Craft and Storytelling Threads

I frequently do craft threads on Twitter, so I have gathered all of the links here to make them easier to find. 

Please note that no writing advice is universal. If you find any of this advice helpful, please use it! If it does not apply to your materials or situation, feel free to disregard!

Writing An Effective, Enticing Query — If you’re struggling to get your query right, this strategy may work well for you. [This thread has been endorsed and quoted by multiple literary agents.]

Writing Engaging First Pages — You only get a few pages — sometimes only one — to impress a literary agent. Make sure yours are unique, grounded, and engaging!

Handling Rejection in a Brutal Business — Every author faces rejection. That is just a fact of the industry and of being an artist in general. But rejection can also be channeled into positive progress. [This thread has also been endorsed and quoted by literary agents. If you like gif posts better, try Keep Moving Forward.]

Italicized Thoughts vs Direct Narration — One of my biggest baby author sins was throwing in excessive italicized thoughts from the MC’s POV instead of smoothly integrating them into the narrative. This goes through why the latter can be more effective and provides examples of both. [And, you guessed it, it has also been endorsed by literary agents.]

Filtering and Distancing Language — Don’t put a barrier between your main character and your reader if you’re trying to write close 1st person or 3rd person! Filters and distancing language are easy to remove (and cut down on your word count!), but make an incredible amount of difference. [Yet again, endorsed by literary agents as well as Big Five editors.]

Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater — Just because a scene isn’t working doesn’t mean you have to scrap the entire thing. A few well-placed words can change the tone of an entire scene!

Editing A Book to Death — How much editing is TOO much editing? [Yep. It’s also endorsed.]

The Power of Silence — Sometimes the most powerful statements in writing are made in silence. A single gesture can be more powerful than a shout.

Hope in Failure — On unexpected wake-up calls and how I went from terrible writer newbie with an equally terrible book to an agented author in only a few years.

The Glorification and Myth of the Tortured Artist — Hollywood loves to tell stories about mentally ill artists and creators who are forced to choose between their mental health and their art. It’s a damaging and horrific myth that needs to be addressed at every possible opportunity.

What I Wish I’d Known, What I’m Glad I Didn’t — Publishing is hard af. Some things are useful to know early on. Some can only be learned through experience.

Writing Lessons from the Kitchen — Food metaphors = best metaphors

A Compilation of Pitch Advice from Multiple Mentors and Sources

Two of my favorite craft posts (not by me!): Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Baby Got Back . . . Story

Yes, I also have some threads on Avatar: The Last Airbender in which I break down storytelling elements, motifs, character arcs, etc.

Also, it’s just a phenomenal show.

Why Am I So Bad at Being Good?! — Prince Zuko has one of the most complex and powerful arcs in television. What makes this anti-hero turned hero so compelling and nuanced?

Abuse and Agni Kai — Exploring sibling relationships as well as abusive parent/child relationships over long arcs.

Legacy of Betrayal — A history of generational trauma in the Fire Nation that explores family legacies and recurring motifs in backstory.

Little Soldier Boy — Iroh is the greatest character in the history of forever

Toph Mothereffing Bei Fong — She’s too badass for you. She’s also a disabled protagonist and integral part of the Gaang. And she’s the greatest earthbender in the world.