Writing Advice

Have you ever wished you knew more about writing short stories and novels? How to write realistic dialogue? How to create smooth prose?

I’ve collected links to articles on fiction elements. Feel free to explore them to hone your writing craft through learning or reference.


“Backstory refers to the characters’ history and other story elements that underlie the situation at the start of the book. Backstory helps to establish the setting and makes the reader care about what happens to the characters.”

Brian Klems, How to Weave the Backstory Into Your Novel Seamlessly, WritersDigest.com


“A Story Beat is the moment when one character realizes that the active choice he/she is making is not working on the other character.”

Shawn Coyne, “Story Beats: Understanding Units of Story”, StoryGrid.com


“In literature, character development is the craft of giving a character a personality, depth, and motivations that propel them through a story.”

How to Develop Fictional Characters: 8 Tips for Character Development”, MasterClass.com


“In literature and film, conflict is a clash between two opposing forces that creates the narrative thread for a story.”

How to Write Compelling Conflict,” MasterClass.com


“In fiction writing, authors bring characters to life and create imaginative settings through descriptive writing—using vivid details, figurative language, and sensory information to paint a picture for readers.”

How to Use Descriptive Writing to Improve Your Story,” MasterClass.com


“‘Dialogue’ as a noun means ‘a conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play or film’ (OED). But it’s useful to remember the definition of dialogue as a verb: To ‘take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem’.”

Bridget McNulty, “Writing Dialogue: 7 Examples of Dialogues That Work


“Editing is sometimes thought of as changing a poorly written phrase into a better one. Story editing is so much more. It means looking at the characters and asking why each one is in the story. It means looking for patterns, finding emotion, evaluating the structure of scenes, chapters and word count. It means testing the setting against the plot and so on.”

Kristina Stanley, “Everything You Need to Know About Fiction Editing”, SelfPublishingAdvice.org


“Flashbacks in writing are simply scenes from the past. If a story begins at Point A and finishes some time later at Point Z, a flashback is a scene that happened before Point A. Usually many years before.”

How to Handle Flashbacks In Writing”, Novel Writing Help


“Foreshadowing is a literary device that writers utilize as a means to indicate or hint to readers something that is to follow or appear later in a story.”

Foreshadowing”, Literary Devices


“Layering is writing in pieces.”

Julie Elizabeth Leto, “Layering and Texturing”, JulieLeto.com


“In a narrative or creative writing, a plot is the sequence of events that make up a story, whether it’s told, written, filmed, or sung. The plot is the story, and more specifically, how the story develops, unfolds, and moves in time.”

Literary Terms, “Plot


“The point of view, or POV, in a story is the narrator’s position in the description of events, and comes from the Latin word, punctum visus, which literally means point sight. The point of view is where a writer points the sight of the reader.”

Joe Bunting, “Point of View in 2021: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person


“In fiction writing, a scene is when the writer puts us directly into a specific place and time and shows us what’s happening through dialogue, action, internal thoughts, and description.”

Eva Langston, “10 Simple Plot Exercises You Need to Do Before You Write Your Novel

Sentence Structure

“When we talk about ‘sentence structure’, we are discussing the various elements of a sentence and how these elements are organized on the page to convey a desired effect.”

A Complete Guide To Sentence Structure”, Literacy Ideas


“In fiction and nonfiction writing, setting is the backdrop of a story or the atmosphere of a scene. It provides the context for your main characters’ actions and includes all aspects of place, from visual description to historical time to social environment.”

How to Create a Vivid Setting for Your Story”, MasterClass.com

Show Don’t Tell

“Show, don’t tell is a writing technique in which story and characters are related through sensory details and actions rather than exposition. It fosters a style of writing that’s more immersive for the reader, allowing them to ‘be in the room’ with the characters.”

Show, Don’t Tell: Tips and Examples of The Golden Rule”, ReedsyBlog.com

Story Structure

“… the order in which elements of a narrative are presented to the reader or audience.”

Story Structure: 7 Narrative Structures All Writers Should Know”, ReedsyBlog.com


“In fiction writing, the definition of a subplot is a side story that runs parallel to the main plot.”

How to Add Subplots to Your Story: 6 Tips for Writing Subplots”, MasterClass.com


“Subtext is the underlying message in a scene.”

Sue Weems, “How to Harness the Power of Subtext


“Suspense is the tension a reader feels when they’re not sure what will happen in a story — either during a single scene/chapter or throughout its overall arc.”

Writing 101: How to Create Suspense in 5 Exciting Steps”, ReedsyBlog.com


“Symbolism takes something that is usually concrete and associates or affixes it to something else in order to give it a new and more significant meaning.”

Ginny Wiehardt, “Symbolism in Fiction Writing”, TheBalanceCareers.com


“The theme is the main idea of the story. It is an important idea that the fiction writer wants to convey to the readers.”

Elements of Fiction: Theme”, Find Your Creative Muse


“Tone in fiction is the attitude of the narrator or viewpoint character toward story events and other characters.”

Beth Hill, “Tone, Mood, & Style – The Feel of Fiction”, The Editor’s Blog


“Put simply, a writing voice is what makes Hemingway sound like Hemingway and Stephen King like Stephen King. Everyone in the business of novel writing has one, including you.”

Finding Your Writing Voice the Easy Way”, Novel Writing Help

World Building

“Worldbuilding is the part of the writing process that sets up where your story takes place. When you build a world, you include the landscape that your characters will inhabit, the tone of your story, its major preoccupations and themes, as well as the nature of its morality.”

How to Write a Believable World: A Guide to Worldbuilding”, MasterClass.com