their entire life balance. And these impacts don’t always have to be negative, no a nun could one day decide to play the lottery for fun. She wins the billion dollar Powerball and renounces her ways as a nun and lives an extravagant life.
She should be donating it all to charity but she’s lived without for so long it’s time for her to live the life of luxury. She gave enough to her god, didn’t she? This is her reward for her years of devout service.
The point is these changes take big impact or time to develop. A once weak character won’t suddenly become strong because it’s convenient for the story to progress that way. (I’m ashamed to admit I did that myself quite recently too without good explanation.)

Plot- Conflict: Almost as important as characters are the plot itself. While characters are the heart of the story Conflict is the center of it. Even stories that are supposed to be comedy have conflict in them. Conflict is the troubles others create for us, it’s the arguments we get in with friends and family. It’s me bumping my knee at the desk every time I scooted in too much so that my large friend could get through the aisle to his seat.
The universe is chaos and conflict is the result of constant imbalance in the world and life. If everything is perfect in the world and the characters’ lives it’s boring. Conflict moves things forward, conflict gives the story purpose, conflict is what has to be a part of every book, chapter page etc. that you write.
A teenage girl (or boy) who wants to go to the concert with their friends but their parents say “No” that’s conflict. You and your best friend like the same girl, that’s conflict.

Oversights: Alright let’s move on to something that can really piss readers off and shatter any good story depending on how large it is. I’m talking about oversights. What that is, is when you have something like a rule that was established before but then it’s later broken with no reason or explanation why. Usually those are considered plot holes but they can happen because of oversights.
The best example I can give you is from Lord of the Rings. Remember those giant eagles that… Spoilers by the way. The eagles that saved Sam and Frodo at the very end of the movies? Yea why didn’t they just ride those over mount Mordor drop the ring in and there we go it’s done.
Tolkien I love you and your work but that oversite/plot hole is Gigantic! What in the hell man!?
Okay now it is my understanding that in the books Tolkien wrote this very esoteric reason for the eagles and may have even suggested Gandolf was trying to lead them to the Eagles on the mountain before… Spoilers again. Before he was killed by that demon in the mines. But because Gandalf couldn’t risk Sauron hearing any of this he gave cryptic clues to his companions and right before his death he shouted for them all to fly. In fact his final words were “Fly you fools!”
Again very Esoteric and not too likely but all together possible that Tolkien was hinting this to the readers in-between the words but I guess that’s something for you to decide for yourself.
Remember oversights are common, at times you could just not have thought of something at all while the reader having experienced the story differently than you could have been wondering why you didn’t just do this instead of that. Just try not to let these oversights develop into huge plot holes that ruin your story.

Writers block- Let’s face it we all been here at some point. Sometimes you get stuck not sure how to proceed. Other times you just down right lose inspiration. Well I’m here to help best I can with that.
How to proceed next: You got your characters to this great spot, you know what comes next, but you’re not sure just how to move on from this small yet stupid road block. One of the best ways around this I found is writing out a bunch of plausible scenarios for how to continue. They don’t even have to be good just write them out and when you run out and still don’t know how to continue then review them.
Somewhere deep down inside you know exactly how to move on but it’s just out of grasp. So perhaps reading through these scenarios you made will help you to grab that perfect way ahead. Or maybe somehow during all the random writing scenarios you find that indeed you just made the way clear for yourself and had to push some of the junk out of the way.
If the above method doesn’t work perhaps you just need a break. Maybe the creative stress of it all has built up to much, or the excitement of it all even and your mind put the way ahead out of your reach as way to tell you it needs a break. That’s fine, all great work takes time. Sometimes you just need to let the creative ideas bouncing around in your head settle down, only then will the road ahead be clear for you. Just try not to take too much time, Procrastination is itself a form of stress.
Out of Ideas: Alright let’s say you’re caught up to every idea you had and now you’re just simply out of them. There’s a few ways around this-
1) Brain storm ideas. You never know what creative ideas are hiding in your head until you let them loose.
2) Read back what you read before to find some hidden inspiration in your own work. Maybe the answer of what should come next lies in what happened before.
3) Take a break come back to it later.
4) If you’re still stuck after all that then try going back and finding what originally inspired that story in the first place. Maybe you can get re-inspired to continue on ahead.
5) And lastly search out a new inspiration to move ahead with.

Part 2

The Editing Process- This is that time you probably finished your book and it’s time to look over it and correct the mistakes you made before, fix some over sights, and just clean the book up and trim it up into good shape for readers.
There’s no special way to do this part really you just have to slowly and carefully read over what you wrote before. This is the time you can see if something is truly good or bad. Or if something just isn’t working.
Truly though one of the best ways to edit to know your story and figure out what needs fixing or not is to hear it out loud. Either you or someone you know can read it back to you while you follow along the pages. Hearing it out loud is the best way to catch even the smallest stuff you may have missed while reading it.
Remember we are our own best and worst critiques so while you may want to go back and rewrite a whole bunch of stuff after taking a closer look at it just think is it really that bad? You don’t want to spend all your time on this trying to perfect it when it was good enough the first or second time through.

Extras- Characters and Dialogue: Remember characters are supposed to be real people. Don’t have them talk all formally or like they know everything at all times. Or know how everyone is feeling at all times. Make them talk and act like you would in these situations, you probably swear, you use slang, your vocabulary isn’t the entire dictionary.

Music: To some the quiet is unnerving and makes it hard to write or edit so they need music. But Lyrical music, despite what you say, will to easily mix in with your thoughts when creating and can easily distract or disrupt you. I recommend non lyrical music, Orchestra if you will.
There are countless music types like this so find yours. Relaxing music, classical, something different all together. Here are the names of two of my favorite composers I listen to when writing: AdrianvonZiegler and Peter Gundry. Two fantastic composers with a wide variety of lyric less music to put into a playlist when working.
But I also recommend more popular bands such as Audio machine - (sands of time is a great adventure track) Two steps from hell – (archangel is a great battle score for when writing an epic fight scene)

Writing Programs: Personally I started out with MS word (Microsoft word). But eventually I branched out and found Ywriter. An amazing writing software that’s totally free and filled to the brim with amazing tools for writers. It can be a pain in the butt to learn at first but once you get the hang of it, it is great; just follow the start-up tutorial.

Deadlines: This isn’t mandatory but making deadlines forces a little bit of pressure on you to keep you obligated and motivated to keep writing. You would think with infinite free time you can perfect your book before releasing, but procrastination often disagrees with you and you may never even finish for years.
So if you don’t think you’re going to finish the book for a while but already have chapters up. Then tell your readers the date you plan to release more chapters for them to read. Now you’re really obligated to write and finish on time.

Part 3

Characters – Too alert and too aware – Here’s something that’s mostly seen in mediocre writings. Hopefully you don’t see this much but sometimes a protagonist will spot something or figure out an insanely vague riddle within no time at all. Since it’s not too common I can’t think of a good example to pull from it’s not seen too often thankfully.
But the point of all this is to explain that regardless of the context characters shouldn’t be all knowing of the world around them ore the people either. They should question things and work to figure them out, not just already know them because some base instinct told them. Or a “Gut feeling”, I seen that gut feeling cliché play out a bit too much in mystery novels to be honest.

Confidence: We are never born with the right amount of confidence to our approach on anything. As we grow we learn the hard way about how good or bad we really are at things. Some are too confident and are arrogant, this leads to an often heavy smack of reality when they try and fail at something or are shown up by someone better.
Not enough confidence in ourselves leads us to backing down from many if not all real challenges. This one is much more common and is easier to relate to. Admit it, when you were in the 6th grade algebra or maybe even geometry was a nightmare you didn’t think you had it in you to move on to the next lesson and graduate to the 7th grade.
The right amount of confidence is something that should only come from a seasoned/experienced person who has done this or something very similar million times and learned by now they can do it: like hitting a bullseye with an arrow from 300 yards away for example.

Character Identification: Now when you start any story no matter what point in time the story starts (some start at the end and circle back around to the beginning and lead full circle) make sure that the readers have someone to identify with. Don’t give us a faceless and nameless body and expect us to care about them. We need something more legit, and in fact introducing anyone, don’t matter if they will die soon enough, at the start should come in as early as possible. I’m talking the very first page preferable the first paragraph or even sentence.

Combat Sequences- This one is tricky and for the most part you just got to feel your way through it really. The best advice I can give is to let the fight flow naturally, become the characters in combat and move how they would in your mind and then write it down.
And remember no matter how powerful the warrior is, things like a flawless battle don’t exist, unless there is supernatural or magical forces at play that grants them an insane upper hand that very few are even threatening to them. Even the lesser fighter is likely to get in a decent hit on your character if their skills are not so far apart. Also knocking people out in one hit, that’s only in the movies/television that never happens in real life and if it does the person being knocked out from it will suffer from some brain damage.
Keep in mind to be very selective about your word choice when describing a fight, especially with weapons. You don’t have to describe every action or the angle of a swing, instead use words like thrust, parry, and twirl: that’s what they are there for.
Also you may think that having numerous and intense action scenes are cool but even in action movies or television shows they’re not. What makes those really special fights cool or amazing is the build up around it, like so many events beforehand were leading up to this epic duel that will decide the fates of many lives. Having the occasional brawl in-between stuff to spice it up is fine but try to hold back on the larger fights to give them build up and anticipation amongst the readers.

Building Your Vocabulary- Honestly I am not the most articulate person, like at all. But there are still a couple ways I can tell you how to build your vocabulary though.
1) This way is simple enough, when you come across a shiny new word while reading and you don’t fully know what it means, go look it up and then write it down on some paper so you yourself can use it later if need be. And hopefully after using it more and more it will become a natural part of your cognitive word processing when reading, writing, and talking.
2) Yup this place is a gold mind for searching around for either new words or finding that exact right word for the context. I strongly recommend this one, and though it may be a lot of digging around at times thesaurus has never failed me so far. Just make sure the word you’re using is correct for your placement of it, thesaurus doesn’t offer a full definition of their words but there is a link to click to define it which you should use to make sure the word fits in properly.
Do keep in mind that having a wide vocabulary to choose from is nice but make sure that you’re using words which your readers would be able to understand easy enough. So if you’re writing a children’s book you won’t be using words like ‘articulate’ or ‘cognitive’ to describe people or thoughts. Choose your vocabulary wisely based off your targeted audience.
Active Ink Slinger
Quote by Rebellious_Soul
Quote by Starfallfantasy
Who do I contact to get into the Fantasy critique group to have a piece of mine critiqued?

Send a request to any of the mods, I believe. I usually just ask Yas, and hope she isn't busy.

Thank you.
Active Ink Slinger
Who do I contact to get into the Fantasy critique group to have a piece of mine critiqued?
Active Ink Slinger
That's awesome Roland, I woulda have loved to be born or least active around the time of the original D&D coming out. I always heard about through elementary and middle school but never got a chance to play it until highschool. Twas awesome to say the least.
Active Ink Slinger
I'm with Roland I try to build up the story a good solid base before beginning the story (Either in my head or a mountain of notes sprawled down on the nearest available paper... which may or may not one day consume me. It will, that mountain of notes will avalanche on me eventually). But as I see it there are two types of writers. The architect: who plans and maps out every detail of their story before creating it; like a perfect blue print. And the Garden seed: (definitely better name for that but can't think of it at this time.) Where you have planted the idea for your story, and as you watch it grow your fingers gently guide it along with your words (your writing). You're sure you know what it will grow into but until it's fully blossomed and matured you can never be sure what will happen next.

That being said I believe that all writers have mixed parts of both the architect and the garden seed in them. So even those that plan everything ahead can't foresee the naturally developed changes to their grand structure. And even the Garden seed has some ideas of what it should and wants to grow into.
Active Ink Slinger
Yeah many stories do feature the protagonists as heroes or heroic characters rather than villainous. Which is completely understandable since we're all the heroes of our own stories (and such tend to write our lead characters as such). And other times the antagonist is something as simple as a shark (in the case of Jaw's) it was an Antagonist by all means but it wasn't evil it was simply looking for it's next meal and it found it, (in the form of tasty tasty humans :3).

Anyways the point being is that an Antagonist can be just about anything that is an opposing force to your Protagonists. As Roland said in the case of the Batman the Antagonist in there were not just the criminals he pursued but also the police trying to stop him or maybe even other heroes (like Superman vs batman biggrin).
Active Ink Slinger
I think if you're going to write an antagonist and feature their perspective of things try to make them as human as possible, perhaps more so than your protagonists/heroes. Do a nice script flip and make it seem liek the 'heroes' are the villains to him/her as they stand in the way of his/her ambitions smile
Active Ink Slinger
I tried drafting for a novel I was really excited about doing, (phantom wars, which is up on here now) and summarized about 10 pages worth of the plot, the characters that would come in, the setting, how it would all work out in the end. And once I sat down to start writing that book, I basically took those pages and threw them out the window. Even though I knew where to start the story I didn't know how and I spent a few days just working on the first chapter. Of course as I continued the story I would constantly look back to my summarized draft of the novel, but only took about a paragraphs worth of those pages and put them into the actual story itself.
Anyways I digress, I do have some very narrow drafts of my stories now but outside my mountain of notes I don't do anymore drafting, however I do think it it's healthy for writers to draft a story if they feel the need. This way they may have a better idea of where they want to take the story and see ahead of time, before they get to far into writing out all the details, if that's the right or the best direction for that tale. Naturally you don't have to follow your draft so closely but I recommend that if you want to make one, and do it, then use it as guidelines and not instructions on creating your story.
Active Ink Slinger
I believe if you felt nothing for your characters then you are either heartless, or your characters need more soul. If you feel nothing for anyone in your story how could you expect readers to feel for them? Just my opinion on the subject smile
Active Ink Slinger
Well it is as they say, 'You are your own best and worst critique". And this could not be more true then for those of us who create art. We look at our own work as either a piece of excellence or as a piece of garbage, there is very little middle ground for us to perceive our own creations in a way that is unbiased. For me personally the way I see my own work is often either decent, or good; some works I'm not entirely proud of though. I think a healthy way to review or look at our own work is by asking ourselves this one simple question: "How might I be able to improve my next piece from this one?" But all that being said I like all my works, the good ones and the bad, they are to me the stones I have walked on my journey, some of them milestones of greater importance then the others but to look back on them and see how far I have come along is how I know I am making progress in my art. smile
Active Ink Slinger
I write because its an expression of myself. I enjoy taking these characters and watching them grow in my mind and and my pages as they experience new things and face new trials to either fail or overcome. I enjoy the unfolding the stories of these characters and painting out the new worlds and scenes they come across.
And I share my writing with other because I want to take others on this journey above and beyond, into fantastic new worlds and introduce them to new people good and bad. I want to give the experience and thrills of facing down monsters with only your sword and your wits. And the fear of certain death as you find yourself in perilous situations all without having to leave the comfort of your room. I want to take you on a voyage where your courage is the wind that blows the sails and push's the ship across the seas of adventure.
I also wish to turn this once shy hobby into a full fledged career biggrin
Active Ink Slinger
Here's a few things i found helpful when writing,
1) if your story is going faster in your head than you can type in all the details just draft the key points in small outlines.
2) When your stuck at one part of your story but really want to write another part of the story that is much later then write it down as an individual note and put it aside until the time comes it's ready to be added into the story.
3) Not sure where to go next? retrace your steps and remember how you got there in order to give you clues as to where to go next. Maybe even quickly jot down a few surprises for a not to much further down the road and test them out in your mind see how they play out and if it fits in well with what you're doing.
Hope this helps smile
Active Ink Slinger
I'm new too but forums are the best way to meet new people of the same interest e.g Reading/writing ^_^
Active Ink Slinger
I think it is near impossible not to judge a book by its cover because that cover image gives you a very brief and instance sense of what the book is supposed to be about (usually). The cover art is the bait and the back or inside flap short description is the switch or the juicy hook that catches you and reels you in.
It helps if the book is cheap so you can afford to take more chances on something entirely new. I think once you find that diamond in the rough though you want more from that author and can look for more of their work and even find other books similar to that one.
Overall though id say the best way to find a new book is go to a forum about some of your favorites and ask reader/forum writers if they can suggest more books alike the ones you loved so much biggrin
Active Ink Slinger
If you are having trouble finishing a book try audio version. It can be easy to become background noise and you can easily miss finer details but all in all it can work for if you wanna listen and go for a walk or just lounging around doing whatever. smile