Index of writing advice and guides

Here’s the alphabetical index of all the posts I’ve written about writing craft, such as guides to writing about certain types of characters and subjects, what I’ve learnt from writing mistakes, advice for writing reviews, and how not to write certain things. The posts which are specifically about writing advice and dilemmas related to character names are indexed on the page of names-related posts.

Though some of these posts have overlap with my posts on historical topics, I’ve filed them here because they’re intended as writing advice and suggestions, not presentations intended purely as history lessons.

This index also doesn’t include posts focused on my own writing progress reports and such. The posts here are intended as writing advice for everyone. If any of my writing is mentioned, it’s as part of a lesson everyone can learn from.

Advice for writing a book set in New York City
Age differences in my couples, revisited
Anachronisms to watch out for, Part I
Anachronisms to watch out for, Part II
Anachronisms to watch out for, Part III
Anachronisms to watch out for, Part IV
Anachronisms to watch out for, Part V
Antagonists and extremists should still be three-dimensional characters
Avoiding amateur writing mistakes
Avoiding amateur writing mistakes (erotica version)
Avoiding amateur writing mistakes (hist-fic edition)
Avoiding continuity errors
Avoiding throwaway storylines and backstories

Bad vs. good negative reviews
Beware the surprise, full-blown character
Beware the token character
Birth in my books

Character name changes should never be forced
Choosing the starting age of characters in a series of Bildungsroman
Choosing your story’s setting
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
Cognitive development and your characters
Condensed writing tips

Dealing with life expectancy in historical fiction
Dealing with marriage age in historical fiction
The dearth of current historical YA is really getting to me
Disease and historical fiction, Part I
Disease and historical fiction, Part II
Disease and historical fiction, Part III
Disease and historical fiction, Part IV
Disease and historical fiction, Part V
Disease and historical fiction, Part VI
Don’t write what you can’t understand, respect, appreciate, or like
Dos and don’ts of incorporating real life into your stories

Edgy and realistic≠as over the top as possible
Edgy vs. satirical vs. age-inappropriate
The ethics of splitting up a long book

Feature and Follow Friday: How I write reviews

Historical fiction and body hair
Housing and characters should complement one another
How I do research for my Shoah historical fiction
How I figured out my writing doesn’t constitute YA
How long should a series be?
How not to write historical
How not to write historical, Part II
How not to write third-person omniscient
How to handle explanatory backstory
How to handle wraparound narrative segments
How to plausibly weave major events into hist-fic
How to salvage an old idea or manuscript
How to tackle a radical rewrite and restructuring
How to use real estate ads for research
How to write a left-handed character
How to write an Eastern Orthodox character
How writing is like artwork

Ideas for an original WWII book
The importance of a glossary (and other supplemental material) for historical and multicultural books
The importance of stylistic consistency
An important lesson from my history with Quadrophenia
An important turning-point in my writing of antagonists
In defence of contemporary historical fiction

Killing my non-darlings
Know the age you’re writing about

Language policing in your writing
Learning from shelved manuscripts and old rough drafts
Learning how not to write from editing older drafts
Leaving the past in the past
Lessons learnt from an attempted dual timeline story
Lessons learnt from an old unfinished play
Lessons learnt from my third official NaNo
Lessons learnt from post-publication polishing, Part I
Lessons learnt from post-publication polishing, Part II
Lessons learnt from post-publication polishing, Part III
Lessons learnt from post-publication polishing, Part IV
Lessons learnt from post-publication polishing, Part V
Lessons learnt from shelving an old series
Lessons learnt from Version 1.0 of a rough draft
Letting Go Bloghop (The experience of a total rewrite)

Make your characters anti-ciphers!
More reasons to avoid cipher characters and storylines
Multiple births in your writing
My relationship with first-person narration
My thoughts on NaNo overachieving
My thoughts on writing what you know

The need for radical gut renovation
No story element is ever set in stone!
Not every story needs to be universalist
NYC should not be a default setting

An omniscient narrator prevents a fragmented story
Owning up to past writing shortcomings

The perfect tense
The perils of extremes in critiquing
The perils of second-guessing
Picking a personalized font
POV and tense choices
The problem with a plethora of topical content
The problems of problem novels (and cookie-cutter fluff)

Quieter, character-driven books

Real historical fiction is about more than clothes, slang, and fads
Regionalisms in your writing
Reviewing old books and films with content which unsettles you
The right tense makes all the difference
The right way to be an all-knowing narrator

Show the historical setting, don’t tell us about it
So-called rules I’ve broken
Structure is essential
Suggestions for writing alternative history
Summing up my adolescent writing mistakes

Tackling another radical rewrite and restructuring
Third-person omniscient can be your friend
Types of autobiographical characters

Using food in your writing
Using foreign language for flavor

A very important lesson learnt about vetting sources

What makes a gimmick?
When should you change a character’s age?
When to spin off
Why I only create (various levels of) observant Jewish characters
Why I prefer telling to showing
Why I prefer third-person
Why I’m calling the introductory Atlantic City series as lower YA
Wish list of what I’d like to write
The word count police
Wordcount pruning tips!
Writers need backbones
Writing a hemophiliac character
Writing a pre-Vatican II or traditionalist Catholic character
Writing about 1940s hats
Writing about architectural styles
Writing about Birkat HaChamah
Writing about body modification, Part I
Writing about body modification, Part II
Writing about body modification, Part III
Writing about body modification, Part IV
Writing about body modification, Part V
Writing about ice-skating in historical fiction, Part I
Writing about ice-skating in historical fiction, Part II
Writing about ice-skating in historical fiction, Part III
Writing about the dark side of suburban history
Writing about the postwar exodus to suburbia
Writing about the post-WWII housing crisis in the U.S.
Writing about the Three Weeks, the Nine Days, and Tisha B’Av
Writing about types of homes
Writing about Victorian postmortem photos
Writing about the Vietnam draft lottery

Writing about vintage bathing suits
Writing about vintage candy (and other sweets)
Writing about vintage Judaica
Writing an arm amputee character
Writing potentially controversial content

Yes, I’m quite well aware that I write very long books!
You can’t just split up a deliberately long book
Your opinions and passions shouldn’t be forced into your books