For writing and writing resources.

Writing masterpost (Work in progess)

This is a work in progress and I will be adding to it and the blog shortly. In the mean time feel free to send me a request for something specific for me either to find or write about



General writing tips

Five things I wish someone had told me

How to describe colours

Twenty-one harsh but eye-opening writing tips from famous authors

Fifty writing tools: quick list

How to write an animal protagonist

Ten exercises in creativity

How to write with style by Kurt Vonnegut

Ten things that every brand new science-fiction writer should know

Raymond Chandler’s ten commandments for writing a detective novel

This sentence has five words

Ten types of writers’ block (and how to overcome them)

Why is it so hard to write a decent ending?

How to write descriptive passages without being boring

John Steinbeck’s writing advice from a letter sent in 1962

Eight unstoppable rules for writing killer short stories

Fifteen unconventional story methods

How the rules of screenwriting can help improve your prose fiction

The complete guide to internal monologue

How to rewrite

The thirteen most common mistakes on a novel’s first page

Body language masterpost



Six dialogue tips

Nine tricks to make your dialogue more organic

Six ways you’re botching your own dialogue

Five mistakes to look for in your dialogue


Resources for writing

List of vintage radio scripts

Breaking Bad 3x01 Script

Forty-two essential third-act twists

Periodic table of storytelling

Tv tropes (List of writing conventions)

One of the best writing tumblrs out there (Karen & the babes)

Ten of the greatest writing essays ever written

Chart of emotions

Subreddit to answer AMAs as if you were your own fictional character

In-depth character chart

Ambient websites to listen to while writing

Writing exercises and prompts

A lot of name generators


Tightening up your writing

Removing pleonasms (redundancies)

Dumping illegal words

Confessions of a Copyeditor: Mistakes that beginners make

Cliche finder


Writing theory

Dada and Surrealism: Texts and extracts

Oulipian constraints

"Tenderloins are not enough"


Essential short stories

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

Answer by Fredric Brown

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


Writing software and web apps

JDarkRoom (Free, minimalist writing software)

FocusWriter (Free, minimalist writing software)

Scrivener (Free trial, full version $40, novel structuring software)

sigil (Free, epub editing software for ebooks)

Evernote (Free, research and ideas organisation software)

Expresso (Web app to help edit texts)

Angler (Finds Anglo-Saxon alternatives to Latinate words)

Word frequency and phrase frequency counters

Em Dashes


A lot of people use semi-colons wrong because they know there’s supposed to be a pause in their sentence that they know isn’t quite a comma, so they think it must be that mysterious semi-colon. Usually, it’s actually supposed to be an em dash (—), which in some ways is…

Ten exercises in creativity

1). Rewrite an old story from another character’s perspective. Not only does hist help you to flesh out that character’s personality, you get a firmer grasp on the situation.

2). Go back to old stories you’ve written, I’m talking really embarrassing 13-15 year old ones, and rewrite them. Keep the story exactly the same, no matter how cliche or stupid.

3). Pick one of your favourite authors (or better yet, one that you hate) and parody them. Look at what really makes their style theirs and completely nail it. Pistache by Sebastian Faulks is good inspiration for this.

4). Oulipian constraints are a lot of fun to write with. Tthey’re rules that you set yourself before writing that you have to follow throughout. For example, you can ban yourself from using the letters ‘k’ or ‘e’. They get tiring pretty quick but they’re useful for making you think in creative ways. The online N+7 generator is a personal favourite.

5). Take two stories you never finished and combine them, the wackier the better! If you have a love story and a sci-fi story about fighting an evil space broccoli then your challenge is to make the main character of both the same person and work out how they got from crying over some girl at the local coffee shop to saving the world from intergalactic threat.

6). If you’re writing a scene in a forest, write the scene in a forest. This one isn’t as easy as the others and may be plain impossible for some of you, but those who have the ability to go to places similar to the ones they’re writing, should. It’s the little things that you forget about these places that take your writing to a whole new level. Writing the five senses is easy; just breath in, listen, look around you and you have the tools to write them accurately.

7). Give closure to the stories you’re working on, either by finishing them or moving on. Nothing blocks creativity like a previous work looming over your shoulder as you prepare for another.

8). Read a style or genre that’s outside of your comfort zone and then try to emulate it in a short story or piece of flash fiction.

9). Write deleted scenes from your current story. They don’t have to fit into the story in anyway, they can be completely anachronistic and/or unrealistic. This is useful if you don’t know how to advance the plot. Write short throwaway paragraphs and they could soon evolve into plots of their own or help you to further flesh out a character. The same applies for if you’ve finished a story and want to write more but don’t have enough for a sequel; deleted scenes and alternative endings are always fun and worthwhile to write even if you don’t show anyone.

10). It’s cliche, but relax! If you’re afflicted by a writer’s block and creatively drained, don’t write. No writing at all is better than forced writing.

The 13 Most Common Errors on a Novel's First Page


  • Over-explanation. This includes prologues. “Prologues are never needed. You can usually throw them in the garbage. They’re usually put on as a patch.”
  • Too much data. “You’re trying to seduce your reader, not burden them,” Friedman said.
  • Over-writing, or “trying too hard.” “We think the more description we add, the more vivid it will be; but we don’t want to be distracted from the story” we open the book for.
  • Beginning the novel with an interior monologue or reflection. Usually this is written as the thoughts of a character who is sitting alone, musing and thinking back on a story. Just start with the story.
  • Beginning the novel with a flashback. Friedman isn’t entirely anti-flashback, but the novel’s opening page is the wrong place for one.
  • Beginning a novel with the “waking up sequence” of a character waking, getting out of bed, putting on slippers, heading for the kitchen and coffee…a cliche
  • Related cliche: beginning the novel with an alarm clock or a ringing phone
  • Starting out with an “ordinary day’s routine” for the main character
  • Beginning with “crisis moments” that aren’t unique: “When the doctor said ‘malignant,’ my life changed forever…” or “The day my father left us I was seven years old…”
  • Don’t start with a dialogue that doesn’t have any context. Building characterization through dialogue is okay anywhere else but there.
  • Starting with backstory, or “going back, then going forward.”
  • Info dump. More formally called “exposition.”
  • Character dump, which is four or more characters on the first page.

(via thewritinglibrary-deactivated20)

Work-in-progress Story Generator

Syme is a program that will, hopefully, in the near future be able to write stories/poetry. Right now its thoughts are disconnected, it’s more of a ‘non-sequitur machine’. It is inspired by the program David Bowie used to write lyrics with. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, don’t worry!

Press enter to get a new line.

Feedback would be wonderful, thank you.

How to write an animal protagonist

If the story is first person, you should consider unreliability and bias; a first person story is at its core the life and experiences of one character filtered through their perception of the world. An animal’s perception would be far different to that of a human. It depends on the animal but let’s do an easy example, a dog. The character should focus on food and on brightly coloured objects to reflect their respective senses, maybe even losing interest in other more ‘important’ plot points to fixate on otherwise trivial things. How do dogs respond to loud noises? They become irate and bark; adding a quick temper to the character might help to create a more accurate persona.

Another technique worth considering is messing with the register and grammar. Animals are less intelligent than us and an easy way to get this across would be less formal language and a smaller vocabulary. The same goes for grammar, animals are seen to think frantically and the reduction of proper grammar could help this idea come through.

Also the ‘instincts’ of the animal. Employing a watered down stream of consciousness style might help to illustrate that the ideas and thoughts of the main character flow into each other and are a passive process not an active one. If it’s not too much of a trial, reading some passages from James Joyce might help.

But I must stress, don’t over do these. Short bursts in small places will easily be enough for the reader to catch on. Assume that your reader is also an intelligent, perceptive human being and you’re golden. It’s the same old ‘show don’t tell’ mantra that crops up everywhere when looking for writing advice, and for good reason.


Things I've said.