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.
Below, I mention taking what you need and leaving the rest. There’s so much information out there, from well-meaning peers in our writing groups and classes who want to see your manuscript succeed (or not?), to agents and editors giving advice based on the “market,” to self-and-trad-published authors giving their two cents. And you know what? It’s a lot of information, and it’s not always helpful, and like everything else, it’s highly subjective. When I curate and share the tips I find, I want you to know that that’s what I am doing – curating, so not giving you just any video I find on the internet and calling it good, and sharing. You decide what you need, and you ignore what you don’t. I hope that you find some of these, or any videos I share, to be enlightening. I hope you give some of these creators a follow. I hope they give you new perspectives about your work and writing in general. But most of all, I hope you do it your way, and I hope you succeed.
Bad Art Every Day is one of my FAVORITE content creators on the internet, and one of the reasons I STAY on the internet against my better judgment. Her videos are aesthetically pleasing, soul-healing glimmers in my world, and I like to think we’d be best friends IRL. This is not an ASMR account, but I hope this little asmr-infused writing video is a soothing little moment that inspires you to work on your own WIP. You can find Bad Art Every Day on Substack & Instagram.
Britnee Meiser is a fiction writer as well as a freelance nonfiction writer. Her middle grade fiction, a series about twin witches (!!), is published under a pseudonym, Luna Graves. Britnee gives us a tip for creating tension that I will definitely be using. She says that we should add little “pinches” to our plot in addition to the big problems. A pinch might be something like spilling coffee all over their outfit, or having a minor accident, that sends the action in a new direction, but isn’t necessarily the big drama. I love her description of the minor inconveniences that add tension. Follow her on Instagram here.
Have you ever had to decide between multiple agents at an agency when pitching? Pitching agents is hard enough, and there are a lot of barriers and hoops already. However, many agencies have the rule that you can only pitch to one agent, and a “no” from one is a “no” from all. But we know that books are subjective. How many times have you read a book that got rave reviews, and wondered what was so special? How many times have you read a book that no one else seemed to like, but it spoke to your soul? In her video, Cimone Watson talks about the (hopeful) end of this “one and done” policy many agencies have. This could make a world of a difference for some writers. See Cimone tweet here.
As a writer, I understand the terror that comes with having to write a synopsis and query after writing an entire book! It can be so hard to distill big ideas into small spaces. Luckily so does author Hallie Christensen, whom I’ve featured in a previous column. In her video, she helps us write a synopsis by breaking it down into easy, actionable steps.
MFA student and editor Jenna Schuster jokes about being a plotter, which as a fellow plotter I find hilarious. She’s on twitter.
John Matthew Fox (twitter) gives us a crash course on three types of dialogue: Summary, Indirect, and Direct. I found this to be helpful, and realized that although I am aware of all types, I have definitely been relying on direct. What I love about tips like these, is it’s something I can incorporate in my draft going forward. As always, with all the information out there, I take what I need and leave the rest. I needed this one.
In another video by John Matthew Fox, Fox breaks down how to know if your fiction is too influenced by movies. In addition to his website and twitter above, he was interviewed by DIY MFA and I am sharing that here because DIY MFA is a great resource. You can also find him on Jane Friedman’s site here.
Iman Aisha is a student and screenwriter, working on her debut novel Beyond the Healer’s Calling. I am sharing her cute “write with me” video. On Instagram, she writes, “Beyond The Healer’s Calling was heavily inspired by my absolute favorite “Deadly Competition” tropes and plot devices in books and cinema like The Hunger Games, Squid Games, Alice in Borderland, Exam, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, etc. But in my original spin of the story, I incorporate African cultures and our folklore and beliefs pertaining to Curses, Black Magic, and of course, Traditional Healers known as Sangoma.” This sounds so cool!
Words by Kate describes herself as “An existential crisis disguised as WriterTok,” and I love that for her. In her video, she describes how she uses setting to show-not-tell. I love her example: Instead of telling the reader that a character is enthusiastic about hockey, show it when another character comes to visit, and has to move hockey equipment out of the way. Check out her page for similar tips!
Fantasy and Science Fiction author Zachary Jeffries on the question “Is your writing a hobby or a profession?” with a profound, punchy answer.
Zel tells us about the “Writing Habit” extension, which is free and looks helpful for those of us who mostly type their WIPs rather than handwriting. It’s always good to see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve gotten done. What are some other free extensions you use in your writing life?
Did you find something valuable? Did you get inspired to blow the dust off your favorite notebook, and sit in the sun with an emotional support water bottle and a head full of ideas? I hope so. But if not, that’s okay too. You are still a writer.
If you are on WriterTok, let me know in the comments! I am always looking for more writers to follow and engage with. Writing can be a lonely pursuit but the more we band together, joining communities like Write or Die/Chill Subs, and making and sharing content, the more it feels like we are not alone.