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Guide to Creative Writing


–under construction–

This is where I will hopefully put up some tips and guides on writing and how to write better.  It’s mainly to keep my own writing in check but hopefully it will help other aspiring writers too.  I will summarise the key points from any posts about writing I put up and also provide useful links.

Writing Techniques

Part I: 4 Step Process to Writing: Writing is a 4 step process of planning, writing, re-writing and editing.  Don’t mix any of the steps up and don’t do 2 at the same time (in particular writing and editing).  See my blog post on this.

Part II: Free Writing: A writing technique to free your imagination.  Think of a topic or a scene, set a short time limit and just write/type, capturing first thoughts and do not stop until the time is up.  See my blog post on this.

Part III: Using Flashbacks: Flashbacks can be a helpful technique in taking your reader back with you in time to find out more about a character’s backstory.  But they can also be very difficult to pull off effectively.  See my blog post for some tips.

Part IV: Common Mistakes in Writing: Whether it’s overwriting, poor use of point of view or errors in style, common mistakes in writing are the best way to land your manuscript in the bin.  Here’s a couple of sites teaching you how to avoid them.  See my blog post on this.

Part V: Show and Tell: Writers are taught to show rather than tell their reader what is happening in order to convey emotion.  The best way to do this is to use bricks of detail in your writing.  See my blog post on this, which provides some useful links that teach you how to do it.

Overwriting: New writers often have a tendency to overwrite, leading to long and boring passages of description or dialogue where nothing really happens.  According to this editorrr.com article on writing techniques, there are ways to tidy things up.  Here’s also a blog post I found about how to avoid overwriting.  Another article from Homeschool World (WTF?) also discusses the same issue.  See by blog post on this.

more to come —

Books on Writing

I like to read books that discuss the craft of writing.  See below for the books I have reviewed on my blog, which also try to provide a summary of the writing tips in them.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

How Not to Write a Novel by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman

Useful Websites

Nicholas Sparks’ Writer’s Corner – a great site where the successful writer of several international bestsellers provides helpful tips on the craft of writing and notes on each of his hit novels.

Elfwood Tutorials: really a fantasy writing website but has articles that can help with writing techniques generally.  See my blog post about this site.

One of Us creative writing website: a fabulous resource with writing tips, writing articles and a discussion forum.  See my post about this.

Richard Harland’s Writing tips: 145 pages of writing tips, absolutely free!  See my post about this.


When is the Best Time to Write? This article has some ideas that might help you find your own.  See what I had to say about it.

The Standard Deviations of Writing and http://www.editorrr.com/writing_tips-techniques.html: some sites that discuss how to avoid common mistakes in your writing.

Show Not Tell: What the Heck is That Anyway? and On Writing: Show, Don’t Tell: good sites which teach writers how to show and not tell in their writing.

Writers’ Forums

The Absolute Write Water Cooler is a fantastic forum for writers of all levels and genres – a place to get answers to stupid questions and get helpful tips from other writers, agents and publishers.  See my blog post about this.

The One of Us creative writing website’s Discussion Forum has various categories of discussion on writing.  See my post about this.

Other Related Posts

Novel writing programs: comprehensive review of NewNovelist2


1. Wez - June 9, 2009

Hello, I appreciate those tips but I suggest you proof read this entry… there are quite a few typo/spelling errors on them!

pacejmiller - June 9, 2009

Thanks! I’ll have a look through it!

pacejmiller - June 9, 2009

Hello, could you please point out what these typos/errors are? I just had a quick scan and I can’t see any…

2. Chazz Byron - March 23, 2010

Link to Part II: Free Writing is broken :(

pacejmiller - March 23, 2010

Thanks – just fixed!

3. Moonshine - June 20, 2010

this is awsome! I’ve been wanting to start a story all semester, but with assessments all done, i am definately going to start on it and with all these tips – i really can’t wait! thanks heaps !

pacejmiller - June 21, 2010

No worries, thanks for visiting!

I really hope to add more to this page soon.

4. Sajib - September 16, 2010

Thanks for this page. I’m a passionate writer and journalist who still dreams of writing better in English while his first language is not it. It’s pretty tough to express everything I want to in a language I’m not very familiar with. Still, I’m learning. I can go with my mother tongue, in fact, I write for newspapers regularly in my mother tongue, but I’m getting ready for a future with English writing/journalism.

If you have some time, please have a look on my blog. Thanks again. :)

5. dorothyscatter - March 3, 2011

Just stumbled upon this…useful thanks :)

6. MarieB - July 3, 2011

Picked-up a link to your 20 Most Rewatchable Movies of All-Time (loved it) and then picked-up your link here. I’ve been trying to get myself writing a story I’ve been mulling over. You’ve got some great tips and resources here — thanks for sharing, that may be just what I need to kick it off!

7. Smitten By The Written - July 10, 2011

I’m also a writer, so anyone who encourages others to write is ok in my book!

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