Book marketing. Those two innocuous words instill fear and loathing into the hearts of so many writers. You just want to write your books and have them sell themselves. Why do you have to tell people about it? Well, Susan, because you do. I know you want to write, but if your goal is to write, publish, and make money from your books, then you’re going to have to find a way to make them visible. Thousands of new titles are uploaded to Amazon every single day. Millions of books are being published every year, and no matter how good your story is, without marketing, there’s not much chance very many people will find it.
What kind of writer are you? Are you the sort who writes a meticulous outline that tips into the five digits or the type who sits down in front of a blank sheet of paper and lets the words pour out of you like a runaway train? Did you know there are specific terms for this kind of writing? Writers will come up with words for anything, I swear. Plotters are the first type of writer. They like to have detailed outlines that tell them exactly where their story is going. Pantsers are the other type of writer, which is kind of a weird name, but the term was coined by Stephen King (a famous pantser) to describe writing by the seat of your pants. Cute, eh? There is no right or wrong way to write your book, and I’m going to repeat this so many times. The right way is the way that works for you.
Dystopian fiction is one of the darker subgenres of science fiction and fantasy. It takes us into dark, foreboding worlds, where oppression and bleak landscapes are the norm. Books like 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have become classics that shine a light on political corruption, environmental disaster, and societal collapse.Why do we love these stories? Maybe it's because dystopian fiction allows us to explore worst-case scenarios, to grapple with the idea that the world we know and love could be lost forever. It's a way for us to confront our fears and anxieties about the future, to see what could happen if we continue down a certain path.
Tropes are one of the most important ingredients in storytelling. There are tropes like “enemies to lovers” or “the chosen one” that you’ll see in all forms of media from TV to movies to books. They’re comforting plot lines that readers relate and respond to because they understand what they mean. Characters can have tropes too—often referred to as archetypes—and these are the kinds of characters you’ll see over and over again in your favorite pieces of fiction. These include things like the wizened sage who offers up advice to the hero or the rebellious anarchist whose only goal is to bring down the establishment (often known as The Man.)
Characters are almost inarguably the most vital part of your story. Sure, you can have a great plot and strong world-building, but if you don’t make your reader care about your characters, then chances are the rest of that stuff will fall flat. Characters are the thing that turn an okay read into a book your readers won’t be able to put down. So how do you create a character that makes them come back for more? By ensuring they have good character development, of course. But what does that mean? So glad you asked. In this article, we’ll go over what character development is, how to develop a character, and the things you can do to ensure you’ve created got the most memorable character possible.
There are hundreds of blogs out there for writers that cover everything from improving your craft to the business and marketing of being an author. There are ones that focus on indie publishing and those that focus on traditional publishing. It’s easy to get lost in the reams of information you can find online, so which writing blogs are worth checking out? While there is no definitive answer to that question, we’ve compiled a list of writing blogs that you’ll want to bookmark to help you on your writing journey. Just make sure you actually write, too, and don’t fall into the trap of just reading about writing (look, we’ve all been there).
Never judge a book by its cover. Ha, I’ve never heard anything that’s less true. I guess the origins of the phrase suggest you shouldn’t judge people by outward appearances or something like that, and yes, that’s definitely true. But when we’re talking about actual books, then you should absolutely, definitely be judging books by their covers. Publishers use book covers as marketing tools. It tells you, dear reader, where that book falls in terms of genre and age and lets you know if this might be a book you like. If you’ve ever wondered why all the books in a specific category look similar, that’s on purpose. It’s a sign post. A guide that says, if you like other books in this genre, then this book might also appeal to you.
The short story. It seems like it should be simpler to write because it’s, well… short. Right? Maybe. It depends on you and a few other factors. Short story writing is an art unto itself, and while yes, there might be fewer words overall, you still need the same kind of practice and care you exercise when writing a longer piece. If you’ve ever wanted to write a short story, then pay attention, because we’re digging into everything you need to know to tackle your own.
You’ve just finished a novel you couldn’t put down. The pacing was spot on and everything about it made you want to keep flipping the pages to find out what happens next. You’re going to be exhausted for work this morning and you really shouldn’t have stayed up until 3 am to find out if they found the killer. If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, then it’s probably because you were reading a plot-driven story. If you’ve ever considered writing a plot-driven story, you might be wondering what exactly that term means and what elements you need to write one. In this article, we’ll break that down and give you some tips for writing your own plot-driven book.
You’ve probably heard the terms plot-driven versus character-driven stories and maybe wondered what they mean. Like a lot of things in writing, it can be tricky to define because the lines between the two are often blurred. And what feels like a plot-driven story to one person might feel like a character-driven story to another. Which is all a little confusing. In the most basic terms, a plot-driven story is one where the plot moves the characters, while a character-driven story is one where the characters drive the plot. It sounds simple enough, and it kind of is, but also has a bit more to it than that. In this article, we’ll break it down a bit more.
While the terms "story" and "plot" are often used interchangeably, they are actually two distinct elements of narrative, and understanding the difference can be a useful tool in your storytelling arsenal. You’re going to need some of both to create a compelling book that’ll have your readers coming back for more.
Editing. That tricky little step between drafting and publishing. Okay, maybe it’s not so little. Actually, it’s kind of important. I’ll even go out on a limb and say it’s actually the most important part. And the limb is very short. But where do you start? You’ve got all these words and now you have to take your messy first draft and make them actually readable. You know editing’s a thing, but you’ve probably heard there is more than one kind of editing. One of the most comprehensive is known as content or development editing. This is often the first kind of editing any book sees and, for new writers, can be a valuable step in honing their craft.
We tend to give a lot of thought to our characters when we’re writing. Their likes and dislikes. Their appearance and disposition. Hopefully their wants, goals, motivations, flaws and all the things that make them feel like real people. But how much thought do you give to actually introducing them to your readers? A strong introduction to a character can help make or break that character and the way your reader perceives them. So what’s in an introduction, anyway?
Do your main characters tend to steal the show in your novels? Don’t worry, that’s not a trick question. They should be doing that. In fact, you should be putting lots of thought and development into protagonists because that’s who the story is about. But how much thought have you given to your tertiary characters? They can be important too.If you want to breathe life into your stories, it's time to give tertiary characters a little love. These small but mighty players can add depth, complexity, and a fresh perspective to your plot. They give you the chance to offer comic relief, a dash of wisdom, and just some good old fashioned friendship.
Sidekick characters. The unsung hero of so many stories. They're the Robin to your Batman, the Luigi to your Mario, the Samwise Gamgee to your Frodo Baggins. They're the ones who are always there to lend a helping hand, crack a joke, or provide some much-needed emotional relief. And let's be real, sometimes they don’t go unsung. Sometimes they're more interesting and lovable than the main characters themselves and end up stealing the show.
Secrets. They’re the lifeblood of any relationship. If you aren’t keeping at least a few secrets from your friends and loved ones, are you really living? Okay, maybe not. Secrets in real life can be a little tricky—we all have them—but they have a way of blowing up in our faces, depending on how big they are. Your characters are really no different. Only when you’re keeping secrets in fiction, you can make them even darker and deeper than any you might ever have in real life. (Hopefully, I don’t really know your life, so maybe not.) Secrets might not be something you’ve specifically thought about when you’re drafting a story. They’re the kind of thing that often happen organically, but you can actually make use of character secrets to make your stories better. Adding them with intention can help increase tension, make twists hit that much harder, and keep your reader engaged.
There are many schools of thought on writing character descriptions in your novels. Some people are of the “blank slate” variety offering up almost no physical descriptions and letting the reader decide. While others are more into the “give every detail” until their character might as well be a drawing on the page. Most writers fall somewhere in between that spectrum.
Writing a whole book is no simple task. There’s a lot to consider when you’re crafting your novel from plot to structure to character and a thousand little details in between. From first draft to publish ready, there are a lot of steps to go through. There are also a lot of options out there to help make this task easier. Dozens of different writing, formatting, and drafting programs that might or might not work for you. Today, we’ll break down two of these options—Dabble Writer and Hemingway Editor—and compare what they have to offer, along with how much they cost and their main features.
There are dozens of writing tools out there that can help you with this task, offering features like outline templates, plotting features, notes, syncing, and so much more. But what is the difference between them and which one is right for you? Today we’ll break down two of these programs. Dabble Writer and Chapterly. In this article, we’ll discuss the features of both, do a comparison, look at the price, and then offer our conclusion on which might be right for you.
The Chosen One. It’s a trope that many people love to hate despite its pervasiveness across popular culture. If you’re unfamiliar with the Chosen One, it’s a popular trope or narrative device used across books, TV shows, and movies where a character is destined to fulfill a certain role or mission, often because they have unique abilities or traits. These traits are frequently tied to magic, meaning you’ll see this trope a lot in fantasy and other types of speculative fiction, especially those with a young adult audience.
So how do you write well then? Realistically, there are a few things universally considered “good” writing. The story should follow a logical plot where one action feeds into another. The characters should behave in ways that align with their established personalities. There should be some high points and low points and stuff in between. Generally, good writing is also well edited and follows most of the conventions for grammar and punctuation. While you can write well with typos and mistakes, you run the risk of distracting the reader to a point where that good story becomes not so good because it’s unreadable. Ultimately, the success of things like your voice and your characters are going to be up to your reader and you’ll never please everyone. But we can take some steps to ensure we please more people than not.
That’s great—our fiction should reflect the world as it is and that means including people of various ethnic backgrounds and skin tones. But the history of writing about people of color is kind of… awful and it’s important to remember that you can’t just throw in a BIPOC character without giving some serious thought to how you represent and describe that character.
Plot holes: those pesky little mistakes that can fall anywhere between a simple accident in eye color all the way to messing up your entire story. We’ve all been there. You thought you wrapped up everything so nicely, but then you go back to edit, or a friendly and well-meaning beta reader asks you “what about this?” and suddenly you’re struck with a sense of impending doom.
Villains are the characters we love to hate. Or sometimes our love for the villain is equally strong as it is for the protagonist. Why? Because it can be fun to root for the bad guy (speaking in general terms here–not just guys can be bad, obviously). But readers only root for the villain if you’ve given them a reason to do so. A villain needs depth and development, just like any of your more heroic characters. They need motivation and faults and weaknesses to make them full and complete characters.
We talk a lot about character development and how to make those paper children of yours come to life so they leap off the page. It’s one of the fundamental aspects of a good story—without characters your reader can fall in love with, you don’t really have much of a story. But a potentially less common question is, how the heck do you go about introducing those fascinating characters? Maybe this seems obvious, or maybe it doesn’t. After all, there are numerous ways you can introduce them into your story that not only tell the reader they exist but also show who your character is. Sure, it can be as simple as walking on and saying “hello,” but it can also be a lot deeper than that.
There’s a lot of to-do about the opening of a story. I mean, writers probably have more practice starting stories as opposed to finishing them. Right? We also hear a lot about that pesky saggy middle when the excitement of the opening is long over and now you’re wondering what the heck you’re supposed to do with these characters. Sure, the opening, middle, and all the parts in between are important, but truly nailing the end of that book is where you’re going to create dedicated fans who are already begging for the next one. And if you want to make a career of this whole writing thing, you have to make sure you leave them wanting more.
So you want to publish a book, but maybe you don’t want everyone knowing you published a book. Or maybe you’ve already published a lot of books but you want to publish one in another genre. Pen names or pseudonyms are common amongst authors, and many writers use them. In fact, a lot of the most famous authors you know go by a different name on their cover than what is listed on their birth certificate.
Giving your characters a believable and compelling backstory is one of the best ways to bring them to life on the page. Making it nice and traumatic also doesn’t hurt.
One of the biggest challenges in writing a novel is ensuring your characters sound different from one another. You don’t want carbon copy characters who all talk the same. After all, reading isn’t a visual medium, so while you can use descriptions to differentiate characters, in the end, your readers are really going to differentiate them in how they speak and act. Your readers are building these characters in their heads, so you want to offer them as many cues to tell them apart as possible. It will make for a better reading experience and ensure your characters are more memorable.
The inciting incident is the make-or-break moment for your story. It’s the catalyst for change. It’s the thing that sets your entire tale in motion. It’s the kick in the pants your protagonist needs to force a change in their lives they probably never saw coming. Novel openings are one of the hardest things to nail and you can’t do that without a compelling, disruptive, and logical inciting incident. But how do you create an inciting incident that will carry your whole story?
Do you have a story in you? Of course you do! Come write with us for the Dabble Writing Challenge.
Essentially, a beta reader is an (hopefully) objective third party who will read your novel or story and provide (hopefully) constructive feedback. A beta reader is not an editor, and often they’re not writers either, though there’s a good chance a lot of your beta readers are going to be authors as well.
If you’re a regular writer of romance or are looking to dive into this popular genre, you might be on the lookout for some stellar plot ideas. Spend any time reading and exploring the genre and you’ll know that romance is just one word for dozens of different subgenres all with their own tone and style.
Characters are the most important part of any story. They are the beating heart and the blood that flows through your novel’s veins. Yes, your plot and world and story structure are also important, but most people will fall in love with a book because they love the characters.
If you’re planning to become an indie author, one of the first things you might be wondering is: how do you price a self-published book?
Can't get a clear answer on how many scenes should be in a chapter? Here's how to calculate the answer for your book.
There's no easy way to determine how many chapters you should have in your book, but let's figure out how many will work for you.
You’ve cobbled together 100K words of sheer brilliance, but now you must tackle the hardest task. How do you write book titles, anyway?
Looking for great writing exercises for fiction writers? We've got you covered with prompts to inspire story, character, and more.
How much do authors make? It's a question every writer asks at least once. We break it down for you in this blog!
Theses six steps can help show you how to become a fiction writer. Figure out what works best for you!
Want to learn the secret of how to get rid of writer's block? You've got to get to the root of the problem. We can help with multiple angles to clear the clog and get you writing again.
Fight scenes are what some readers live for, but writing them can be tough. Let's dissect how to write a fight scene in your novel.
Not sure how to describe clothing writing? It's easier (and more fun) than you might think. Here's everything you need to know.
Romance tropes are the heartbeat of what makes romance novels feel like cozy sweaters you want to snuggle into. Learn how to weave in these tropes to enhance your romance story!
Character motivation is essential in creating characters your readers will care about. Learn about the types of motivation with Dabble!
How to start a first chapter: include action, character, plot, emotion, and motivation or you’re going to lose your reader.
Want to learn how to write exposition that's not so explainy? Divulge compelling backstory using these tried-and-true tips.
English is whack. You should make something better. Here's how to make your own language in four simple steps, whether it's for a novel, show, your DnD group, or just a hobby.
How long should your chapters be? On average, chapters tend to range from 1,000-5,000 words, with most falling in the 2,000-4,000 range.
Need original character questions to inspire your work in progress? Dig deep with these one-of-a-kind character interview questions.
It isn't easy to write a good villain, at least not without the right ingredients. Let Dabble give you the perfect recipe for a villain!
There are a lot of pieces of writing advice you can ignore, but here’s one you shouldn’t: you need to include character goals in your story.
Why does character motivation matter? Find out why a thrilling plot is not enough and how to design motivation that resonates with readers.
Outlining your future bestseller isn't easy! But we break it down for you so you can plan a novel that rocks.
You might be wondering: how long does it take to write a book? The answer depends on a variety of factors.
Here are sixty-five character development questions, plus tips on how and when to interview your characters. Get inspired and get unstuck!
Conflict is what makes books worth reading. Join us as we explore the four types of conflict you can use to make you story memorable!
Do you have a writer in your life who needs a gift? Check out this list of 61 gifts for writers that will help them with their author dreams.
Need character ideas for your next story? Find a ton of original ideas and brainstorming questions right here!
The words you use to start a story are some of the most important you'll write. We'll help make sure you get them right!
A character flaw is a fault, limitation, or weakness that can be internal or external factors that affect your character and their life.
The Seducer/Seductress archetype can help you craft unforgettable villains and surprisingly sympathetic anti-heroes. Learn how.
The Orphan archetype makes for both inspiring heroes and unsettlingly sympathetic villains. Learn how to use this archetype in your story.
Explore the fundamentals of the Outlaw Archetype and how they serve your story. Explore famous examples of Outlaws in popular media.
The Common Person or Everyman is a powerful archetype that can instantly relate to your readers. Learn how to use it in your writing!
The caregiver archetype is more than a saint. Learn how to craft a fascinating, flawed, and deep-souled caregiver for your story.
The Creator Archetype breathes life into their art, often to an obsessive level. Learn all about using this archetype in your writing!
The Ruler archetype is one of the most recognizable and is about stability and maintaining order through control and power.
Get to know the Innocent archetype, from Buddy the Elf to Andy Dwyer. Learn how to write this lovable (and sometimes chaotic) character.
The Sage archetype is an important one in all storytelling—one that can either help or hinder the protagonist's journey in your book.
Explorer Archetypes long for adventure and seek out new places, ideas, and experiences to live a thrilling, exciting, and fulfilling life.
What is the Jester archetype? Find out what you need to know to give your funniest character true purpose and depth.
Lover archetypes embrace the love they hold for friends, family, their gods, or simply the world around them.
The Magician archetype is one of the most popular archetypes in writing. In this blog, we explain everything you need to know about Magicians!
What is the hero archetype? From epic heroes to anti-heroes, here's everything you need to know about crafting a compelling hero.
The seven basic plot points offer perhaps what is the most open-ended of the structure archetypes with broad, high-level descriptions.
Chekhov's Gun is a fundamental principle in writing. Join us as we examine what this principle is so you can apply it to your own writing.
What is three-act structure? Learn why this story structure is so effective and whether it can help you plot your novel.
Save the Cat is one of the most popular ways of drafting screenplays and novels in modern storytelling.
The Hero's Journey is a classic story structure. Learn why it's so popular among writers and how to apply it to your own storytelling.
We call it John Gardner's aquatic monstrosity, the Fichtean Curve is a narrative structure that can help you easily plan out your novel.
We break down Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method, a type of outlining that can make writing your book much easier and faster.
A New York City story coach shares her best tips on how to create compelling characters. She walks through each step in the process.
Learn about Dan Harmon's Story Circle—what it is, how it can help you plot your novel, and whether it's right for you.
One of the original story structures, Freytag's Pyramid is the foundation for dramatic stories and tragedies. Learn all about it with Dabble!
Learn how to write a children's book with this ultimate guide and template for designing a story that resonates with young readers.
In this article, we’ll explore what active and passive writing is and when you should use them. Contrary to some beliefs, sometimes passive voice does make sense. Not everything you write should or needs to be active (though it should be most of the time).
Editing your book can be a daunting task. In this article, we breakdown the different types of editing and when you should apply them.
Learn how to write a book synopsis that gets the attention of agents and publishers. It's easier than you think.
3rd-person limited or 1st-person epistolary? Here is what you need to know about narrative point of view and your story.
Story structures are the frameworks that tie your story together. A story structure can help guide your book to be the best it can be!
Bestselling author Kristina Stanley breaks down the three questions you need to ask to self-edit your book's characters, plot, and setting.
Which of the four character arc types is right for your story? And what is a character arc?
To write a romance you need to manage three separate arcs: your main character, your love interest, and the romance itself.
Character archetypes can help you write complex, three-dimensional characters. Learn more about them, including 14 common types, with Dabble.
Learn how to write a book in this ultimate guide. Plus find editing tips, map out a publishing journey, & download a free outlining template.
Unsure of how to start writing? This easy guide and checklist will help you turn your writing dreams into a reality.
Writing with proper punctuation can feel like the hardest part of writing. Don't worry, we've made a Beginner's Guide to Punctuation to help!
Scene and sequel create the current that carries your reader through the story. Here’s how to use these tools to craft a page-turner.