It’s always fascinating to see what readers have enjoyed most on the Now Novel blog. We’ve been looking through our most-shared and most-viewed articles to find out what your best book writing blog posts of 2015 were. Here are our top ten, according to what resonated with you most:
- How to write a book: 151 must-visit writing websites
It didn’t surprise us that this came first in the popularity stakes. The internet is a double-edged sword for writers: You can find all kinds of information that will enrich your writing, but the sheer abundance of resources can be distracting too. This round-up of 151 useful online writing resources is categorized by subject to help you find what you need faster.
- Writing a fantasy novel: 34 must-visit websites
Many of Now Novel’s blog readers and community members are fantasy fans (it’s the largest of our members-only online writing groups too). This fantasy book writing article includes links to resources that will help you with everything from worldbuilding to inventing striking fantasy character names.
- How to plot a romance novel
Romance is another genre that is particularly popular on Now Novel. As with any other major fiction genre, romance novels have plot tropes and conventions that aspiring romance authors need to be aware of. This post includes a free PDF guide to writing romance books.
- Six Secrets to Writing a Series
Landing a publishing contract for not just one but a series of books is what countless aspiring writers dream of. Authors such as J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin have successfully published series, gaining staggeringly large audiences in the process. This post examines some of the core common ingredients of successful book series. Take these tips and apply them to your own series planning.
- 51 must-visit websites for romance writers
Whether you’re trying to avoid winning the annual ‘Bad Sex’ writing award for the worst racy scenes or you want to write better romance plots, this selection of romance resources for writers should help. There’s also a selection of links to websites and databases that will help you to do market research before you set your heart on a particular romance story idea.
- How to become a productive writer: 10 simple rules
One of the most essential aspects of book writing is simply showing up – you have to create a writing routine and keep to it as diligently as possible to get anywhere. This post outlines 10 simple rules that will help you become a productive writer who shows up.
- How to explain your story without using backstory
Backstory is made of the events that have occurred before the narrative time of a book, the details that give your characters a sense of having their own history. Backstory is useful for making a novel more vivid and real, but it can become distracting info-dumping if worked in clumsily. This post suggests other ways to include secondary information necessary to make your characters’ lives real.
- Writing terrible first drafts: Why a bad first draft is fine
One thing that many writers (even the most seasoned) struggle with is confidence. Writing a first draft doesn’t necessarily have to be painstaking. Giving yourself the freedom to write bad drafts is important if you’re to pull ideas into a shape and a structure. You can always knock the structure down in part (or full) later and make the alterations you want. It’s the process that’s the valuable part as it will bring you closer to writing the story you need to tell.
- Finishing a novel: 88 quotes that will help
There’s an inspiring quote for every stage of the book writing process, from finding story ideas to editing your final draft. This compendium of quotes on writing by famous writers such as Zadie Smith, George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway was one of our most read posts last year.
- Use these 10 writing productivity hacks: Finish your novel this year
Writing smarter and getting the most out of precious writing time is key to becoming an author. Several key strategies for working better are outlined in this post on increasing writing productivity.
There were many helpful posts for writers across the web that we particularly enjoyed in 2015. Here are a few of our best posts from other book writing blogs (in no particular order):
A step-by-step guide to build your author website
Jane Friedman’s detailed guide to creating an author website, a guest post for Writer’s Digest, included information on everything from buying a domain name to adding essential website elements that give your site authority. It’s a must-read for anyone who finds self-promotion a daunting prospect. There’s plenty of advice for making your online portal a productive marketing tool that will guide readers who enjoy your genre or subject matter to your work.
How to write can’t-look-away chapter breaks (what I learned writing Storming)
Writer and blogger K.M. Weiland draws on examples from her own novel and others to create a detailed guide to writing chapters that will make readers want to stay with your story.
10 practices for maintaining a constant stream of creative writing ideas
Melissa Donovan’s blog, Writing Forward, includes practical articles on a range of topics related to book writing. Here Donovan offers many helpful suggestions for keeping writing inspiration strong. One of her best pieces of advice is not to strive too hard to be original. Says Donovan: ‘Writers often complain that their ideas are not good enough, not original enough. Everything has been done before. Stop trying to be different and focus on being yourself.’
The best of Brain Pickings 2015
Maria Popova’s blog Brain Pickings is packed with fascinating articles on writers and philosophy. Some of her best blog posts for writers from 2015 include ‘Ursula K. Le Guin on the Sacredness of Public Libraries’ and ‘Poet Jane Kenyon’s Advice on Writing: Some of the Wisest Words to Create and Live By’. Less ‘how to’s’ and more inspiring and carefully curated musings, Popova’s posts are always food for thought.
What were some of your favourite blog posts from 2015? If you’ve enjoyed our posts, consider nominating us for Write to Done’s Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2016.