It’s completely natural to have writing questions, especially for aspiring authors and writers. As an evolving skill, writing is one that you never truly get to master. The good news here is that the more you try, the better you get at it with time.
This trial process involves a lot of questions. We make things easier by compiling some of the common writing related questions and answering them for you. Take a look and see if you find the answer to your writing questions here.
1. How Do I Get Published?
That’s the whole point of writing for most people. They write a book, it gets published, they make money. It’s the circle of life. However, it’s useless to start worrying about this step when you haven’t even started working.
Write your story first and think of this option later. If you have written a book, then you have two options available:
- Self- Publishing– Self-publishing is a more involved process where you will have to craft the cover, decide on a format apart from just text such as ePub or Mobi and pick a marketplace. This can either be the traditional market, or it can be an online platform such as Amazon Library, Apple Library and more.
- Traditional Publishing– Traditional publishing is a less involved process since you can rely on the help of your agent. Your agent will be responsible for getting in touch with the right publishing homes or finding a buyer for the marketplace.
Both processes are different and can earn you money on different scales. It can also take a lot of time for a book to get published, either through self-publishing or traditional publishing. In either case, some patience shown here will be a big virtue for you.
2. What Type Of Writing Should I Focus On?
It’s always a good idea to start writing on what makes you happy. You don’t need to pick something profitable either if that’s not what you are going for. Instead of agonizing over the genre, just start writing and see where the pieces fall.
The best part about writing like this is that there are no limits to your work. Genres also tend to overlap at times so, this makes for great flexibility. If you’re just focused on the genre, you can also end up limiting your creative capacity.
Write first and then observe how your writing is taking shape. It’s going to give you a better understanding of your style and you’ll be able to classify it in a proper genre soon too.
3. What Expectations Should I Have With a Career As a Writer?
Having a writing career is not something that comes easy. Don’t expect to turn into a writer like J.K Rowling. Her story is truly magical and she seems like an overnight success but she also had her own struggles. Her draft for Harry Potter was rejected by almost all the major publishing houses in the UK for a year before it finally got picked up.
During this time, Rowling did almost go broke. She lived on welfare and struggled to find work properly. Similarly, relying on your books as a major source of income is not as easy as it previously was. Be realistic, be smart and make sure that you have a supplementary source of income as well.
4. Does My Writing Need An Ultimate Goal?
No, writing does not need to have an ultimate goal. There’s nothing wrong in writing just for the sake of writing. Most pieces don’t have to always impart a lesson to the reader either. The best pieces of work are those that leave things up to the reader’s imagination.
Writing without an ultimate goal should be a freeing exercise that allows you to delve into your writing skills and truly expand them. When you want to make the writing more targeted or want to produce a certain type of work, you can start aligning it with the goal in mind. You’ll also notice the difference in the work you produce with and without a goal.
Some writers like to work with a goal as their writing feels better to them with a goal in mind. You can choose whatever works for you.
5. Should I Research Different Publishing Options?
If you’re not sure about publishing and the different options available to you, do some research. Getting a second opinion can also help you make up your mind and discover the various ways through which you can publish your book with ease.
Never work on assumptions, especially when it comes to publishing. You want to make sure that your work is being produced without any clauses and with complete transparency. In this manner, you can ensure that you’re able to get your books published without any pitfalls.
6. Should I Work With An Agent?
Again, this is a choice that is solely up to your discretion. Some writers find that working with agent’s suits them the most. Others feel that their agents have done nothing but get in their way. It’s really how you want to do it.
If you want to work with an agent, there are plenty of good ones available and if someone recommends an agent to you, try them out. You never know how they will work with you. It will also help you learn whether working with agents is suited to you or not.
7. What Kind Of Writing Schedule Should I Have?
Your writing schedule should be one that uses all your available hours in order to make the most progress in your work. This can require some tweaking and fine tuning, especially if you are not aware of when you are the most productive.
Once you have this figured out, it’s all a matter of cutting out your bad habits and getting the work done. Proper writing is also done by following a schedule. While you might have a few days where writing can appear tough to you, if you stick to the schedule, you will have an easier time.
8. How Do I Build A Platform–For Either Fiction Or Non-Fiction?
Again, much like publishing, this is something that you need to worry about in the future. To build any platform, you need to have a body of work to represent it too. Platforms are not always made out of one book.
In this case, you need to have a whole body of work to be able to stake a claim for a platform for your work. Consider this: From Stephen King to Neil Gaiman, J.K Rowling to J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin, you can see the platform for their work.
But imagine if they had only written one book? Could they claim to be the top writers? Not with one book. Similarly, if you are looking to make a platform, you need to have the work to back it up too.
9. Should I Go For Writing Support Workshops?
Yes, you should. Writing support workshops are designed to help you understand and enhance your writing style. They’re pretty great for helping you hone your skills, learn techniques that you didn’t know about and also expand your knowledge.
There shouldn’t be any shame in learning either. Writing is a field where you are constantly learning new things. Plus most of these workshops and groups also give you accountability, timings and more. The best part is that if you’re looking to try out different writing workshops, you can easily find some near you!
Writing workshops are also very versatile. You can find workshops that are free of cost, have certificates or even being hosted by renowned authors too. Look for one which matches with your current writing goals and see the difference it can make.
10. Should I Gain Minor Publishing Credits First (Short Stories, Poetry), Or Jump Right Into Full-Length Books?
The answer to this is based on your goals. Most writers who are looking to build a portfolio of their work should start out with poetry and short stories. Getting publishing credits for these can be easy but remember that there is going to be more competition.
Once you find writing poetry and short stories to be a piece of cake, you can start working on and publishing full-length stories. It doesn’t always have to be this way. Many authors start their writing careers with only books and novels. However, starting with short stories and poetry will teach you more about the process of writing too.
Additionally, it can make your portfolio stronger to get your work published or featured on online platforms and magazines. In some cases, your first published work might not earn you any revenue. The goal here is to keep your eye on the bigger picture.
When you look back, you’ll see that you’re creating a trail of work that is a credit to your skills as a writer.
11. Should I Write By Hand Or On A Computer?
This is actually a pretty common question among newbies and first-time book writers. Another reason why the process can be difficult to determine how to write your work is that everyone has their own preferences.
However, most authors prefer to write the first draft in longhand or shorthand. This decision is based on the fact that writing by hand is supposed to spark creativity, improve your memory and also exercise your mind. Plus the extra boost of creativity it adds means that you will produce better work.
At the end of the day, the decision to write by hand or on a computer is going to rely on your personal preferences.
12. How Can I Make My Writing More Authentic, More Genuine?
Being authentic and genuine in your writing relies on being true to yourself and writing in the way you talk. In this case, you want to connect with your readers so as to build a more personal connection with them.
For readers, this is the quality that gets them hooked to the work. They like reading pieces of work where it feels like they’re having a conversation with the author. Now, how do you apply that quality to your work? By writing in a manner that comes off as if you are having a conversation with your best friend.
This should be done skillfully though. Try to use simple, everyday language otherwise it’ll make it look as if you are trying too hard.
13. Can You Start a Sentence With Thus?
Yes, you can use thus at the start of a sentence, but you also need to ensure that you are using it in the right manner. It can have the same meaning as therefore but “Thus” is an adverb but it is largely used as a connector.
Using thus at the start of a sentence is only done when the other sentences before it have stated a fact or corroborated a detail. For example: “He was the tallest one there. Thus, he was the one they asked to hang up the ornaments at the very top of the tree.”
14. Can You Pursue Writing as a Hobby?
Writing as a hobby is popularly practiced, either in the form of journaling, keeping a diary or even writing your own blog posts. Nowadays, most bloggers you see are the ones who started out as hobbyists before slowly advancing to become known as professionals in their field.
Pursuing writing as a hobby is also good for your mind. In this case, you end up improving your memory and recall, learning how to write well and also to exercise the creative side of your mind. For non-native speakers and learners, this can be the best way to improve their mastery of the English language.
15. What is the Difference between a Diary and a Journal?
Now, when you want to pursue writing as a hobby, two mediums will naturally arise: diaries and journaling. Oddly, most people don’t realize that they are different things. That’s why we’re including this in our list of common writing questions.
The ambiguity here can also cause confusions so, if you want to differentiate between the two, the following is the major difference:
- Diary: This is used to record events that happened throughout the day.
- Journal: These are used to explore ideas that are taking shape in your head
Based on this factor, you could have the same subjects but the two entries made could differ a lot. In general, though, most people tend to keep diaries which record their day to day events, emotions and fears.
16. What are the Different Types of Journaling?
When it comes to writing as a hobby, journaling is pretty popular. In fact, it is so popular that it has led to different types being created. The following are the different types of journaling you can pick and choose from:
This is a journal dedicated to your creative writing and fiction prompts and ideas. If you are a songwriter or even someone who wants to jot down ideas on the go, a writing journal is perfect for you.
Do you like making lists and notes? Bullet journaling is for you. Interestingly, this is among the most popular forms of journaling and you can find extremely creative sources of inspiration.
If you believe that your dreams have meanings, jot them down into a dream journal. Most people experience very vivid dreams with a lot of symbols. Uncovering the meaning behind them can be a fun activity.
Love to try different recipes or food spots? Then note them down in your journal. Food journals can be creative ways for you to list your favorite foods in one place.
Turn this either into a place to collect mementos or an aspiring wish list of places to travel. With this travel journal, the world really will be your oyster.
Your art journal can be a mini-portfolio where you can keep your art clippings, inspirations, ideas and even small pictures of your work.
If you’re spiritual or religious, a prayer journal can be a great way to explore this facet of your life. In times of trouble, that journal can be a source of solace to you.
This is great if you’re part of a book club or are starting to re-read on your own. It’s a great way to list down all the books you want to read or have read so far.
Life can be tough but it’s a good idea to recount the good things in life. A gratitude journal lets you list down all the things that you are grateful for.
Do you like to do DIY projects around the house? Then a DIY journal is exactly what you need to list down all your current and future plans in it.
Gardening can be tough and require a lot of meticulous planning. Make a dedicated journal for your plants and keep everything in one corner.
Expectant mothers are definitely on a special journey and should record every aspect of it. Having a dedicated journal will make things easier.
Meet your workout goals with ease when you’re using a workout journal to list down your reps, your goals and even your calorie count here.
Seeing this diversity, it is clear to see that if you want to try journaling as a hobby, you can easily pick any type that suits you.
17. How Long Does it Take to Write 1000 to 1500 Words?
Writing with a dedicated word count means that you have to finish your work accordingly too. Sometimes, there are even deadlines imposed. Now, the answer to this question isn’t as simple because it varies upon the complexity and difficulty of your topic.
It also depends upon your writing speed as well. For beginners, a simple article of a 1000 words can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours. A faster typist can also accomplish this in 30 minutes to 45 minutes. However, if the work is complex and research oriented, it can also take one longer.
Writing 1500 words is more challenging than a 1000 but only if you’re looking at it in this light. To make the task easier, just consider it as an extra 500 words. If you’ve done 1000, doing 500 more should be a piece of cake, right?
18. How Long Does It Take to Write 1500 to 3000 Words?
The time it takes to write a 1500 word or 3000 word piece can vary. In some cases, it can take anywhere from 2 hours to 2.5 hours but slower writers can also take 3 hours to finish it. Again, your own skill level and typing speed will make a marked difference here.
In this case, you can write 3000 words in 4 to 5 hours but slower writers might take even longer than this. You will have to make sure you’re covering the topic properly and the more in-depth it has to be, the more time it will take you to complete the piece.
19. How Many Pages Do 5000 Words Cover?
Suppose you wrote a short story of 5000 words and want to get it published. For this reason, you also have to convert the word count into pages. So, 5000 words with a general font size of 12 (Arial or Times New Roman) can make up either 10 pages (single spaced) or they can make up 20 double spaced pages.
Converting to pages also gives you an idea if your readers can finish the book in one sitting or not. However, keep in mind that changing font size and font type can make a difference in the overall pages as well.
20. How Long Does It Take to Read 300 Pages?
The answer to this question is based on a lot of different factors. You have to take into account your reading level, your interest in the book and the time you have available as well. Most readers who are able to read non-stop can finish the book in 3 to 6 hours.
However, slower readers can take 6 to 9 hours. Additionally, the nature of the book also comes into play here. If it is a non-demanding 300 page fiction story, even slow readers might get down in 3 to 6 hours. If it is a complex non-fiction book, even faster readers might slow down to take 6 to 7 hours.
And if you’re not interested in the book at all, it can take you a few days or even weeks to finish it properly.
21. How Many Microsoft Word Pages Make One Book Page?
When you’re writing on MS word, you have to make sure that you keep track of how much work you are producing. Figuring out the word page count is not too difficult but, it is based on certain factors other than just the word count here.
Based on the default setting on MS Word, 1 page usually comes up to 500 words with a 1 inch margin and an 8.5 x 11 inch page with a regular 12 sized font (either Times New Roman or Arial). Common book page sizes as used by US Trade are 6 x9 inches or 5 x 8 inches, 5 x 7 inches and even 4 x 6 inches. Going by the commonly used size of 6 x 9 inches, this that paperback novels or novellas can only have 250 to 300 words per page.
So, 1 page on MS word is equal to 1.75 pages in a book. So, if you’re thinking of writing a paperback novel that is going to be 175 pages, you’ll only need to do 100 pages on MS Word.
22. How Many Pages are There in a Chapter?
Another area where new writers can face issues is when they are writing a chapter based book and need to know how long a chapter should be. This is really something that varies from writer to writer. There’s no wrong or right way to go about it either.
In most cases, you will see that chapters within a novel are treated like short stories. Each chapter can be as much as 1000 to 5000 words long. Some examples of this can be seen below:
|Book||No. of Chapters||
of One Chapter |
(by word count)
|The Call of the Wild||7||5,294|
|The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy||35||1,324|
|The Kite Runner||25||4,282|
|A Game of Thrones||73||4,052|
It’s easy to see that chapters can be as long or as short as you need them to be. Additionally, you don’t have to stick to 5000 words per chapter either. J.R.R Tolkien’s work features chapters that hit the high end of the 5000 words mark.
23. How Do You Use Chapters in Your Book?
Apart from focusing on the word count, you should also pay attention to another thing relating to chapters. Knowing how to use them is also a skill set that you will have to learn. Using chapters in the book really relies on the following core objectives:
- Keep your readers interested
- Give a break – It can be a sensory overload to read so much at once
- Helps give a pace to the story
- Builds suspense and desire to read
As a general rule, try to end each chapter either on a resolution or on a cliff hanger. That creates a page turner where one can’t wait to find out what happens in the next chapter. You can also adjust the word count of the chapters as a tool for your story.
In Persuasion by Jane Austen, the chapters start out shorter but as the story builds up, the chapters grow longer too. In contrast, in The Fault in Our Stars, the chapters are longer and start to shrink as Hazel’s time with grows shorter too.
However, you can use chapters as you need. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner only has five words as part of chapter 19. Plus, if chapters are too much for you, it’s a good idea to just do away with them. Break things down into sections instead.
24. When Do You Start a New Paragraph?
Using paragraphs in writing is generally considered good for readability but there’s a bit more thought that goes into this simple divider. Most writers have difficulty in knowing when they should break start a new paragraph.
As a rule of thumb, you should start a new paragraph for the following conditions:
Making a New Point or an Idea
Always start new ideas with a new paragraph. In some cases, you might have an idea that spans across multiple paragraphs. In this case, each new facet of the idea should be given their own paragraph.
To Contrast an Idea
Paragraphs are also very useful to create a debate within your work. It can be used to contrast previously stated points, establish arguments and highlight other differences.
To Give Your Readers a Break
It’s very taxing to just read one mass of text. It makes readability poor and readers will not pursue it to the end. In this case, adding a paragraph gives your readers a break and breaks the complexity of the content. Add them as needed.
When Ending an Introduction or Starting a Conclusion
Always add a paragraph for your introductory content or the conclusion. These set the tone to read or end the piece so giving them a new paragraph is necessary.
When used in this manner, the paragraphs in your text can make the reading experience better and help make your work more coherent too.
25. How Long Is Too Long for a Paragraph?
Plotting your paragraphs properly is necessary for the reading experience but are you sure you are doing this correctly? There can be times when a paragraph is too long for the reader so, how do you know it is too long?
In this case, you should adhere to the simple rule that is taught by most English teachers in school.
A paragraph should have a word count of 100 to 200 words and should not exceed 3 to 4 sentences. If you’re writing one that has 5 to 6 sentences or even 7, then you know that it has too many. Keep in mind that there are no strict rules about paragraphs, so you will have to use your common sense here.
A good thing to do is to read your work once after you have finished it. If you’re struggling with certain sentences or in readability, your readers will too.
So, fix your paragraphs and sentence structure to make them shorter and more bite sized.
26. What Makes for a Good Introductory Paragraph?
The main aim of all introductory paragraphs is to set the stage and grab the interest of the readers. You want to make sure that you’re engaging them in the right manner too. If someone finds the introduction too boring, they won’t be interested in reading the whole document.
A good way to go about it is to write introductory paragraphs with compelling opening lines. The following are some good examples:
Paragraph 1 – My Transoceanic Midlife Crisis
Why is it considered a good introductory paragraph? Because of how well the next paragraph contrasts with the first one. It immediately sparks your interest and you want to know why someone who is experiencing such bad luck is happier than ever. It’s a very clever way to catch the reader’s attention.
Paragraph 2 – How to Catch River Crabs
This is a good introductory paragraph because it adds a touch of humor to it with some mild wordplay on crabbing. It also serves a dual purpose of catching your interest and realizing that the piece you will read is going to be humorous.
Additionally, the way the first paragraph ends makes you curious to know about what you need to ensure the success of your first crabbing experience.
These two examples serve to highlight how you can capture the interest through a more negative approach and in a positive manner as well.
27. How Many Sentences Are In a Summary?
Writing summaries can be challenging because they are so brief. A good summary should be one that answers the five W questions that someone can have – Who? What? Why? Where? and When? and How?
The following is a model of a summary of the article Students Shall Not Download, Yeah, Sure which was published in the New York Times in 2003.
When this blurb is broken down, the summary comes up to only 7 sentences as shown below:
- Sentence 1 – Kate Zernike describes the attitudes of students at Pennsylvania State University to illegal downloading of Internet material.
- Sentence 2 – She points out that while they are aware of the illegality, they think that is all right to ignore the law on this issue, just as they ignore the age limit on the consumption of alcohol.
- Sentence 3 – This attitude is encouraged by various factors: the ease by which they are able to download, their assumption that the Internet belongs to everyone, and the availability of Internet services on campus and their importance to university life.
- Sentence 4 – Warnings against illegal downloading from the university authorities have little effect because students do not agree that such downloading causes any harm.
- Sentence 5 – In fact, they argue that they spend money on bands that they would not know about had it not been for illegal downloads.
- Sentence 6 – Unlike older people, they see no point in paying money to buy a recording of a song.
- Sentence 7 – Threats of punishment make students more cautious, but in no way lead them to stop downloading.
While it can be hard to ensure that you write a summary in 7 sentences, you should still try to keep it minimal. At most, a good summary should never exceed more than 10 to 15 sentences.
28. How to Create a Good Fictional Character
Creating a fictional character is not as easy a task as you might have assumed. For some writers, this is a process that can take days or even weeks. Others, who have a natural knack for characterization, can wing it but even they need some time to establish their characters.
Now, creating a character goes well beyond their physical characteristics. It’s going to be about the personal qualities of the characters. In this case, you will have to explore this area properly. You can also keep reader preferences in mind.
Most readers like characters that are dependable, reliable, and generous but they’re not looking for someone who is completely cookie cutter. All they want is someone who is ordinary and yet extraordinary as well.
Consider these famously liked characters:
- Sherlock Holmes – Ordinary man with extraordinary powers of deduction and has his own eccentricities.
- Harry Potter– The most ordinary, orphaned boy who ends up being the most extraordinary boy in the wizarding world
- Jane Eyre – An ordinary woman who works an ordinary job but she has an extraordinary adventure too
- The Count of Monte Cristo – An ordinary man who is wronged by his friend and makes his escape and revenge in the most extraordinary manner.
Think of Their Personality
So, how do you make your characters both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time as well? By portraying them as real people who have real lives! Think of what makes new people more exciting to you and try to give those attributes to your characters.
In this case, you want to make sure that you make a character sheet and try to fill in these details:
- Their job
- Their skills
- Physical appearance
- The places they have visited
- Their hobbies
- Their favorite foods
Once you have the answers to these, you have your character.
The Character Triangle
Another simple way to build characters is with the help of the character triangle. The character triangle can be seen below. It focuses on three core areas or emotions of your characters.
This gives your characters more purpose and it makes them easier to build up to. In this case, the Want relates to an external goal, the Fear or Flaw relates to the obstacle in their path and the Need is the internal goal or what the character really wants.
29. How Does Dialogue Help with Characterization?
Another area in characterization is the dialogue. In most books, it’s the dialogues that truly flesh out the characters and make us relate to them. This is because their character traits are easily visible, even the ones who are meant to be shy or civil.
Dialogue normalizes the character for us and gives them human qualities such as humor, morality and even their voice. Good dialogue serves the following 4 purposes:
- It highlights the gestures, actions and behavior of the characters
- It gives more information about the past of the character
- There’s more insight into how the characters interact with each other and their character dynamics
- It helps to solidify the physical image of the character
Each time you write dialogue, it helps your readers learn more about the character, their likes, dislikes and more. It also helps you advance the story more. Plus, if you are ever in a bind and getting paid by the word like Alexander Dumas, you can just fill your story up with the dialogues to enhance the word count.
30. How to Describe Heartbreak in Writing
Heartbreak is a part of our lives, whether it occurs in our childhood, teenage years or as adults. It is also a feeling that is felt in different ways by everyone. Despite the universality of this emotion, it can be very difficult to express this feeling in writing.
An experienced writer might not struggle in this area but for the amateur, this can be a difficult task to navigate. How do you write about the pain, devastation and sorrow of heartbreak, without it looking like over the top fluff?
The secret here is understatement. In this case, you don’t want to over exaggerate or describe everything that the person should feel. Less is more here. Instead of telling someone what they should be feeling, you should show them.
Take a look at this paragraph about heartbreak:
“Okay,” he finally whispered in a flat, distant, quiet yet lifeless voice. He sat cloaked in sadness as she left and his heart sank. He stared gloomily into his drink as if he could find some answer there. The dark brew only made him feel more hopeless and empty. Letting her go was so hard. Life seemed so pointless now. It was difficult for him to even eat anything let alone drink; bile rose in his throat and he felt physically sick. His heart thudded heavily, feeling like lead.
Now, it might feel like it was a good one but the phrasing is too clumsy or chunky. It becomes pretty annoying too since it just feels like the character is feeling too much. It’s a sensory overload for the reader.
Instead, break down the same paragraph into this:
“Okay,” he said, and she shook his hand and left. The waitress watched as the bar emptied but the man sat alone in the booth for a very long time, stirring his drink. She finally walked up to him and asked if he needed anything. He simply mumbled to get his bill which he paid. He left abruptly and the waitress sighed as she wiped away the tears he left on the table top.
Not only is this one shorter but it is also more subtle and poignant and that is how heartbreak is. You can never imagine how the heartbreak would be for another person. It gets annoying if you’re imposing your impression of heartbreak on the readers. Instead, leaving the grief implied or minimized allows the readers to project their own grief on to the story.
It’s a good idea to read a few books that capture heartbreak in great detail. Good books for this are Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Jane Eyre by Anne Bronte and The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene or even Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
31. How Can You Develop a Story?
Developing a story is a process and a half and it’s not going to get done in a day. In fact, this is a process that continues to evolve and change as your story progresses. In this manner, you’re able to maintain excellent plot, integrity and give the book the ending it deserves.
Development here implies more than just the story outlines. It encompasses the following different areas of writing a story or a novel:
- The character development and changes
- The chronology or order of events that trigger an action
- The locations, scenes, settings of the story
- The benefit of picking certain elements to further the story
This can be a confusing process but you don’t have to worry too much. It’s going to go hand in hand with the writing process so you’ll have plenty of time to master it too. To give you an example of how easy this is, you can take a look at this chart:
A good example of this can be seen in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien. You start out with a few likable characters such as Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and Sam. The story then progresses and becomes more complex with the introduction of the Wraiths, Aragorn, also known as Strider and Merry and Pippen.
Despite this fact, the main plot arc of Frodo’s quest remained at the heart of the books. Plus, there were different plots that intertwined too. In Return of the King, Aragorn takes his rightful place as King but Frodo also accomplishes his goal of destroying the ring.
Without careful development and plotting, it is easy to see that J.R.R Tolkien could easily have gotten lost in the process.
32. How Do You Craft the Perfect Essay?
In comparison to a story, writing an essay should be a piece of cake. It’s a more academic form of writing so you don’t always get to exercise your creative skills here but, you can still inject some humor and originality into the process if you think out of the box.
A good idea here is to try and make sure that you’re aware of the topics for the essay. In this case, you want to make sure that you’re covering the important areas. Having an outline is a good idea to make sure that you don’t miss out on any details.
Always make sure that you’re mentioning your research as well as your opinions and arguments. Supporting statements should also be presented in an appropriate manner. Also, make sure to include a bibliography and the appropriate index as needed.
33. What’s the Best Way to Write a Children’s Book?
Writing for children is easier in theory and a lot more difficult when you start. If you want to, you can also take a workshop for it. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more faster route, pay attention to these things:
Understand the Audience’s Reading Level
This is one of the most crucial areas to consider because it will affect the nature of the book you are producing. In this case, the reading level will be divided into the following areas:
Ages 5 to 7 – Picture Books
These books have a word count that is lower than 500 words and also have more pictures. Good examples of this are The Cat in the Hat series by Dr. Seuss and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Ages 6 to 10 – Early Readers
These are fiction books that are for kids who are no longer just interested in picture books. However, they still cannot read long paragraphs. These books usually have a word count ranging from 2000 to 5000 words.
Examples of books for early readers include Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon and The Animal Ark by Lucy Daniels.
Ages 8 to 12 – Middle Grade
These books are for children who have started reading more complex texts. They also have a bigger word counts ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 words.
Good examples of books for middle graders include Magic Treehouse by Enid Blyton, Matilda by Roald Dahl and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.
Ages 12 and above – Young Adults
YA books are targeted for young teens and above. They’re reading at a complex level and have no difficulty with complex plots. These can range anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 words.
Examples of YA books include The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Harry Potter series by JK Rowling and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
The Writing Style
When you’re writing for kids, don’t focus too much on your voice or style. You’re not expected to be like Dr. Seuss or Roald Dahl. Instead, you should relax and direct your attention towards trying to pick age appropriate themes and the complexity of your language.
A kid’s book is not where you show the grandiose of your vocabulary or your knowledge. The aim is to make the content easy to read and easy to understand. On the other hand, don’t go to extreme lengths to make your vocabulary fit with the kid’s comprehension. Some kids actually love to learn new words.
Additionally, avoid writing in rhyme as much as possible. This can be tougher than you think and in some cases, can also result in issues in writing or finding the perfect phrase. If it is easy for you, then go for it but don’t kill yourself trying to make the words rhyme.
Apart from the writing style, you also need to focus on the main character in the story. Kids will relate to other kids and they want to be the heroes in the story. That’s why some tales have kid protagonists as well. In the Golden Compass, you get Lyra Belacqua and in The Cat in the Hat, there’s Pippi Longstocking.
Even Roald Dahl’s stories reflect this aspect. From James and the Giant Peach to Charlie and the Chocolate Factor, you will see that most kids are the main characters in the story. Even Harry Potter is eleven years old when his story starts. So, you need to build a character that is relatable to the children.
Once you develop relatable characters, you will have no problems in writing engaging children’s books that will become favorites.
34. How Can You Start Writing Poetry?
Learning how to start writing poetry is a complex task. In fact, it’s a good idea if you attend a writing workshop for it. This can allow you to understand many different basics of writing poetry and help you expand your skills in this area with ease.
An introductory poetry course will also highlight the various forms of poetry, how to craft the right prose, which literary devices to use and other related aspects. The good news though is that you don’t need to have prior knowledge of poetry. Many authors also enjoy writing poetry more than they like writing novels or books.
This is visible by some in their works such as Sylvia Plath who is famed for her poetry more than for her writing. While you can start out writing poetry without taking a course, it can be a bit more difficult to do it on your own.
You have to learn how to use metaphors, avoid clichés, and understand what each poem format relates to. It’s not a hard process but when you start it on your own, it can definitely be more difficult in this manner.
35. Should I Work with Real Life Elements or Completely Fictional Ones?
When you’re writing a story or even poetry, there’s always this need for inspiration. In fact, when you’re sitting and staring blankly at the page, you’ll understand why every artist needs a muse.
Finding inspiration can be pretty tough.
Plus, when you’re writing, it’s completely natural to want to add real life elements to your work. However, is it better to work with completely fictional made up ones as shown in Sci-fi stories? Truth be told, the answer to this question is a bit complex.
For starters, drawing inspiration from a real-life person in your story can be tougher than expected.
If you’re misconstruing them in a bad way, you can be sued for libel of the person. There’s a reason why books have a disclaimer that says that any resemblance to a person, dead or alive is purely coincidental.
However, don’t be afraid to take creative liberties or use metaphors for certain things.
Many fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes were based on a person Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had interacted with. Additionally, Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is based on a future, dystopian world drawing inspiration from certain elements from present day countries like the U.S.
36. How to Write a Flashback in a Script?
Scriptwriting can be pretty technical, particularly since you are dismantling an entire story, scene by scene. Describing every single thing will take some time but you can face some confusion when you want to write about a flashback or a dream.
The main reason for this is that flashbacks end up breaking the normal narrative sequence. If used incorrectly, they can end up ruining the storyline, weakening the reader’s interest and causing confusion. Even if used in a script, you must do so very wisely.
As a general rule, you should format the flashback as an action-based element in your work and label it in all caps. Incorporating a flashback into a script is actually pretty easy but it depends on how you are using it. Simple, small flashbacks can be denoted in the following manner:
FLASHBACK – CAR ACCIDENT
The next scene will then be followed shortly with the following heading
BACK TO PRESENT DAY
If you’re going to write longer flashbacks, you should try to write it in the following manner to include more details, especially if the flashback is occurring the:
FLASHBACK – CAR ACCIDENT – NIGHT
CAR ACCIDENT – NIGHT – FLASHBACK
The next scene heading will then follow the same pattern and can be written as follows:
CAR ACCIDENT – NIGHT – BACK TO PRESENT DAY
If the flashback is going to be as long as a scene, you should use the formats as shown in Example B or C. This will make it easier to follow and will also be more coherent. Always follow the same format for headings and use appropriate scene headings for them. Remember to use them appropriately to avoid any confusion.
37. What are the Differences between a Chapter and a Scene?
When you’re writing, one element that is sure to cause confusion is differentiating between a chapter and a scene. At first glance, these two elements are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Taking a closer look will show you that scenes are only meant to be building blocks of the story.
On the other hand, chapters are only arbitrary tools. While they do add a certain structure to the novel in terms of readability, they do not add to the story as much as scenes do. Chapters are also meant to help with the pacing of the story.
Based on this, it is possible to write a story without any chapters at all. It’s also possible to have a one-word chapter too. In his book Misery, Stephen King has a chapter with only one word, “Rinse” in it. Other authors have also used chapters in a similar manner too.
In contrast, scenes are carefully structured and must contain six different elements that are divided into two major parts, namely, Scene (Action) and Sequel (Reaction):
This part consists of the following elements
- Goal– The characters or protagonist has to gain or accomplish something
- Conflict– There is an obstacle which must be overcome or attained
- Disaster– The attempts of the characters have proven to be futile and they must find an alternate route or method.
This part consists of the following elements
- Reaction – Now characters must deal with the disaster they previously experienced – this is great for character development
- Dilemma – Due to the disaster, the main characters now have to make some difficult decisions in order to continue and meet their original goal
- Decision – A decision is made and action will be taken which will be further elaborated in the next chapter
A good example of a scene can be picked out from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. In the first book, Frodo finds the ring and must set out to destroy it. Conflict arises because Frodo has never left the Shire but the fate of the world rests on him now.
Disaster strikes when he encounters wraith before he even reaches Rivendell.
Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippen react bravely, making it safely to the pub to find Aragorn. They have a difficult time trusting him but eventually do. They decide to let him be their guide and trust him because of Gandalf.
Similarly, the next chapter also continues with this scene until they reach Rivendell where there is another scene ready to open up. Chapters do not contribute in this manner. Smaller chapters make reading faster whereas larger ones make it more leisurely. Chapters can also contain one scene or smaller ones.
38. What’s the Secret to Writing on Something You Don’t Care About?
As a writer, there’s a certain belief that if you’re good at writing, you must really love what you do. Additionally, there’s tons of advice that say you should write about what you love. That’s a very optimistic approach, especially if you’re writing as a student or a professional freelance.
In these mediums, you don’t get to pick and choose your topics and you will end up with a topic that makes your brain turn to dry wool. Writing a sentence, let alone a 1500 word essay on it is a battle at that point. So how do you write about something you don’t care about? There are actually a few ways to do this:
Learn More about It
By seeing the silver lining and tapping into your curiosity. We usually don’t care about something because we don’t know anything about it. By doing some research, you can find out more about the topic and see what’s so interesting.
Additionally, you can make your work interesting by trying a different perspective on it. If you’re writing about gardening, you can look up benefits, challenges, common myths, best practices and more. The same can be applied to writing about room painting. In fact, once you take a look at the correlation between color psychology and room painting, the work becomes infinitely more interesting.
Turn It into a Teaching Experience
Have you ever been around little children? They have a tendency to ask you the why, what, how, when and where of everything. Think that you’re talking to them or writing for them. Pretend that your readers are just as curious and want to find out more.
You have to outline everything for them in such a manner. By turning your perspective into this area, you will be able to write more coherent and feasible work and add an educational tone to it.
This will make your work even better in terms of readability and ensure that you’re able to cover the important points with ease.
Just Tough It Out
In some cases, there’s no sugar coating it. You just have to tough it out and write the best work possible. Life doesn’t always go in your favor and you will have to make sure that you’re giving your best. With this in mind, you can easily accomplish the work given.
Additionally, if you take pride in your skill as a writer, you will be able to write content on any given topic!
39. What Do You Need to Know When Writing an Adventure Story?
Adventure stories are the biggest and most popular writing genres because they’re so exciting, thrilling and often larger than life. You can even write compelling children’s books in this genre because we all love a good story where the hero, against all odds, is able to save the world or accomplish their goals.
Now, when you are writing an adventure story, you have to make sure that your work includes the following three keys:
Taking it from the Expected to the Unexpected
Most adventure stories are hinged on the expected and move to the unexpected which is what draws readers into the story. The way that most adventure stories start is very ordinary. Even when there are fantasy elements such as hobbits, they still start out very ordinary.
In the Hobbit, Bilbo is a very comfortable respectable hobbit who would never do anything outlandish. He’s known for having a routine like clockwork and never wandering too far from home. This changes once Gandalf comes knocking on his door and makes him have a tea party with some dwarves.
Similarly, Harry Potter is just an orphaned boy who is mistreated by his aunt and uncle. When a mysterious letter arrives, Harry discovers that he’s actually a wizard. In both stories, we are taken from their ordinary lives and thrown into the extraordinary with these characters. This instantly catches the interest of the readers.
There’s an Element of Risk
All adventure stories have an element of risk attached to them. This risk is something that’s felt by the reader and the character. It builds a bigger connection and engagement with the story and again, draws readers in.
There’s nothing really complex about it either. Again, in the Hobbit, the risk to Bilbo is that he leaves his house in such a hurry that he doesn’t even take a handkerchief with him. He’s ill-prepared for the adventure with the dwarves and very scared too.
In Harry Potter, Harry discovers he’s famous, but is also wanted by the Dark Wizard, Lord Voldemort’s followers because he was the cause of the wizard’s death. It makes the readers want to find out how the protagonist will navigate the risk.
Changing Risk Throughout the Story
The risk shown in adventure stories doesn’t stay the same and changes as the story progresses. This goes in line with the normal pacing of the story and also engages the reader’s interest. It is also a great way to highlight character development as well as keep the storyline engaging for the readers.
If the adventure just becomes monotonous halfway into the story, you will have difficulties in retaining the interest of the readers. With compelling characters and changing risk, you can keep your story fresh, entertaining and be a real page turner.
40. How Do I End My Story?
Another challenge in writing is making a good ending to your story. This is another area where most writers can struggle, apart from the beginning. Good endings are the ones that make sense and create an emotional response or they tie up any loose ends which might have been festering in the story.
You’ll also be surprised to learn that based on your story and what your aim is for the story, you can actually write different kinds of endings. The following are the ones that are commonly used:
These are perfect for sequels or series because you leave your readers wanting more. They want to find out what’s going to happen. This ending also doesn’t give a proper conclusion to the protagonist. Instead, it usually shows the main character, near the goal or having achieved it, faced with a new problem. The fate of the hero is usually left ambiguous. Most TV series use cliffhangers to entice their viewers to watch the next episode.
The Twist Endings
This is the ending that needs to be skillfully done. In this case, readers are expecting a completely different conclusion and get one that shocks them. It can be both thrilling and annoying for the readers but it’s also great for creating a buzz.
Not every adventure story makes use of this ending but most of Roald Dahl’s work is an example of this ending.
These endings are the ones that make readers think and contemplate about the meaning of a story or the fate of the hero. This matches in closely with the cliffhanger but instead it does make one stop and think about the meaning that the writer is going for.
In this case, the shock is more muted and the wonder that the readers feel is responsible for creating a bigger engagement. Paulo Cohelo’s works have such endings.
These are the endings which make readers angry. This is where the hero’s left broken and futile despite all his hard work. The bad guys win, no one gets the girl, the treasure is stolen and more bad news follows.
Unless done skillfully, this ending can be very annoying and make some readers want to avoid your work completely.
Neat and Clean Endings
This ending is usually used because everyone really likes to read about a happy ending. The heroes win, all the loose ends are tied, the princess is found and everybody lives happily ever after. It’s a great ending and if you are not sure about which one to use for your story.
Just try to avoid making it too clichéd for you.
41. How to Write an Epilogue?
Now, sometimes, you can also include an epilogue in your work. Epilogues are used after the ending and they’re also great for tying up any loose ends in your work. Most readers also like to know what happened in the lives of their heroes.
However, writing an epilogue can be challenging. In this case, you want to make sure to pay attention to a few points such as the following:
Point of View
Try to write an epilogue with the same point of view and voice that you have kept for the story. It can be very confusing for the readers if it is completely different. Creating inconsistency in the narrative here can be very annoying.
Where Do You Pick Up?
The good news is that epilogues don’t have to be in the same timeline. Some can even by 20 years later, as the one that was seen in the Harry Potter series. Try to consider what your readers would want to know. Do they want to know who got married, what happens? Are the characters happy in their lives?
Try to avoid making your epilogues based on happily ever after. Clichés in epilogues can be annoying and the ending might have already covered this area. You want your epilogue to bring something new while also keeping in line with the ending you have given to the story.
Making Room for a Sequel
If you are thinking of adding a sequel to your work, try to add some reference to it in your epilogue. In this case, this means that you will have to make sure that you’re able to build that anticipation for the work with ease. While it is not always necessary to include an epilogue if you are going to include a sequel, make sure to keep things vague.
Make it Brief
Epilogues are not chapters and should not be 10 pages long. At most, they should be 2 to 3 pages long and should answer all the questions the readers might have. As mentioned earlier, only make your epilogues vague if you are thinking of adding a sequel. The briefer an epilogue is, the better it will be for your readers.
42. Should I Edit as I Go?
When it comes to editing, you will find that everyone has differing opinions. One common adage you will be told is to never edit your work as you’re writing it. It’s meant to be done once you are finished with your work.
While there’s nothing wrong with this, you do have to realize that this is a tough task, especially if you are writing a novel. In this case, you will have to make sure that you spend at least a week or more, just editing your work. However, there’s no hard and fast rule about how you should edit.
In fact, editing in chunks can be useful as it allows you to check continuity, grammar, sentence structure and spelling. You will also be able to cut out any unwanted story arcs which could be making your story get more complicated and confusing.
However, there are times when you might have difficulty in seeing the errors in your work. It happens that writers often develop blind spots, especially if they try to edit their work immediately after. In this case, you want to take a break before you get to editing.
Additionally, you want to make sure that you’re working with another editor, especially if you are planning to get your work published. These editors can look into the work, fix the content and also highlight any other issues in the work. So, editing on the go is something that is really up to you. There’s no hard and fast rule to follow here.
Now, that we have answered your common writing questions, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and start writing!