Top 10 Writing Posts of 2016

Top 10 Writing Posts of 2016

Top 10 Writing Posts of 2016Did we really just wave goodbye to 2016 and enter that nebulous hinterland in which we frequently embarrass ourselves by putting the wrong year on our checks? Yep, looks like.

2016 was something of a landmark year for me. On a personal level, my life has changed in many ways I wasn’t expecting, and I feel I leave it much richer for the lessons it’s taught me.

Some of my more specific highlights included:

  • A third 101 Best Websites for Writers mention from Writer’s Digest
  • All kinds of exciting awards for my historical/dieselpunk novel Storming:
    –Lyra Grand Prize Winner
    –NIEA Winner
    –IPPY Silver Medal Winner
    –Grace Award Winner
    –BRAG Medallion Winner
    –Best Book Awards Finalist
    –IndieFab Book of the Year Finalist
    –Realm Award Semi-Finalist
  • Release of my seventh writing how-to book Creating Character Arcs
  • Release of the accompanying online course Mastering Character Arcs
  • Several webinars for Writer’s Digest University, including the new “3 Missing Pieces of Stunning Story Structure” and one for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Online Conference.
  • Launch of my exclusive Wordplayers and Super Readers groups for fans of my writing how-to and fiction, respectively
  • First and second-round edits on my historical superhero work-in-progress Wayfarer
  • Outline for my portal fantasy sequel Dreambreaker

And on a purely personal level, I enjoyed visiting Alaska on a cruise of the Inside Passage this August:

KM Weiland in Seattle

Leaving port from Seattle (see the Space Needle?).

If I’ve learned just one important lesson this year it’s that I need to slow down and smell the roses (or, you know, the book pages—whatever floats your boat), to rediscover life at a slightly slower pace. My goals for this year are more modest than usual: finish Dreambreaker‘s outline, start (and maybe finish) the first draft, release the Outlining Your Novel Workbook computer application(!), release the audio book version of Creating Character Arcs, and publish the Creating Character Arcs Workbook you all have been asking me for. And I’d also like to see if I can make camping in Wyoming and remodeling my basement happen. Fingers crossed.

My Top Writing Posts of 2016

But first, let’s take one last look back at the closing year with this list of my top writing posts of 2016—just in case you missed them the first time around!

1. How to Write the Perfect Plot (in 2 Easy Steps)

2. 8 Necessary Tips for How to Write Child Characters

3. How to Plot a Book: Start With the Antagonist

4. 5 Important Ways Storytelling Is Different in Books vs. Movies

5. The 4 Tweaks to Writing Truly Original Stories and Characters

6. A Surefire Way to Raise the Stakes in Your Story

7. Start Your Outline With These 4 Questions

8. One Major Pitfall of Writing Strong Characters

9. 5 Secrets of Complex Supporting Characters

10. Everything You Need to Know About Writing a 3rd-Person POV

My personal favorite post this year: 5 Reasons Writing Is Important to the World

My top new series this year:

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What was your biggest writing breakthrough in 2016? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. My favorite has definitely been all of the Marvel posts. Have you written one for Dr. Strange yet?

  2. For me, the biggest writing breakthrough was actually getting my writing back on track by the end of the year. I got two short stories finished (both over 7500 words), and I’ve now got a WIP that’s going quite steadily, as well as other writing projects to work on when I’m finished. It took me several years but I think I’ve finally got my writing going again. 😀

  3. Sounds like you had a great year despite personal struggles. Storming is an award winning machine!

    Unfortunately I missed some of your wonderful posts due to struggles of my own. Can’t say that I had a writing break through per se, but I’ve learned a lot thus far. My highlight would be learning more about character arcs!! I still need to complete the arc course though.

    2017 will be even better, but not in terms of productivity. You’d be hard pressed to surpass 2016’s achievements running at breakneck pace. But then again, going digital this year just might do it.

  4. Ms. Albina says

    As for me I am writing about Pearlyn, Jewel’s middle daughter and also revising Pearls of Avanaria which is the title of the book which I hope to be published by my special day in May.

    I like writing stories about Merfolk or merpeople. In my writing I always have a female main character.

    Only the royal females have visions passed down from generation to generation. My merfolk live to be 1,000 years old and if they are grated immortally by creator goddess then they live longer.

    K.M. Do you all ways put the age of our main character in your book like if the character was seventeen and so on? Do you had year for time or a fortnight? Can I only use some of your character interview questions since there is no movies on Avanaria and very no techology which means no computers at all.

    So they use a quill, ink, and parchment paper.

    Pearlyn is 104 years old which is equivenlent to earths 14 years old.

    Merfolk age different on planet Avanaria where Jewel, Pearlyn, and Leilani live.

    I am going to write more today.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Feel free to use only the interview questions that make sense for your character or story. No need to include the character’s actual age, as long as readers have the proper sense of the general age.

      • Ms. Albina says

        Okay, I will not put their actual age.

        Do you have any merfolk or are going to put merfolk in your books?

        Do all the characters need a truma?

        Off to turning ideas for Pearlyn’s story who becomes Leilani’s mother.

        Most of my characters of the merfolk have three children.

        How many children does your characters have or is that not improtant?

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          No plans to write about mermaids, but you never know. 😉

          The ghost/trauma in the character’s past is an important driving force for both the character’s motivation and Lie. However, it doesn’t always have to be spelled out. What’s important is that there is a reason for both.

          A character’s children are only necessary if they’re important to characterization or moving the plot.

          • Ms. Albina says


            I will do that. My writing is young adult for my book and the other story I am working on.

            I have healers or shamans but they are not called shamans.

            I am curtainly resiving descriptions of my characters-hair, eye color, and so on.

            Example: The middle-aged king and queen both had raven hair with silver streaks and turquoise eyes.She had a turquoise and amethyst mer-tail, and her father, the king, had a dark turquoise mer-tail. Jewel’s mother and father have bronze skin.

            . Marin and Merrow both had raven and indigo-streaked hair and wore seashell crowns. She and her husband Merrow had bronze skin and slender indigo mer-tails.

            Is this boring?

            How do you write your character descriptions more lively?

            Would you rather for me put Mer-tail to fishtail?

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Creating “lively” descriptions ultimately comes down to honing your narrative voice. Here’s a post on that: 6 Steps to Create a Fantastic Narrative Voice.

          • Ms. Albina says

            The story is in third person. Speaking is in first person. Jewel in the teenage mermaid princess who is 105 and her family is older than her except for her sister.
            In pearl Lyn story jewel is the queen and so on. each clan member of the merfolk have different colored hair, eyes, skin color and mer tail or fishtail . It has seven chapters and eight for P.

          • Ms. Albina says

            Jewel is a mermaid princess, she can be caring, loving, but she does not have a fear for being married to right does not want to since is not ready in the beginning toward the end she does marry Kai and two years later so she is excepting her first child which will be a daughter then she has two more. Then she becomes queen Jewel of the Mera clan and her husband Kai becomes the king.

            The antagonist or villain will make his appearence in Pearlyn’s story.

            Before Ruben became evil he was good then he turned to the dark side and his body and mind changed and also was transformed into a sea deity that was evil beside also having the power to shape shift.

            He wants to find the descendant of the person who gave his parents the bird who made them sick with the yellow death and destory that person.

            When Leilani, Jewel’s granddaughter comes into being their is a prophecy about her -A mermaid will be born and become immortal to help stop Ruben, the evil sea deity, without destroying him or harm anyone else.

            Leilani will become immortal but needs to become worthy of this. She does become immortal by Maia the creator goddess.

            So right now I am doing ideas for Pearlyn’s story who becomes Leilani’s mother.

            Pearlyn does have black or raven hair and also has turquoise streaks in her hair which is long and curly. She does have indigo eyes.

  5. Kate Johnston says

    Congrats on such a great, successful year! I stumbled upon your blog in the last month or thereabouts, so I missed many of those posts you highlighted–although I have been enjoying sweeping through the character arc series. That has really helped me put two and two together.

    I’d say my biggest writing breakthrough in 2016 was to discover my book shouldn’t be upper-age MG but rather lower-age YA, based on some sensitive story threads and an overly mature protag. This discovery hopefully explains the requests for partials but ultimate rejections from literary agents. So I’m facing another rewrite, but I’m happy to finally pinpoint a specific reason why my book kept getting turned down. (Of course, there could be other reasons, but this one I know about so I’m starting there.) It’s maddening when we only get form letters to reject us without specific reasons. I have no qualms rewriting–as long as I have a general idea what I did wrong! 🙂

    I have never written YA, so this will be my big learning experience for 2017!

    Thank you for taking so much care and time with your information to help us writers become authors! 😉 I read A LOT of blogs on the craft of writing, and this one is quickly becoming my favorite.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s great! Honestly, cracking the genre code is half the battle of successfully querying and marketing. All the best in 2017!

  6. Andrewiswriting says

    The biggest was, of course, publishing Abraham Frost – The Cup of Jamshid in November. That was the culmination of two years of work (and learning along the way), and another two years of planning the series.

    Apart from that, I feel as though a lot of things have clicked into place for me as a writer over the last year. The book’s getting great reviews and I’m a few chapters into writing The Tyrant of Arcadia, which I’ll bring out in September of this year.

    It seems like it’s all coming up Millhouse at the moment!

    Many thanks as always for the quality coaching along the way ?

  7. I wonder what your favorite comments on those posts are.

  8. Congrats on the many amazing things 2016 brought to you! 🙂

    2016 was my breakthrough year, when I published my Roman Soul Series on Amazon. At the beginning of the year I wasn’t sure I’d accomplish anything – now I have 3 books and am employed as a ghostwriter!

  9. J.M Barlow says

    Katie, that “5 Reason Writing is Important to the World” article sure did smack me across the face a number. I honestly have to thank you again for posting it. I was pretty down in the dumps around the time I read that, I tell ya. It really does go to show that the right words in the right place at the right time can really pick someone up, dust them off, pat them one on the backside and applaud them as they stagger off on their own strength. I hope the words I lay down will pick someone up off the ground that way somewhere down the line…

    Hats off to you, KMW, a true warrior of words.

    – JMB

  10. I finished two first drafts, so my focus (at least at the beginning of this year) is on revising them and getting them published.

    I am really looking forward to the outlining app! It seems like the more I write, the more outlining I do. Your outlining book, which I read in the spring, was one of the first steps in getting me to turn my writing into a habit (as in every day) this past year. Finding a good in-person critique group and starting to participate in the Twitter #WritingChallenge were other big steps.

    Thanks for all your wonderful posts and books!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Kudos to you for two finished drafts! That’s awesome. That’s the hardest part (if not always the longest part) done.

  11. Wow, you still write checks? In 2017? That’s amazing!

  12. Congrats on a great year of many accomplishments!
    I wish I could slay I’m slowing down but honestly I think this year I’ll be ramping things up. Or maybe just doing the same amount but with more focus. We’ll see, either way it’ll be exciting.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thank you! There’s a time and a place for everything. Some years are “movement” years, others are “reflection” years. We need them both.

  13. I’m so proud of you!

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