We’ve already shared our staff’s favorite posts of the year. But what which articles were our readers’ favorites? We took a dive into our site metrics to find which 10 articles were the biggest hits with our audience this year. (Note: We limited our research to articles published to our site in 2019, though the articles may have appeared in a non-2019 print issue.)
10. “Seven steps to a stronger story” by Gabriela Pereira
“Some people think a story is nothing more than plot: one thing happens, then another, and another. Others believe a story centers around character and that the plot is insignificant. This plot-versus-character debate is nothing new, and both sides are both right…and wrong. A man sitting alone with nothing but his thoughts is not a story; it’s a character study. Similarly, a series of events with no character to anchor them is nothing more than a newsreel.” In this hands-on craft article, Gabriela Pereira breaks down her seven-step process for finding the perfect balance between plot and character.
9. “Beyond the backdrop: Mastering setting in fiction” by Sarah Van Arsdale
“It isn’t enough to simply decide on the setting and airlift the characters from the writer’s imagination to Arizona, Paris, or a ship at sea. The choice of setting – both time and place – will inform everything that happens in the story. And by fully describing the setting, the story builds a foundation that proves integral to the plot; this foundation helps to form the characters,” writes Sarah Van Arsdale in this masterclass on building fictional settings that successfully shape narratives.
8. “Thirty-four tech products to revolutionize your writing” by K.L. Romo
Although some of you still swear by pen and paper or your beloved typewriter – for those who prefer more choices and flexibility, there is a wealth of software available that improves efficiency, facilitates organization, helps with story and development, and lets a writer tailor her process to her own tastes,” says K. L. Romo in this handy list of apps, programs, and other tech products designed with the writer in mind.
7. “Here are the books that writers should have on their summer reading list” by Jack Smith
“ If you want to be successful in an extremely competitive market, you need to read the best in your genre; these great works will inform your own. We asked five seasoned novelists to name their important authorial influences, the greatest novelists who have made a difference in their writing and in their writing life,” begins Jack Smith’s roundup of authors and their recommended reading selections.
6. “How to write (and sell) romance” by Kerrie Flanagan
“Romance continues to be one of the hottest-selling markets in publishing, bringing in over a billion dollars in sales each year. Yet despite being such a popular genre, there’s still this stigma that romance storylines are basic and formulaic, making them easy to write. But good romance novels go beyond following a simple “boy meets girl” formula. By understanding the genre, the language of romance books, and the publishing options available, you will have the tools and knowledge to write a love story of your own,” promises romance author Kerrie Flanagan in this popular how-to guide to the world of happily ever afters.