Story Prompts & Plot Generators for Struggling Writers and Newbie Wrimos

It’s a new year and we have a whole new round of NaNoWriMo sessions ready to help us write all the words! The first of which, Camp NaNoWriMo, starts in only a few weeks on April 1st.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is technically in November, but there are two slightly more casual ‘Camp NaNoWriMo’ sessions that run in April and July. Anyway, as you might be able to tell from the name, it’s a whole month dedicated to writing a novel – specifically fifty thousand words of one. That works out to about 1,667 words every day for thirty days, which is also a lot harder than it sounds.

Anyway, more than once I have found turning to writing prompts and story generators really helpful for triggering new ideas and getting myself unstuck when I’m writing a story. It can bring some much-needed randomness (and I mean that quite literally), to a story that feels predictable, or one that you’ve just grown tired with.

With that in mind, I did a little digging all over the internet to pull up what I think are some of the best plot generators for writers. Whether you jump into Camp NaNo with no story at all or you find yourself stuck in the middle of April, July or November, hopefully some of these story prompts will get you back in the groove.

Read more

Five Tips for Writing a Mystery

5 tips for writing a mystery novel

Writing a mystery is very different from other kinds of fiction.

I’ve been writing for a long time. Since I was a kid I’ve been telling stories. Maybe that’s why I take it for granted sometimes. It feels very natural to step into a story and have a ‘feel’ for what needs to happen and when. I’ve spent years writing fantasy (with a bit of sci-fi on the side), so I guess starting this project had me underestimating just how different the genre of mystery was.

For a little context, after I announced last year that I would be self-publishing my first book in 2020, I began work on a near-future science fiction mystery novella that I still haven’t decided on a title for. Geek that I am, the science fiction part of it came rather naturally, but what I found to be a real challenge was the mystery.

I love a good mystery. It’s my favourite genre after fantasy and sci-fi, and I’ve been reading it since I was little. You would think that would make you well equipped to write it, but as it turns out, writing a good mystery is actually very difficult.

Read more

NaNoWriMo Tip: It’s Not About Winning

It’s the final countdown. The end of the month is upon us, and unless you happen to be a couple thousand words away, this might be where your NaNo journey ends. It’s also the last Friday of the month, so it’s time for my final NaNoWriMo tip.

This ‘tip’ is really more of a nugget of advice, and a lot of it was pulled from a post on my old Tumblog, but it still holds true, and I think it bears repeating at the end of NaNoWriMo.

Read more

NaNoWriMo Tip: Beat the Word Count Trap

This tip is a weird one, and it’s the result of a recent discovery. Not long ago I purchased an Alphasmart after seeing other writers rave about it online. I’d always wanted to try one, but it wasn’t until this year that I decided to give it a go. I found a cheap one on Amazon, and when it arrived two days later I immediately headed to a local coffee shop to give my new toy a spin.

Read more

NaNoWriMo Tip: Keep Up Your Momentum!

It’s the third Friday of November, which means it’s time for yet another NaNo tip! This one comes after a very rough couple of weeks for me, so you can bet that I’ll be employing some of these suggestions in the second half of the month!

Every time I’ve lost NaNoWriMo, it’s because I stopped writing for a couple of days, lost the momentum I had built up, and struggled to build it up again. You let yourself get carried away by other responsibilities, and you don’t make time for writing. And the longer you spend away from the writing, the easier it becomes to ignore and the harder it becomes to get back into it. Don’t let this happen to you. It is very hard to bounce back if you’ve let yourself slack off for the better part of the month.

Read more

NaNoWriMo Tip: Avoiding the Empty Page

Happy Friday, Wrimos!

As I mentioned last week, every Friday of the month, I’ll be giving you one of my favourite tips to get you through NaNoWriMo. Last week I urged you to write as much as you could at the start of NaNoWriMo when passion and excitement are at their highest. I’m sure by this point some of you might be feeling the pressure. The second week is one of the most challenging – you’ve barely started, and at the same time you realize just how hard it’s going to be to reach 50k and how much more you have left to write. It’s not easy.

While this might be a bit of an odd tip, it’s one I’ve used before to great success. I think it’s particularly effective if you’re the type to be intimidated by a ‘fresh page’.

Read more