A monthly roundup of Tiktok videos related to writing and the writer’s life, showcasing writers and writer-adjacent folks, and their advice, prompts, exaltations, and reality checks.
Perhaps this month’s roundup will inspire some of you to make videos of your own, sharing your wisdom, perspective, achievements, and heartaches. We’re all in this together, even though it can seem like a lonely pursuit! Community is important for artists, and we are all so lucky to find community here, on Write or Die.
This month, we start off with not one, not two, but THREE videos by April Henry.
April Henry is an award winning author based in Oregon. She writes for teens and adults. In her video, she details the journey from baby writer with a dream to award winning writer, with many pit stops in despair in between, reminding us all that the journey is non-linear, and that big wins are still big wins even when we aren’t quitting our day jobs and scooping up accolades everywhere we go. The path to being a published author is wild, overgrown, and dark sometimes. Other times we come to clearings filled with sunlight, clear lakes, and wildflowers. This is the life we choose, and we choose it every day.
Here is another by April Henry on how to make your book a page turner by making things worse at the end of every chapter. As a writer who tends to coddle her sweet, precious characters, this is a good reminder.
Finally, Henry gives us her formula for intense chapters that goes beyond “speed up the boring parts and draw out the fascinating parts.”
She says the special layering combination is: actions, thoughts, dialogue, description, and then slow it down.
Obviously, there is a lot to be found on April Henry’s Tiktok page as she has over thirty years experience and a lot to share with us.
Cee M. Taylor, fantasy writer and editor, has an aesthetically pleasing instagram and is also on tumblr. In the video, Taylor talks about how setting drives character, because your characters will react a certain way TO the setting. One example given is not a place, but an event – the holidays. What reaction does this particular holiday bring out in your character and why? This will tell the reader so much about your character and give your story some extra depth.
Erik Patterson is an award winning playwright, tv writer, and amazing resource. His is one of my all-time favorite accounts for writers on Tiktok. He hosts writing sprints on Sundays and Wednesdays, and has recently put out a book of prompts based on pop music which I quickly snatched up! I love the prompts he shares on Tiktok because many are super easy to incorporate into your current WIP, and many can work for almost any genre.
I’ve chosen to share a really groovy prompt of his to kick start your writing, which works more for Fantasy or Sci-fi WIPs. However, his page is bountiful and I know you’ll find something that works for you if this one does not.
Kelsie Sheridan Gonzalez is back! Remember her from last time? Kelsie has hooked not one, but two agents before ever having a novel published ! That’s beyond subjectivity – she must have some serious talent and I can’t wait to read her novels when they’re available. Here she describes the questions she was sure to ask the second time around, because her business relationship with the first agent did not pan out as they’d both hoped.
Leigh Stein writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, both short form and long form. She is also a writing coach. I loved her memoir, Land of Enchantment, and its dreamy watercolor cover. In her video, she ruminates on the pain that occurs when someone ~loves~ your work, but doesn’t want to publish/represent you anyway. This is a fickle business, and highly subjective. It’s so true that in writing, the old adage is bible – one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
Lexie Axon describes something I know all too well – the awkward moment when you’re writing, and then your brain decides it’s time to give an impromptu magazine interview about your work. Haven’t we all done this?
Nat Eliason has a forthcoming book with Penguin Randomhouse in 2024. Here, he recommends 4 books on writing, including one I’ve not heard of! The comments are great because there are people recommending other books. Crowdsourcing at its finest.
Perci Jay (instagram) is here to talk about my achilles heel, pacing! She says that instead of giving new information every chapter, we should try introducing the reader to new information every sentence. Two authors I think do this amazingly well are Anna Dorn and Susan Rigetti (specifically in the spectacular Cover Story).
R.R. Carter (goodreads here) shares her acronym for good writing, a riff off of “bleed on the page.” I love how easy to remember it is, and I think it’s great advice. So, please bleed on the page, but no need for actual blood.
Stephanie Wrobel’s novel Darling Rose Gold is on multiple best seller lists, and she has great resources for writers on her website. In this TikTok video, she shares her favorite books about publishing. Adding all of these to my TBR!
See her instagram here.
Tomi Adeyemi, the New York Times Bestseller of the Children of Blood and Bone series, shares her recommendations of books for writers as well, including one I’ve never heard of. I put myself on the waitlist at the library! Check out her TikTok account for writing prompts as well.
Until next month! Thank you to all of the writers, agents, and the writing community at large for generously sharing your knowledge and experience with us!