The first piece of advice I’ll offer you’ve probably already heard, but it bears repeating. Write what you know and write from your heart.

And write consistently. Few of us live in a world where we can devote as much energy to our art as we’d like. So we have to prioritize it or our stories will go untold.

Write with joy and passion and persistence. I hope the following articles will help.


General Interest

Advice from a Writers of the Future Contest Judge

The Art of Description–How Much Do You Need?

Backstory Is Not Story

Cliches Can Be Surprising

A Different Kind of Story Prompt

The Latest, Greatest, Bright, Shiny Idea

Nat Russo on Adverbs and Show, Don’t Tell

Point of View–Which One Should I Use?

The Short Story–Making a Comeback

Submitting Short Stories

Synonyms for Look and Walk

Stick to Your Literary Guns

Who Do You Write Like?

Why Readers Stop Reading a Book

Writing What You Know

34 Writing Terms for Serious Writers


Planning Your Story

Story Structure–Important for Both Plotters and Discovery Writers

The Hook

Three Act Structure–An Overview

Three Act Structure–Act One: Inciting Incident

Three Act Structure–Act One: The Point of No Return

Three Act Structure–Act Two

Three Act Structure–Third Act

Three Act Structure–Epilogue



Developing Depth in Your Characters

Does the Sidekick Make the Hero?

Your Protagonist–Don’t Write a Mary Sue

Your Protagonist Must Act

Antagonist–What Kind Do You Have?



Are You Filtering Your Writing?

Beta Readers

Criticism–Friend or Foe?

Editing for Passive Voice

Editor’s List of Common Mistakes

Kill Your Darlings

The Magic of the Read-Aloud Pass–and the Following One

The Smile and Nod Editing Passes

Watch Out for Homophones

Weasel Words



Facing Fear

Lessons from a Border Collie

What Was I Thinking? Maybe I Should Quit Writing

What Do You Do When You Hit The Wall? (Dealing with Writer’s Block)

Help! I’ve Lost My (Writer’s) Voice! A Remedy For Allegedly Lost Writers


Punctuation and Grammar

Apostrophes–End the Abuse!

How to Use Semicolons

Ten Ways to Use Hyphens with Numbers

Comma Abuse

Commas and Independent Clauses

Commas and Introductory Clauses

Commas and Introductory Phrases

Commas and Introductory Words

Commas and Parenthetical Statements

More Than One Adjective–Comma or No Comma?

The Oxford Comma–Superhero of Punctuation

Split Infinitives


25 comments on “Writing
  1. Matt Rydeen says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I will be absolutely be applying the advice from The Editor’s List of Common Mistakes to my next draft.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re very welcome! I wish I could claim credit for it, but I’m happy to share. I found this post a year ago and started making it the basis for one of my editing passes. It’s definitely improved the quality of my writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cathleen, I’ve been perusing your wonderful blog after you stopped by mine to read 7 Reasons Good Authors Need Beta Readers. Thank you for the visit and for liking the post. I’m approaching the end of my memoir manuscript and see many things here I will want to take advantage of reading as I move into the editorial and publishing processes. I look forward to many visits back and have subscribed to your blog so I can get to know you better. Best of luck with your writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Memoir is a tough gig–I don’t think it’s appreciated enough. The closest I can come is back when I studied art, I took lots of painting and drawing classes before I studied film photography and went into a darkroom. There were times my fingers just itched to hold a brush–it was so much easier to picture it and make it happen on canvas than to capture it in real life for certain images.

      Anyway, memoir is like that. Unlike fiction, you can’t change events to suit the story. Instead you have to craft the story around the events. So I have nothing but the deepest respect for anyone who tries to take on that task. Best of luck to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list of posts you have here. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. paully1965 says:

    Great informative post..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I see words as color with words adding depth ad new shades off color to each other. I really like this post. I tend to forget about the practical matters that can make the difference between a fair writer and a good one.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. frenchc1955 says:

    I have nominated you for a Blogger’s Appreciation Award. The information follows:


    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a great list of resources, Cathleen. Thanks! I couldn’t figure out where to begin so I favorited.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. that’s it, 500 words a day consistently, is a novel or two a year.
    And if you crank it up to 1k, 2k, 3k etc that’s even better 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The True Light! says:

    This is so much good information! Good post…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks so much. 🙂


  11. Thanks, Cathleen. Just shared this on Twitter and posted on Pinterest as a writing resource go-to! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. […] Cathleen Townsend – Think of writing a book check out this link below, interesting and helpful. https://cathleentownsend.com/writing/ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Annika Perry says:

    Cathleen, this is a terrific list of resources – thank you so much for the work in compiling and sharing! I can see several I want to delve further into and some of the titles alone are enticing. Bookmarking your post for reference!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The list looks very helpful. I’m bookmarking it…. thanks for the compilation…. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. It was my pleasure, Maniparta. This is all the stuff I wish I’d known when I started writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Geri Lawhon says:

    This will take awhile to digest. It certainly appears worthy of the time. Thank you.


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