• Craft,  Writing Prompt

    Apples to Apples to Words: Weekly Writing Challenge

    Since it’s the weekend, we want you to have a little fun with your writing* so we’re bringing back the Apples to Apples Challenge! This is *not* a contest, we’re just playing with words today, but here are the rules: Incorporate the words in large text from the cards below into a short piece of writing – 250 words or less – and post it in the comments for us all to enjoy.  Please keep it family friendly! We want to show off your well-crafted work but we can’t keep it on our site if it goes against our family-friendly policy. You can explore dark topics but you have to…

  • Craft

    5 Links: Show Some Character

    We’ve got lots of great advice here at 10 Minute Novelists but we also recommend reading widely so you can learn as much as you can about the craft of writing. Once a month, we’ll be sharing links to 5 posts on other sites that can expand and enhance your understanding of some aspect of your writing practice. Please note that these recommendations will only be for whatever is directly linked, there is no implied recommendation for products that may be sold on these sites. Here are 5 interesting posts that Christine found about developing your characters. 33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters – Kristen Kieffer’s post (and podcast) on…

  • Craft,  Creativity

    5 Questions: An Interview with Katharine Grubb

    This is the first of a new interview series that we’ll be publishing on the last Thursday of each month here at 10 Minute Novelists. We’ll ask the same 5 Questions of every author and we’ll see what interesting things they have to tell us. We’re starting, of course, with our founder and leader, Katharine Grubb. 1) Where and when do you write? I write every morning at my desk, which is just a corner of my bedroom. Our homeschool morning starts at roughly 8:30, so I try to get an uninterrupted hour of writing in before then. If I don’t meet my word count goals for the day, I’ll…

  • Craft,  Creativity

    Into the Heart: Writing Flash Fiction

    by Christine Hennebury I really enjoy writing flash fiction because I can finish a draft quickly, polish it and do something with it right away. That’s not to say that flash fiction is easy, or that you can just toss out any old thing and call it flash fiction. This type of writing takes skill, but you can practice it more quickly that you can when writing longer forms of fiction. The cycle of draft, revision, revision, revision, completion is much faster when you are dealing with changing a few words, lines, or paragraphs than when you are dealing with page after page of text. If wrangling fiction of this…

  • white background, yellow circle with text reading 'Celebrate Writing: An Inventory of the Good Stuff' By Christine Hennebury.
    Craft,  Creativity,  Inspiration,  Motivation,  Organization,  Self Talk

    Celebrate Writing: An Inventory of the Good Stuff

    by Christine Hennebury A lot of my columns here on 10MN have been about ways you can tweak or improve your writing experience to make it a little easier on yourself. Today, I would like you to take a moment to celebrate the things that are already good about your writing experiences. You might even want to grab a notebook so you can make a chart or a list or a drawing so you can come back to it when you feel a bit cranky about your writing. Let’s start in a really general way.     1) What draws you to write? Many writers talk about a compulsion to…

  • White background, yellow circle in the foreground. Black text reads Use What You Know Improve Your Writing With Transferable Skills
    Craft,  Creativity

    Use What You Know: Improve Your Writing With Transferable Skills

    by Christine Hennebury Everyone is familiar with the idea of ‘write what you know’ but have you ever USED what you know as a framework to improve your writing?   One of my favourite things to do is to use my skills and experience from area and try it out in another context. Lessons from Taekwondo have helped me develop my writing practice and approach my work from a new angle. My storytelling skills inform my teaching approaches in Taekwondo. I refer to my weekly schedule as a ‘recipe’, because the flexibility I learned when baking helps me remember to keep my plans responsive to changes in circumstances. Each of…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Perils of a Mom Writer,  Self Talk,  Time Management

    Flicking the Switch: Activate Writer Mode!

    by Christine Hennebury Thanks to Katharine’s terrific example, we all know that 10 minutes a day is enough to keep your creative life chirping along. But do you find it a challenge to make good use of that short period of time? Do you find it hard to stop your regular life and activate your writer mode? When my kids were small, I really struggled with that transition. I had lots of ideas but even when I had *time* to write, I couldn’t get much on the page.  And now, even though my kids are teenagers, I still sometimes have trouble switching into writing mode.  I know that Katharine has…

  • Craft,  Discipline,  Uncategorized

    Can’t We All Get Along? Making Friends with Your Inner Editor

    by Christine Hennebury Do you have an annoying inner voice? I’m not referring to your conscience. I’m talking about your inner editor. The one who keeps interrupting your first draft to remind you that it still needs work.   Unlike a real live editor, this one is kind of missing the point. Real, live editors wouldn’t expect you to have gotten everything right on the first try. And, they certainly wouldn’t interrupt you while you are writing to tell you to change that single word. Real live editors know that there is a time and a place for editing.  With very few exceptions, the first draft is NOT it.  …

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Observation,  Uncategorized

    Become A Seasonal Anthropologist: Holiday Writing Research

    By Christine Hennebury Holidays are full of opportunities for us to play anthropologist and observe the culture we are participating in. We can choose to pay attention to the emotional, social, and sensory details of the season. That way we can bring vivid detail to our future writing. I’m not suggesting that you spend your holiday season detached from the people around you. (unless you need to- see below*) However, if you take a few moments every now and then to take in the details of your surroundings, you can slow things down a little while gathering details for your work. Bonus: Those few minutes spent observing can help you…

  • Charles Dickens,  Craft,  Discipline,  Revising and Editing,  Uncategorized

    Top 10 Signs You’ve Given TMI & Need to Cut The Dickens Out Of Your Backstory by Katharine Grubb 10 Minute Novelist

    You are not Charles Dickens. As much as you may want  to be Victorian, champion for the London’s most needy, and father 10 children, that doesn’t give you the right to overwrite your novels. That is, if you intention is to sell them in today’s market, you may want to reconsider how much backstory you have and how you may want to cut it. In today’s market, there are general guidelines for genres. Writer’s Digest has a nice article that breaks it down for your use. But these are general guidelines. Anyone who self-publishes can basically do whatever they want. And if you look hard enough, you’ll find exceptions to nearly ever…

  • Craft,  Creativity

    Getting to ‘What if…’ Sparking Ideas For Your Writing

    by Christine Hennebury Writers often say that their stories started with a ‘What if…?’ Sometimes, though, it’s a challenge to get to that starting point.  It’s okay if you have trouble coming up with ideas, even if it happens frequently. But, to save yourself some stress, I recommend having some idea-generating techniques ready to go so you can get back to writing as soon as possible. So, what should you do to get your ideas flowing? In the big picture, you’ll want start cultivating idea-generating habits like going for walks, and regularly reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching shows that get you into creative mode. You can also spend…

  • Craft,  Motivation,  Nanowrimo

    Top 16 Close-Talking, Double Dipping Tips to Succeeding At Nanowrimo!

    Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. For 30 days in November every year, hundreds of thousands of writers all over the world try to get 50,000 words on paper. In a perfect world, these words would be brilliant and profound. It’s far more likely that the words are a big hot mess. If you are participating, this is the perfect time to organize your ideas and get ready! The objective is to write as much as possible, you know, yada, yada, yada, not to be beautiful doing it. Sign up here so you can participate this November! I believe that the objective of 50K words in 30 days is doable for…

  • Craft,  Observation,  Uncategorized

    Bring Them With You: Writing Vivid Descriptions

    by Christine Hennebury Readers come to fiction to immerse themselves in the world of the characters. If you want your readers to really connect with your writing, with your characters, you need to master vivid descriptions. When you put in the work to make your book’s world as real as possible, you reward both your readers and yourself. Creating a detailed world doesn’t mean that you need to overload your text with adjectives. Instead, it means that you need to be precise in your language and selective in the details you share. It means that you connect your readers with your characters through their senses. Vivid description lets you fully…

  • Craft

    What Good Writers Do

    by Sara Marschand Kindergartners learn what “good writers do,” but all writers can apply these universal lessons. Kindergarteners practice tracing letters and numbers as the first steps to becoming literate.  Even at this early stage, they are taught the basics for a lifetime of writing. The sign on my daughter’s classroom wall reads simply “What Good Writer’s Do.” Only a handful of the recent preschoolers can read the sign at the beginning of the year. As they come to understand the words, the sign becomes a useful reference. It provides guidance on how to communicate clearly to readers.  From editing to formatting to effective storytelling, all writers benefit from mastering…