Essential writing skills: two steps to kick the muse into action

Definitely need this at the moment. I have been having a problem with Writer’s Block at the moment.

Matthew Wright

There you are, pen in hand – fingers posed over keyboard – ready to write. And….nothing.

Writing environment; Otehei Bay, New Zealand - where Zane Grey fished and penned some of his 90-odd novels. Otehei Bay, New Zealand – where Zane Grey fished and penned some of his 90-odd novels. Did he run into writing blank? Bound to have.

It would be a cliché if it didn’t happen to every writer, sooner or later. It’s especially a problem in the profession. Publishers get antsy if authors are late.

My advice, after several decades in the business, is not to batter your head into a brick wall. Work the problem.

I have a two-step approach.

1. Look at the issue laterally. Why are you stuck? Have you no ideas at all? Have you dried up on a phrase but have the ideas in your head? Or do you have an idea in your head and simply cannot find a way of expressing it? These are the usual causes…

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Nine Writing Lessons You Can Learn From Cats

Some good advice from our feline friends.

Writers Write, Right?

1. Every realistic character needs a dark side.


2. It’s often the tiny things that make great stories.


3. Characters have to fail, or else it isn’t interesting.


4. Sometimes, it’s best to summarize.


5. Every author, even the best of them, will get told “no” at some point in their career.

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6. Small things in the story can have big impacts.


7. Even the worst villains have a personality beneath all that evil.


8. Proper research makes a story feel more realistic.


9. Mustaches make every novel better.

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World Building: Cultures

Some good points to consider if you are doing any type of world building.

Writer Block

     By culture I am referring to the distinct ways that a group lives their lives instead of the group’s symbols and creative aspects. Know the differences between the cultures in your world allows for both diversity and potential conflict. Knowing the specifics of a particular character’s cuture does the same – as well as helps you bring that character to unique life.

      As a reminder, culture traits are generalities – they are shared by most people in the culture but are shared to different degrees. There is still room for variation within a group even when they share language and dialect, aesthetics, gender expectations, social structure, and religious practices. Whether you are trying to understand your character’s surface culture or are trying to create new cultures, these are all key elements to examine. And of course a person can belong to multiple cultures and subcultures.

  • Dialect: Writers…

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Tips for National Novel Writing Month

Anyone else doing NaNo this year? I finally accepted last night that no matter what, I am doing National Novel Writing Month in November. Wish me luck!

Matthew Wright

National Novel Writing Month is upon us once again – the moment when writers around the world – not just the US – sit down to pour out 50,000 words in just 30 days.

It’s going to be a busy November for a lot of people – that quantity, especially 50,000 finished words – is a tall order even for professional authors.  As the organisers say themselves, nobody’s too worried about the quality – it’s the doing that counts, this time.

Still, I figure the onus is on all writers to push the edges of quality. Always. And as an enthusiast for writers of all kinds, I’m going to be posting about that over the next few weeks.

Along with some writing prompts for NaNo authors and others.

And all the usual writing content – sixty second writing tips and my ongoing ‘Write It Now’ series. All of which is…

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