Writing Craft Book Tips
Updated: Jun 9
If you're subscribed to me on YouTube, I did a series on writing craft books. (The links below are affiliate links and a win-win for both of us :) I appreciate your support!)
The books I covered were:
To check out the vlogs, click this playlist.
As I say in those videos, my newsletter subscribers have access to all the notes I took while reading. If you're not already subscribed, sign up down below to get access to the notes, writing exercises, scene cards, and the outlines found in Save the Cat and Romancing the Beat. If you are subscribed, head on over to the Coffee House.
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Here are my biggest take-away tips from these books:
Tips for Characters:
- Everything needs to revolve around your Character's inner struggle- how they act and react, how they feel, etc, needs to be viewed through the lens of their misbelief. Constantly ask yourself 'why' for why it matters, and 'and so' to connect to the next scene.
- What is your character's misbelief and what is their want?
- When you have a ton of characters, evaluate if they're all needed or if you can combine characters. Give each character a defining characteristic that your reader can remember and associate with them.
- Show more internalization. Don't just use physical telling, but add why they feel that way.
- Your secondary characters need a life too. Don't make them flat and only there for the MC. They have a life, goals, agency, arc, and misbelief too.
- Your character will only notice details relevant to them. If they enter a room, they'll pick up on something different based on their person- such as books, or colors, or clothes, or trinkets.
- How they view the world, their mind-set, or subjective worldview, should be apparent for every detail or character. Their internalization and action will reflect that.
Tips for Plot:
- The plot should be built around your character's journey for overcoming their misbelief and realizing their needs vs their wants.
- The plot needs to be something that can sustain the whole book. If it can't, consider making it a subplot.
Tips for Subplots:
- The subplots need to weave with the plot and theme, and show the MC the other sides to their misbelief.
- Subplots help make sense of the plot and deepen our understanding of the protag.
- They're a spinoff of the main plot, and are usually associated with a character, or external event.
Tips for Outlining/Writing:
- Do not write a story based on your story, make sure you follow story's pattern. Kill your darlings if they don't relate to your plot and your character's misbelief.
- Ask yourself, if you cut something out, would it change the story? If not, cut it.
- Create a timeline for your novel. What is the tension building toward? Something that happens in 2 days, 1 week, 6 months?
- What is your theme? What plots, subplots, and characters will help you show that?
- Start in the middle of your story and weave in backstory to reveal the 'first half'.
- Everything - subplots, weather, setting, tone, etc, - must relate to or affect your protag's quest (ie: leave all the boring parts out)
- Similarly, zero in on the heart of the story, take out the real-life distractions that don’t affect it, and weave in relevant elements.
- Make sure there is tension on every page, in every scene.
- Give info on a need to know basis.
- Vary your characters' voice and speech pattern to make them distinct.
- Have everything that can go wrong, go wrong. Really make your MC work for it and learn their lesson.
I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!
For more helpful tips, check out my YouTube Channel.