7 Great Writing Websites and Blogs

When you’re writing, whether it is a short story, novel, screenplay, etc., it is important to know you are not alone.

Not only are there a lot of online forums and real-life communities that are eager to discuss and critique your work, but there are websites and blogs that can give you great tips.

*All of these sites are FREE.*


Discussion & Critique

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All of these forums are up-to-date, with writing tips, publishing help, and forums specific to genres.

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You can talk with other writers, hear about upcoming news and events, and they even hold some competitions and challenges.


Tips and Tricks

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The website layout might not be the most appealing, and it is very cluttered, but it is filled with fantastic information. It features articles by many authors, and there are tips for every area of your writing.


Writing Prompts

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Numerous times throughout the day, iAuthor posts picture and word prompts. Whether you use them in your stories, or as an exercise to get your brain warmed-up, you can share with others and hear their feedback.


Competitions

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Every year, Text Publishing hold their Text Prize. The categories are ‘Young Adult’ and ‘Children’, with their first prize a publishing contract with a whopping $10,000 advance against royalties.

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I haven’t used this site before, but I plan to. Getting your writing published is very hard, so it might be worth your while to enter some competitions.

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National Novel Writing Month takes place annually in November. The goal is to write 50,000 words, getting one step closer to completing your writing project. Not only can it help you stay on-track, but you can chat with others and help each other.


Have you found a great writing website or blog? Let me know below!

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Almost there!

Today I’ll be continuing the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge by ScaleSimple.

You can find Day 1 HERE, and Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE, Day 5 HERE, Day 6 HERE, Day 7 HERE, Day 8 HERE, Day 9 HERE, and Day 10 HERE.

DAY 11. What was your favourite childhood Christmas present?

The other day I read an article about a couple who bought ~300 presents for their kids for Christmas. As can be expected, the internet had a lot to say about it. While some were saying they can do whatever they want with their money, others pointed out that spoiling children is akin to abuse.
When it comes to my family, sometimes too much emphasis was put on the presents – when we were little kids. Being a single parent, Mum always felt like she wasn’t doing a good enough job, and tried to show us her love in that way. I still remember being a little kid telling her she didn’t need to buy so many presents. Now I’m not saying we got anywhere near as many (after all, we didn’t have enough money for that, anyway), but this history comes to mind when I read this question.
Despite all the weight Mum put on our presents, I don’t really remember any from my childhood that was my favourite.
I love all the gifts that I get, but what I remember more about the day, are the jokes we share and the games we play.
What was your favourite childhood Christmas present? Let me know below, or start your own 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge.

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Picture by ScaleSimple

I nominate: This week’s new followers on Instagram.

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Today I’ll be continuing the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge by ScaleSimple.

You can find Day 1 HERE, and Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE, Day 5 HERE, Day 6 HERE, Day 7 HERE, and Day 8 HERE.

DAY 9. Who will be sitting with you for Christmas dinner?

In my family, our get-together time is at lunch. With my sister and her fiancee getting married next year, I don’t know how long before little kids are added and they are spending holidays away, so I am thankful they will be coming.

My grandma – 93 years old – is having lunch with us, and is always a hilarious companion.
My mum, of course, and my brother has postponed his overseas trip so he can spend Christmas with us.

That’s pretty much it.

Who will be sitting with you for Christmas dinner this year? Let me know below, or start your own 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge.

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Picture by ScaleSimple

I nominate: This week’s new followers on Instagram.

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Christmas is almost here!

I’m sure a lot of people reading that will roll their eyes or groan, as they wish they had more time to buy presents, organise Christmas lunch, and decorate the house with a tree and lights. Sorry, but I’m excited.

I’ve always loved Christmas. I’m not talking about the materialistic parts, I’m talking about the TRUE reason for the season. Jesus may not have been born on December 25, but it is a beautiful thing for (most of) the world to set aside a day to celebrate our Lord and Saviour coming to Earth to exist as a human, to teach us, and show us who He is.

So, for the next 12 days, I will be participating in the Blogging Challenge. The rules are as follows:

  • Include the photo below in each blog post
  • You may start at any point in December
  • Use the topic supplied for the post of that day
  • Make sure all posts are in December, but they don’t have to be posted consecutively (lets face it it’s a busy time)
  • Nominate 3 people after each blog to start the challenge
  • Have fun!

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Picture by ScaleSimple

Let’s get started.

DAY 1. List your favourite things about Christmas

There are so many things to list here, but I’ll try.

  • Church in the morning. A great way to start the day.
  • Setting up the Christmas tree – a month-long reminder that the special day is coming.
  • Family spending time together.
  • Lunch (not having to cook or clean up)
  • Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when they open their presents (not quantity or cost, just something that lets them know they were thought of).
  • All chilling out at home with Grandma (she’s 93 years old!) and playing games and watching TV.
  • Christmas carols (Christian, not really the ones about Santa, etc.)

I’m sure there are many more, and I might come back and add to the list later on, but for the most part this sums up my favourite things about Christmas.

I nominate Melanie Toye, Grace Musing, and Darly Darly.

Writing How-To: Improve writing conversations

I answered this question on Quora but I thought I would expand it and make it a full blog post.

Q.  How can I get better at writing conversations?

There are a few things you should do if you want to get better at writing conversations. This can be writing for short stories, novels, screenplays, anything.

1. Listen to conversations going on around you, and write them down.

Whether you’re on the bus, in a cafe, or walking down the street, pay close attention to the conversations happening around you. Listen to the inflections in the banter, then write it down.

2. Read them aloud.

You can get a friend to help you, or do this yourself. Your ear is more likely to pick up errors, and notice if the words sound false or awkward.

3. Remove or refine dialogue tags (e.g. said, asked, replied).

You don’t need to get rid of them all, but including them at the end of every line of dialogue stunts the flow of the conversation. Once you make it clear who is talking, you can even go for short bursts without the tags altogether.

Example –

“Hey Marie, how’s it going?”

“Not too bad, you?”

“Can’t complain. Did you get that text I sent you the other night?”

“No, I didn’t.”

You can see that you don’t need the tags. The punctuation can almost tell it all.

You can also choose to refine your tags. The thesaurus is filled with helpful synonyms of ‘said’ and ‘asked’, etc. Or, better yet, include descriptions and actions after the dialogue.

Example –

“Hey Marie, how’s it going?” David asked, though he already knew the answer.

“Not too bad, you?”

“Can’t complain.” A shrug left David’s shoulders. “Did you get that text I sent you the other night?”

“No, I didn’t.” Marie shifted her gaze, unable to look him in the eye.

See? Just by adding some descriptions and actions, you bring the dialogue to life, and progress the story. We learn more about the characters and the situation.

4. Character backgrounds.

One mistake some writers make, is to make all characters sound the same. Each character has a different background, so use that. Think about:

– Born and Raised. An Australian doesn’t speak the same way as someone from New York. If English is not their primary language, are their phrases stunted?

– Education. Do they talk in slang, or technical terms. This also depends on their degree, for example, technical writing terms are very different to technical medical terms.

– How old are they? Teenagers are more likely to talk in slang and unusual terms. The elderly might not use conjunctions as often.

– Who are they talking to? What relationship do they have? Have they been in a sexual relationship before? Are they hiding a secret from them?

5. Read, read, and read some more!

All of these are important, but you really do have to make sure you read. Read a short story, read a book, read a screenplay, read a news article, read a magazine. Just read anything!

Further reading:

There are MANY blogs, books, and online tutorials that talk about this and other writing tips, tricks, and techniques.

Check out: Creative Writing Now, Writing Forward, Daily Writing Tips.