Posts Tagged ‘craft of writing’

Whether we write fiction or non-fiction, a variety of genres can refresh our writing. I’ve always considered myself to be a fiction writer. I live and breathe story. If I’m not reading a novel, then I’m snatching minutes here and there to follow an e-book on my iPhone Kindle app. And if I need to be in hands-free mode, I plug in my earbuds and listen to an audiobook or watch a story on TV. That is, if I’m not writing a story of my own.


Over the past couple of years, though, I’ve committed to writing a weekly blogpost on my website, as well as a few guest posts for others, so I’ve been challenged to pen some non-fiction. What surprised me is that I enjoy writing inspirational and how-to articles. Whoda thought?

In the midst of creating and editing my novels, both historical and contemporary, I’ve had to consider how I might connect with readers non-fictionally, outside of story.



Here’s how I’ve done it.

* Devotional / Inspirational Articles

The first week of each month I write a devotional thought or comment. I love finding a spiritual parallel to ordinary everyday events.

Example: I notice people’s shoes and their corresponding personalities and how we are all uniquely made.

* How-to Articles

Mostly, these are directed toward fiction writing. The second week of each month I offer a continuing mini-course on fiction: Fiction Writing 101. This past year I have considered such topics as theme, research, editing, submission, social media, etc. I pick my own brain to uncover all I already know of the topic, then search for more information, cite it, and add live links to helpful articles.

The third week of the month I post another writing column titled Tools of the Trade, where I analyze various concepts like time management, resource books, ideas and where they come from, public speaking for promotion, etc.

* Book Reviews

This has been a favorite writing form for years. In the past, I reviewed a book a month for the newsletter of a Canadian Christian bookseller, Living Books Inc. Lately, I’ve incorporated a review a month into my blog. Last year I also interviewed authors and posted these interviews once a month.

* Thankfulness

I have a theme a week, four in total, for each month, but when a month has a fifth Tuesday, I write an off-the-cuff list of things I am thankful for. It’s encouraging for me and I hope also for my readers.

I encourage you to try some of these types of writing to broaden your scope. If you normally write long fiction, try a short story, or vice versa. Try non-fiction to capture ideas that float through your head from time to time. Use these ideas and writings to help and motivate others. The end result will always be beneficial to you, just like the fact that a teacher always learns more in preparation than the student learns in class.

And besides all this, you can probably use bits and pieces from all of the above for your fiction!

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An important aspect of a writer’s trade is that of resource books. I’ll highlight a few of my favorites below. For writing craft topics, pick up as many Writer’s Digest Books as you can get your hands on.







The Craft of Writing:

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell (Writer’s Digest Books)

Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell ((Writer’s Digest Books)

Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress (Writer’s Digest Books)

Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham (Writer’s Digest Books)

Plot by Ansen Dibell (Writer’s Digest Books)

Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card (Writer’s Digest Books)

Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble (Writer’s Digest Books)

Editing Your Fiction by Michael Seidman

Mastering Point of View by Sherri Szeman

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes by Jack M. Bickham

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (accompanying workbook)

Writer to Writer by Cecil Murphey

Grammar, Spelling, Usage and Punctuation:

Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

Spunk & Bite by Arthur Plotnik

Woe is I by Patricia T. O’Conner

Write! Better by Ray Wiseman

Merriam Webster’s 11th Edition Dictionary (or something similar)

Roget’s Super Thesaurus by Marc McCutcheon

Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer

My Digital Library of Writing Books: (in part):

Author Publicity Pack by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart

How to Write Faster by Marcy Kennedy

Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

The Story Template by Amy Deardon

The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron

Writing Online by Sean Platt

You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins

GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) by Debra Dixon

Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell

Indie Publishing Resource E-books:

Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide by Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent

Search Engine Optimization for Writers by Clover Autrey

Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors by Carla King

Indie Publishing Handbook by Heather Day Gilbert

The Writing Life:

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Write Away by Elizabeth George

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (a bit new-age here and there so beware)

Besides these gems, collect books, either print or digital, that resource your particular genre or time period. I write historical fiction set in Revolution era Russia, so I have a lot of books referring to that historical setting. (View my partial list HERE.)

You are a writer, as Jeff Goins says in his book, so start amassing helps and hints and tips. Happy writing to you!



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