The 8 Best Novel Smithy Resources of 2018
Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!
With 2018 officially behind us, now seemed like the perfect time to look back at some of The Novel Smithy’s best (and most popular) blog posts from the past year. We covered a lot the last few months, but I’ve done my best to pick the perfect articles to help you get in the novel writing groove as 2019 begins!
Of course, there will be lots of new stuff to cover this year too. I’ll be welcoming some exciting guest authors to the site, starting an new article series about genres, and launching some new resources for The Novel Smithy Resource Library. In fact, I’m convinced this year will be one of the best years ever for finishing your novel!
I hope you’ll follow along and let me know whenever there’s a topic you want covered. For example, I know a few of my readers are preparing their novel for publication, so expect a bunch of posts all about self-publication, formatting, pricing, and more!
In terms of other exciting news, I’ll be working on publishing my own book in 2019 too, because this year will see the launch of my first official writing guide!
While I’m itching to share all the details with you, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a few more months before everything is ready. Still, I hope you’ll be just as excited as I am when you get to see the final product!
I can’t wait to see what you all create in 2019 and to help you along in the process.
But, before we dive into the New Year, let’s take a moment to look back at the best resources The Novel Smithy had to offer in 2018!
The Eight Best Novel Smithy Resources of 2018
- 1 The Eight Best Novel Smithy Resources of 2018
- 1.1 The Complete Story Structure Series:
- 1.2 The Two Types of Conflict Every Novel Needs:
- 1.3 The 5 Signs of a Compelling Protagonist:
- 1.4 4 Reasons Your Protagonists Blue Eyes Don’t Matter:
- 1.5 The Complete Guide to Self-Editing Your Novel in 8 Steps:
- 1.6 How Do You Know When to “Kill Your Darlings”:
- 1.7 How Do You Create Time to Read (and Write)?:
- 1.8 Your Game Plan to Break Through Writer’s Block for Good:
My pride and joy from this past summer, The Complete Story Structure Series was a marathon effort spanning ten articles, over twenty thousand words, and two very long movie watching sessions.
But don’t be intimidated—if I did my job right, these posts should be an accessible reference for you as you explore the different parts of the Three Act Structure!
Each one is broken down to focus only on a specific plot point within the Three Act Structure, helping you map out each stage of your novel while also tying in other important elements such as character arcs and theme. If you’re looking to get serious about mastering the novel writing process, this is where I’d encourage you to start.
One of The Novel Smithy’s most popular posts from 2018, this article is all about the importance of infusing every scene in your novel with a healthy dose of conflict. Conflict is essential to any good novel—it drives the plot, makes your characters come to life, and keeps your reader hooked and asking for more.
What makes conflict so complex is that there’s more than one kind to think about. This post walks you through the difference between Macro and Micro level conflict and how you should be using both in your novel.
A post that somehow got the site featured by the Australian Writers’ Centre (and introduced me to a bunch of lovely Aussie readers too) this one is all about creating a protagonist your readers will love! It covers each of the elements you should look for when first drafting your protagonist, along with some important questions to ask:
- How will they influence the plot, the climax, and other characters?
- How do they communicate the lessons and themes you want to explore?
Check out the post to see the rest and take a look at your own story’s protagonist. How do they shape up against this test?
While this is a somewhat aggressively named article, it’s actually not as harsh as it sounds. Simply put, your protagonist’s physical appearance isn’t as important to your readers as it is to you.
Too often I see beginning novelists dump paragraphs of physical description on their reader when introducing a character, especially their protagonist. They’re rightfully excited, but the unfortunate side effect is that their readers will never get the chance to be excited about their characters too. Instead, they’ll be suffocating under a mountain of “blue eyes,” “brunette hairs,” and “about five foot fours.”
With NaNoWriMo at an end, I knew a lot of you would be looking at next steps for your manuscript. What started as a short post on how to approach self-editing turned into an extended guide on each stage of the editing process.
From your second draft, to the various rest periods between edits, to finding beta readers, this post should have you covered on all things editing! If you recently wrote “the end,” in your first draft, I hope you’ll take a moment to check this post out.
A difficult task that every writer will struggle with, “killing your darlings” is just a dark way of saying you need to be objective when editing your work. When faced with scenes, characters, or even whole subplots that need to be cut, almost everyone will feel some resistance to axing all that hard work.
Despite that hesitance, it’s often the best thing you can do for your novel as a whole. This article walks you through the most common kinds of “darlings” in novel writing and what you can do about each of them to help your novel thrive.
Probably the most personal article I’ve written to date, this post was inspired by the frustration I felt when I realized I hadn’t finished reading a book in months. With work, life, and writing tasks piling up, I never seemed to have the time to just sit down and read.
Fortunately, I’ve since turned that trend around. I’m reading more than I have in months, and I think at least one of the four tips I give you in this post will help you do the same!
For the last post on this list, I have one I think all of us can appreciate. Everyone faces writer’s block at some point, and many of us face it on a regular basis. I know I’m one of those people!
This article was my way of cataloging the strategies I’ve developed over the years to help keep words flowing on the page. I even threw in three extra tips on what NOT to do when writer’s block pays you a visit. So here’s hoping 2019 is a year filled with inspiration and a distinct lack of writer’s block knocking at your door. 😛