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Writing Advice Blog from SceneOne.app

Find tips and resources on learning to write and improving your craft, as well as news about this writing app!

By Brad Dehnert

The fantasy book genre is a type of fiction that often involves magical or supernatural elements and takes place in a fantastical world or in the real world with added fantasy elements. Fantasy stories often have elements of adventure, romance, and mythology and may include mythical creatures, mythical lands, or magical powers. The genre allows for a wide range of storytelling styles and can include subgenres such as epic fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, and sword and sorcery. Some well-known examples of fantasy books include "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien, "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling, and "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis.

Below is a long list of fantasy subgenres that people write novels in. And if you're interested in other book genres, you'll like our article on popular book genres.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-12-04 -
By Brad Dehnert

Science fiction is a genre of fiction that explores the possibilities of science and technology and their potential impact on society and the individual. Science fiction stories often take place in the future or in alternate realities, and may include elements of space travel, time travel, alien life forms, and advanced technology. Science fiction often examines the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, as well as the social and cultural implications of these advances. The genre also often explores themes of humanity, society, and the future. Examples of science fiction books include "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley, "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, and "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells.

In our article on popular book genres, we discuss the importance of choosing the genre you're writing in. Below you'll find our extensive list of science fiction book genres along with examples and a brief description of each.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-12-04 -
By Brad Dehnert

The romance genre is a subject that focuses on the relationship and emotional connection between two people, and often include elements of love, passion, and attraction. Romance books can have any setting, with popular books in the genre being set (or even written) far in the past (such as "Price and Prejudice" by Jane Austin), they could be more contemporary (such as "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks), and can even contain fantastical elements such as the super-popular "Twilight" series by Stephanie Meyer.

We discuss in our article on book genres the importance of choosing the genre you're writing in, and this goes double for the sub-genre! Here we've listed an extensive list of romance sub-genres, many of which come from Amazon's list of featured romance categories. Each one has its own audience with their own expectations, so be sure to look through them and find the best home for your romance novel.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-12-03 -
By Brad Dehnert

Book genres are categories of stories that share similar characteristics and themes. Romance stories, for example, tend to focus on relationships. Science fiction, on the other hand, often revolve around changes to or the use of technology. Many genres will have similarities and overlap - and some are even regularly mashed-up - but each genre has its own unique components and requirements.

Here we'll list the high-level books genres as well as examples!

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-12-03 -
By Brad Dehnert

It's fair to say that we want readers to like our characters, although 'like' can mean a few different things. For instance, Jake Gyllenhaal's character in "Nightcrawler", Lou, is incredibly repulsive as a person, and yet we still want to follow his story (i.e., we 'like' Lou in a certain way). Frodo, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the likeability spectrum. Most characters are somewhere in the middle, though, where they're ultimately good people (and people working on "our side"), yet they have abrasive personalities that would stop us from wanting to get a beer with them after work. Or maybe they're great people, but are constantly screwing up the big presentation others are working so hard on.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-12-01 -
By Jill Steves

All Save the Cat! book covers by Blake Snyder

If you've spent any time studying how to write novels or screenplays, you've no-doubt heard the term 'save the cat'. This is a term coined by screenwriter Blake Snyder to describe a way of getting the audience to like and identify with a story's character, even if that character isn't the most affable of people. Ususally this means a scene in a book or movie where the character does something heroic or altruistic (such as, you know, save a cat), which will make the audience thing, "Aww, what a great guy!" (And, of course, the examples don't have to be quite that literal!)

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-11-07 - stc, save the cat, blake snyder, jessica brody
By Jill Steves

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody

In its quest to delve deeper into the mechanics of story structure and development, the Save the Cat! system goes beyond the regular genres of sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and the like! In fact, Blake Snyder and Jessica Brody created ten new story genres for us to write our stories and screenplays in, but they might not be quite what you think.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-11-07 - stc, save the cat, genre,
By Jill Steves

The Point of View (or POV) of a story, in essence, describes who is telling your story. Another way to phrase this is to ask, who is the narrator? For many fiction books (such as The Expanse series or Harry Potter series), there is a disembodied god that sits high above and describes what all the characters below are feeling and doing and saying: Bob wok up with his alarm and smelled coffee. This is a Third Person Point of View. Sometimes it's one of the characters (often the main character) describing what everyone is doing: I woke up and smelled coffee. This is called First Person Point of View. There is even an elusive Second Person POV!

Here we'll discuss the different types in detail, some sub-categories, and why you might choose one over the others.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-09-26 - how to write a book,writing guide,your first story
By Brad Dehnert

Ever wonder how Dan Harmon (the creator of Community and Rick and Morty) writes an episode of Rick and Morty? It all starts with an eight-step story breakdown – often called a beat sheet – widely known as “Dan Harmon’s Story Circle”. It’s the tool he uses to, “Remove all the hard and repeated work from the task of breaking a story.”

Diagram of Dan Harmon's Story Circle beat sheet
Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-09-03 - Community, Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon, Learn to write
By Jill Steves

While all (most?) of us stick to writing our manuscripts month after month because it's a labour of love, it'd still be nice to get paid a little something at the end! But how exactly does a publisher or literary magazines pay their authors? Is a debut writer paid (and rich!) before their first book even arrives in stores? Read on to learn more about author compensation for both novels and literary magazines.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-08-23 - how to write a book,writing guide,your first story
By Brad Dehnert

Writing a book is one of the most satisfying things we can do, no matter if it's a novel, memoir, short story, or poem. It doesn't even matter if it's good or bad! Once you've written your book, no-one can take that away from you, and you can boast about it at dinner parties forever!

But how on God's green Earth do you actually write your first book?

It's both simpler (and maybe harder?) than you might think, but I'm going to break it down for you here.

Military sci-fi character on Dune like planet
Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-08-15 - how to write a book,writing guide,your first story
By Jill Steves

The best new book writing software of 2023

The book writing software that we choose to use often comes down to personal preferences, and to the apps that we've used for a while (hence why some crazy people are perfectly happy writing their stories in Google Docs!). It's arguable that most writing apps have very similar feature sets, so how can one stand out as the best?

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-07-10 - best book writing software, best story writing app, story path, book planning software,
By Brad Dehnert

How long is the average book or short story?

No doubt you're wondering how long a short story or novella should be because you have to write one, or you're wondering if you have enough room to flesh out that fantasy epic that's been growing in your head. There are a few general rules of thumb for the word count lengths of short stories, novellas and novelettes (which we'll give you up front so that you aren't forced to read this entire post!), but with the ol' trusty novel the word length usually comes down to genre.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-07-09 - book length, word count, short story length, novella word count,
By Brad Dehnert

Why you need book writing software and apps

"Don't you just use Word or Google Docs?" is what all my non-writer friends ask me. And, to be fair, they are both great word processors - and might even be great if you're only writing a short story - but neither of them cuts it when it comes to writing a full-length novel of over 100,000 words. That's where specialised book writing software like SceneOne.app comes in.

Posted in Learn SceneOne.app on 2022-06-30 - book writing software and apps, novel writing software apps, MS Word, Google Docs, GDocs, apps, software, writing apps software
By Brad Dehnert

10-stop quick-start guide to planning your story

There are a number of plot structures and beat sheets out there, but most of these require you to already have some pretty detailed knowledge about your story and its characters. But where do you start before that? This 10-step quick-start guide will get your creative energies flowing and kick-start the writing process!

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-06-08 - story structure,planning,plotting,plotter,pantser
By Jill Steves

Example of a memorable dialogue

If you're a pantser (i.e., you write by the seat of your pants and don't plan), you might not start plotting your novel until you're already a few chapters in. On the other hand, if you're a plotter (someone who pre-defines a detailed plot), you might start mapping out your story before you even start writing. So when should you start plotting your novel?

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-06-07 - story structure,planning,plotting,plotter,pantser,writing apps,writing software
By Jill Steves

Example of a memorable dialogue

Dialogue is a key element in making a story engaging and believable. It allows readers to connect with the characters and understand their motivations, and it can even help set a scene (a cockney accent or southern drawl will immediately tell you where a character is from). So here are five tips on how to create believable dialogue.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-06-03 - dialogue, believable dialogue,story writing software and apps
By Jill Steves

Example of a memorable character

While people enjoy plots, they love characters. And they will return to your book – or series – again and again if they lover the characters. So, here are five tips to help you create characters that your readers will never forget.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2022-06-03 - characters,character development,memorable characters,book writing app
By Jill Steves

The Hero's Journey is a story structure that is found in many stories and myths from around the world. It is also known as the monomyth or the hero's archetype. The Hero's Journey typically follows a certain broad pattern:

  1. The hero is called to adventure
  2. The hero faces various challenges and overcomes them
  3. The hero is transformed by the experience
  4. The hero returns home changed
Posted in Learn to Write on 2021-08-22 - hero's journey,monomyth,dan harmon, story circle,structure,community,rick and morty,
By Jill Steves

Third person point of view is a popular choice for writers for many reasons. It allows the reader to feel more removed from the story, and it can be less emotionally taxing for the writer. Third person point of view also allows for more flexibility in terms of storytelling, as the writer is not limited by their own thoughts and feelings, and the omniscient narrator will have access to more information than many of the characters. In this article we'll talk about exactly what third person POV is, and when to choose it for your books.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2021-03-28 - third person, point of view, pov,
By Jill Steves

Macs and various other Apple products are super-popular with with creative types, which is a big reason that the more well-known book-writing apps tend to focus more on their Mac versions than, say, Windows. That doesn't mean they're the best, though, or that they best suit your needs as an author.

So here we're going to discuss why Scene One is the alternative software you need when writing your next book!

Posted in Learn to Write on 2021-03-28 - scriviner,ulysses,novlr, mac,osx,apple
By Jill Steves

When you pick up a book, often the thing you'll immediately notice is its point of view. First person point of view is when the story is narrated by one of the characters in the story, and is often used in novels, short stories, and memoirs. (It's uncommon for auto-biographies to be written in anything but first person POV.) Writing in first person point of view can be a great way to connect with your readers and give them a more intimate look at your characters and their inner workings. But it's not always the right choice for every story. With that in mind, we'll take a closer look at first person point of view and how to know if it's right for your story.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2021-03-27 - first person, point of view, pov,
By Jill Steves

Even though Linux is one of the most popular operating systems on the planet and has a very (very!) dedicated userbase, it - ironically - also gets forgotten about for big-name software. Unfortunately, that isn't any different for creative writers and authors. The popular book writing software like Scriviner and Ulysses aren't available on Linux, and most likely never will. But, here's what you can do about finding book writing software that you can use on Linux!

Posted in Learn to Write on 2021-03-27 - scriviner,ulysses,novlr, linux,
By Brad Dehnert

There is some debate as to whether or not writer's block actually exists, but we can't deny that, sometimes, when we actually get our butts in front of a keyboard the words just don't come out. Call it what you will, it's a real problem that strikes us on occasion, but we have the solution!

StoryPath.app Story Path plot threads for a story

Posted in Learn to Write on 2020-12-07 - writer's block, beating writer's block, story path,book writing software, book writing apps, story apps
By Jill Steves

Microsoft Word doesn't need any introduction. We've all used it at either work or school or the local library, and we're all familiar with its features for creating literal word documents. But does that make Microsoft Word good for writing books?

Posted in Learn to Write on 2020-12-06 - microsoft word,
By Brad Dehnert

Sometimes, when we struggle to get our words onto the page, it's because of writer's block. Other times, though, it's just as simple as not finding enough time to sit at the keyboard. Here are a few suggestions that will help with that!

Posted in Learn to Write on 2020-12-04 -
By Jill Steves

Google Docs is one of the most-used word processing programs on the planet, and is free for anyone with a (once again, free) Google account. So it'd be a pretty natural thing to wonder if you can write a book or novel using Google Docs. Here we'll answer that question for you.

Posted in Learn to Write on 2020-12-04 - google docs,
By Brad Dehnert

'Save the cat' is a phrase coined by the screen writer Blake Snyder in his series of books on writing and story structure called "Save the Cat!", and has been used in several other books including the novel-specific Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. One of the big things to come out of Blake's writing courses (apart from the ten Save the Cat! genres) is his Save the Cat! 15-point Beat Sheet which helps writers to develop their stories and makes sure they hit every moment needed to make it feel complete.

Many writers (both experienced and up-and-coming) use this beat sheet as a starting-point for their stories, and we've now released a tool on Scene One to help you create and manage these beat sheets for your projects. This blog post will explain how to use it.

Posted in Learn SceneOne.app on 2020-10-18 - save the cat, beat sheet, blake snyder, jessica brody, planning
By Brad Dehnert

Thinking about writing a sequel to your novel or screenplay? Of course you are! Don't we all plan trilogies where the last part can be split into two movies?

Posted in Learn to Write on 2020-06-02 - sequels, how to write, tropes, youtube, Batman, Star Wars