All posts by Elizabeth Spann Craig

About Elizabeth Spann Craig

Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series (as Riley Adams) and the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin and writes the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She also has a blog, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. There she posts on the writing craft, finding inspiration in everyday life, and fitting writing into a busy schedule.

How Flash Fiction Can Make You a Better Writer (and Where to Find It)

by Fred Johnson,  @FredBobJohn

In our non-stop world of tweets, tags, and text messages, it’s often difficult to find the time and motivation to sit down and read (let alone write!) a full-length novel. Even short stories can fall flat in terms of their ability to reflect the pure speed and transience of modern life.

Enter flash fiction. This relatively modern form describes very short fiction, with pieces normally clocking it at below a thousand words. With so few words to play with, writers of flash fiction have to cram meaning and emotion into as few words as possible. The most famous example is commonly attributed to Ernest Hemingway and is only six words long:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Powerful stuff indeed. But here’s the kicker: flash fiction, beyond being a pleasure to read, can make you a better writer, no matter what you’re writing.

This is because flash fiction is all about using every last word and wasting no space whatsoever, which is an incredibly important skill for a writer to cultivate. Learning the value of brevity can help you get better, whether you’re writing short stories, novels, articles, blog posts, reviews, commercial copy… anything really.

Even better, flash fiction takes very little time to read and write. You can embrace brevity and write flash fiction during your break at work, on the bus, or before you go to bed. Better still, it can be a great way to test out ideas or to dip a toe into a different genre–if one piece doesn’t work, it’s no big deal, but if another does, you can develop that piece and use it as the foundation for a longer text.

With all this in mind, here are some great platforms and communities to help encourage you, give you some inspiration, and provide some top-notch reading material. Continue reading How Flash Fiction Can Make You a Better Writer (and Where to Find It)

Twitterific Writing Links

Bluebird with beak open and 'Twitterific Writing Links' by ElizabethSCraig superimposed on the image

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

A weekly roundup of the best writing links from around the web.

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 40,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and see the character and location name generators! 

Business / Miscellaneous

Continue reading Twitterific Writing Links

Amazon Author Insights

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Amazon Author Insights is a new author-facing  Tumblr site to help both new and established writers find writing-related resources and Amazon services for writers in one spot.

I was asked by Amazon to be a beta-tester for the site and to contribute some of its content (here are a couple of my posts on building an author platform and Kindle Instant Preview).

There are tabs for writers looking for information on writing, publishing, and marketing.

Amazon Tools and Services Page

One of the most helpful things about the site are the links to Amazon’s tools and services. I’ve always felt as if it was tricky to find everything Amazon offers all in one place (out of sight, out of mind for me.)

Although I’d heard about Amazon’s free screenwriting tool online, for instance, I’d never run across it, despite the time I spend on Amazon.  I think that’s because when I’m on Amazon, I’m either on Author Central or KDP bookshelf/reports and not searching the site.  I’m no screenwriter, but it was interesting to see they offered peer collaboration, auto-formatting (a nice plus), and the ability to submit finished scripts directly to Amazon Studios.  For scripts in the brainstorming stages, they also offer Amazon Storybuilder. Continue reading Amazon Author Insights

3 Vital Elements of Craft: Subplots, Scenes and POV

by Hank Quense, @hanque99

Today, author Hank Quense offers tips on three vital elements of the writing craft: subplots, scenes, and POV. 

Integrating subplots naturally:

I’ve seen subplots mishandled many times.  When this happens, the subplots interfere with the main plot.

The trick is how you approach subplots.  They are by their nature “subordinate.”  Subplots have a defined space within the novel; they can’t just be thrown into the story any which way the author feels like it.  If you have more than one subplot you have to categorize them from most important to least important.  The subplots are then nested within the main story line.  Like this: after the characters are introduced and the plot problem recognized, a scene from Subplot A can be added.  After a number of scenes from the main plot and an occasional one from Subplot A, Subplot B is introduced.  More Main plot scenes are broken up by scenes from Subplots A and B.  Then Subplot C is begun.  Now the bulk of the story continues with the subplot scenes dropped in to break up the Main plot. Continue reading 3 Vital Elements of Craft: Subplots, Scenes and POV

Twitterific Writing Links

Bluebird with beak open and 'Twitterific Writing Links' by ElizabethSCraig superimposed on the image

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

A weekly roundup of the best writing links from around the web.

Twitterific writing links are fed into the Writer’s Knowledge Base search engine (developed by writer and software engineer Mike Fleming) which has over 40,000 free articles on writing related topics. It’s the search engine for writers.

Have you visited the WKB lately?  Check out the new redesign where you can browse by category, and see the character and location name generators! 

Creativity and Inspiration / Goal setting

Creativity and Inspiration / Inspiration

Continue reading Twitterific Writing Links