December Writing Roundup: Tools, Tips, & Resources for Writers

December Writing Roundup by Diana Tyler

Happy (almost) New Year, inklings!

I hope this post finds you warm and well and, if you’re an introvert like me, recovering from the hustle and bustle and surplus of social activities that accompany the season!

Ben and I just returned from celebrating Christmas in The Happiest Place on Earth – Disney World! We decided to skip town for a bit and enjoy one last trip together before our baby boy arrives in approximately 10 weeks!

Here are a few pics from the trip, plus a “bumpdate” of our growing progeny :-D.

Ben and me at Animal Kingdom
30-week “bumpdate”!
Magic Kingdom on our last night!

And now, my beautiful bookworms, it’s time for another writing roundup where I share the writerly things I’ve found especially inspiring, helpful, encouraging and insightful over the last four weeks! From thought-provoking podcasts and creativity-stoking articles, to clever and innovative products, I’m positive you’ll find something that piques your curiosity and ups your writing game!

Without further ado, here’s my December roundup!

11 Writing Exercises (article)

Whether you’re writing recreationally or professionally, these exercises will help stoke your creativity, organize your brain, challenge you in fresh, beneficial ways, cure the most stubborn cases of writer’s block, and last but not least, help you cut down on those pesky adverbs!

Here’s my personal favorite, exercise #5:

Rewrite a Masterpiece or a Famous Story

Choose a famous masterpiece or classic novel (like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) and write your own version.

This is a great exercise because you can do it at almost any level: you could write a short story for children, or you could write a whole novel or screenplay. (Bridget Jones’s Diary, for instance, borrowed heavily from Pride and Prejudice; the children’s movie Gnomeo and Juliet is based, as you might guess, on Romeo and Juliet.)

You can do this with fairytales, too, like the story of Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood. You might decide to bring the stories into the modern world – or you might switch to a completely different genre, like a Western version of Little Red Riding Hood or a sci-fi version of Cinderella.

Hopefully, you’ll think of some interesting ways to present an old story in a new way – great practice for avoiding clichés and stereotypes in your own writing.

Click here to read the article!

How to Use Your Newsletter to Build Engagement and Fan Loyalty (podcast)

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast is one of my favorites when it comes to, as its title suggests, marketing your books! Even if you don’t write in either of those genres, you can learn a ton on how to effectively and efficiently use things like social media, promotions, newsletters, even a podcast of your own to get the word out about your book baby.

In this episode, Tammi Labrecque, author of Newsletter Ninja, talks all things author newsletter, getting into the nitty gritty regarding things like:

·        Email frequency

·        Why newsletters are important

·        Newsletter content and length

·        How to keep subscribers interested

·        Newsletters and pen names

Click here to listen to the podcast and see the show notes!

Elegy for a Dead World (video game)

Get ready to bid adieu to writer’s block! Listen to the summary of this epic- (and quite genius) sounding computer game!:

In Elegy for a Dead World, you travel to distant planets and create stories about the people who once lived there.

Three portals have opened to uncharted worlds. Earth has sent a team of explorers to investigate them, but after an accident, you are the sole survivor. Your mission remains the same: survey these worlds and write the only accounts of them that outsiders will ever know

… There are many stories to write and many places to visit, from the crumbling museum, stone faces and sweltering plains of Shelley’s World to the central planning station on Keats’ World to the desiccated shores and frigid tundra of Byron’s World.

Each world offers multiple sets of prompts, each intended to inspire you to write a different story about it. Elegy might ask you to write a short story about an individual’s final days, a song about resignation, or a poem about war. In the more advanced levels, you’ll sometimes get new information halfway through your story which casts a new light on things and forces you to take your story in a different direction. We like to think of those as puzzles — writing yourself out of a corner, so to speak.

Click here to check out the video and learn more about the game!

Your First Novel Sucks (And Two Traits That Will Make You a Better Writer) (article)

Author Shaunta Grimes tells it like it is! Listen to, or rather read, this:

Your first book’s job, probably, is to teach you how to be a better writer. That’s it. It’s job is not to make you a phenom that makes other writers feel like losers. It’s job is not to make you rich or famous. It’s job is not to prove your brilliance to the world … Your first book’s job is to make you a better writer for your second book.

Granted, there are those few lucky unicorns frolicking about who did hit it big with their debut novel, but the rest of us, frankly, are just plain ol’ rhinoceroses with stars in our eyes. We trudge and toil and tear out our hair trying to write a bestselling first book, then often despair when it doesn’t get past the gatekeepers, aka agents and publishers.

In this article, Ms. Grimes tells aspiring authors what they need to succeed in this long-game industry; click here to find out what it is!

(Bonus) Writing Quote of the Month:

“Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” – Annie Dillard

That concludes this month’s roundup! Let me know what cool and helpful writing/publishing-related things you’ve learned recently by tweeting me @dandersontyler!

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