Showing posts from 2014

Do You Love Your Story Enough to Commit to It?

Today the Sir Writesalot blog is honored to welcome a guest post from a young author, Rachelle O'Neil!

Relationships take work, whether they be with a parent, sibling, friend, or spouse. It is universally acknowledged that, in order to have a successful relationship that goes beyond the barest superficiality, you’re going to need to invest some hard work into it. And that requires a commitment to the relationship. Writers have another type of relationship that they cultivate: the relationship with their stories. And our stories are like some of our deepest relationships with people: they depend upon an intense commitment. So the question then is this: Do You Love Your Story Enough to Commit to It?

Commitment, though an easy enough word to say, is a difficult concept to truly understand. According to, “commitment” is a “a promise or pledge; an obligation.” So how does it apply to our stories?

Commitment is being faithful:
In a successful romantic relationship, each me…

11 Awesome Websites for Writers

Here I list some of my favorite online resources for fiction writing tips and inspiration! And no, nobody's compensating me in any way to promote these. Other writers I follow are constantly posting articles from this site, and for good reason! You don't have to be a teen to take advantage of their extensive writers-education articles on topics like character background, getting published, how to get good inspiration, developing ideas, writing prompts, and much more! They’ve also got a great Pinterest account and a Facebook group with a fun and helpful community. If you’ve been in the online writing community long, chances are you’ve come across Amanda Patterson’s Writers Write blog. She has many posts on everything writing related, from plotting to book promotion and author quotes to writing humor. One of the best things about her site is that in addition to her posts, she has many guests posts from other experienced writers. Thi…

Book Cover Mistakes that Sabotage Sales: How to Avoid Common Self-Publishing Fails

Below I analyze why 5 bad book covers fail and how you can avoid common mistakes.

If you’re self-publishing, your biggest selling point is probably your book cover, since you’re probably not very well known and don’t have a huge advertising agency. Before people even pick up your novel to read the description on the back or flip through the pages, they must be enticed by the cover.

Disclaimer: I’m actually not a cruel person, I just sound like one. I understand that writers generally don’t have graphic design training and they are often self-publishing. I commend people who are just starting out with graphics and are willing to try even though their work isn't perfect. But, as the point of this article is constructive criticism, I'm going to be a little rough.

What They Did Wrong:
No Font Contrast. The entire cover of the book is confusing because each set of words is approximately the same size. When fonts are similar size and weight, the viewer is reduced to wandering aroun…

Story Structure: Plot Points

A story without structure is like a body without bones: it’s messy and won’t get very far. Structure gives both you and your readers a clear sense of direction and purpose. If you check around for story structure outlines, many of them will based on Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet. It is a basic plot structure, typically used in screenwriting. However, it can really apply to any media form because it follows a basic three act structure. This one is somewhat based on Snyder’s outline as well. Note that all of the elements of this outline are not completely set in stone, but this is a good structure for sequence of events. Sometimes it's hard to analyze exactly where every point of a story falls into the beat sheet, but you'll get the idea. The three most basic ingredients you need before you can fill out the details of this structure are: a protagonist, a goal, and an adversary. It also helps to have ideas about your story’s theme, your character’s hamartia, and your character’s pla…

Building Plot

Whether you have no plot, half a plot, or just need to spice things up a bit, this article gives advice on to create and solve conflict in a character-centered story, along with a few ideas for inspiration.
Growing Plot from Character

In many stories, the protagonist is the heart and the plot is the body. This is a good strategy. The character drives the plot and the plot in turn creates needs for the character to attempt to overcome and structure to make the story flowing and paced.

Often I start with a character and a few loose ideas about that character, but not a very strong plot idea. If you’ve got a well-developed character but are lacking in plots, it's a good idea to grow your plot from your character. Write down what you know about your character: his or her personality, past, future goals, etc. Once you know what your characters have been through, where they want to go, and what kind of person they are, you might get some ideas about what is missing or what needs fixing …

To Writers and Poets

And no, this isn't saying you can't write about the other stuff too, even clishe things, as long as you do in in a way that's meaningful to you. Y'know.

Ultimate Character Questionnaire

BasicsWhat is your name?
What is your name’s origin and meaning, and how was it chosen?
Any nicknames?
How tall are you?
Who do you live with or near, if anyone?
Where is your residence and what is it like?
What is your hometown and local culture like?
Who are your parents?
Are you married, single, seeking a relationship, avoiding romance?
What is your class/income level?
What is your income source and/or occupation?
What is your education?
What is your worldview/religion? What is your level of devotion to that philosophy?
What are your current life problems?
Who (or what) are your enemies?
What are your priorities in life?
What is your goal in life? What is your motivation for this goal?
What is your goal in this story? What is your motivation for this goal?
What changes do you undergo by the end of the story (emotional, physical, philosophical, relational, etc)?

MindWhat is your central philosophy in life?
What moral code do you follow and why?
What is your outlook on life?
What do you wish would happe…