Neil Gaiman’s 8 Good Writing Practices:

“Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” 

Neil Gaiman

This is an especially tough one because it’s easy to get bogged down in the middle of a story, start a new and exciting project, and then leave the old one undone.

I love number 8:

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (that may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

Neil Gaiman

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling:

I love Pixar’s tips! Their stories are always so fantastic, and these tips are great for aspiring writers.

#5: Simplify; I love simplifying my work because I tend to make it too complicated in the beginning. I definitely combine characters often.

#7 Endings are really hard. I’m still uncertain about the ending of the novel I’ve been working on for 6 years/

#9 This is great advice for throwing in something unexpected!

#12 This is how we learned to brainstorm in my Destination Imagination club. We would throw out ideas and write each one down, but we’d force ourselves to keep going for a long time to come up with more creative, less obvious plans.

#17 is the reason I have a giant Word file on my computer labelled “Archived Scraps” that hasn’t been opened in years.

#20 I’m a big proponent of writing what you want to read. The first entry in my first writer’s journal is a list of things that I like to read about or find in stories like “Time travel, dreams, secret sanctums, witty banter, goofy friends, superpowers, sacrifice, sword fights, and monologues.”

John Grisham’s Do’s and Don’ts for Popular Fiction:

Write every day—This is pretty good advice but hard to follow. I tend to believe that as long as you’re writing something, even if it’s a journal or blog and not your actual Work-in-Progress, you’ll get better at writing.

I don’t like his advice about a thesaurus. I think a thesaurus is a useful tool, as long as you don’t go digging for the most obscure words possible. But vocabulary should be varied and vivid, and using a thesaurus helps with that.


I also took some time with this story lab to set up my November writing project. I’m really excited about it, and one thing I’m trying to do with my writing this year is not keeping it to myself. I can be very protective of my work to the point of being secretive, and I don’t think that’s healthy for my writing or for my ability to deal with feedback. So here’s a novel aesthetic that I created with Canva! The (current) title of the novel is Compass Point.

Image 1: Open, blank journal. Source – Pixnio.

Image 2: Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. Source – Hello You Creatives

Image 3: Compass Point aesthetic. Source – Made on Canva.