Every month [more or less] we introduce you to a different writer-oriented website. These are sites with which one or more of our team members has had positive experiences. We hope you'll check them out and let us know what you think!
This month on OA Recommends, let's learn more about Helping Writers Become Authors!
1- What is the origin story or history of Helping Writers Become Authors?I started my blog mostly just as a way to share the journey—more as a conversation than a teaching tool, per se. Over the years, it grew into its own thing, and as I learned more and more in my own journey as a writer, I became more and more passionate about sharing it with others. Particularly after my first writing book, Outlining Your Novel, came out, I felt I had something to say that would help other writers overcome some of the same challenges and puzzles I was facing in my own writing.
2- What are some of the biggest changes that Helping Writers Become Authors has experienced over the years and have your original site goals changed?
It actually started as a book-review blog. I think I called it K.M. Weiland’s Bookshelf or something like that. Then I changed it into a discussion of writing, under the name Wordplay. Other than that, I’d say the main changes have had to do with the focus of the material. The site has always been about writing tips, but as time has gone on and I’ve become more and more interested in deep-diving with story theory, plot, structure, and character arcs, the posts have grown to reflect that.
3- Are there any big events or exciting news coming up for Helping Writers Become Authors in 2022?
My main project for 2022 is publishing a book based on this year’s blog series about archetypal character arcs. The series is centered around six transformational character arcs forming what I call the “life arcs,” which can be seen as important developmental challenges in the human life cycle. Within this context, I see the popular Hero’s Journey as the second of six progressive arcs. I’ve had a blast sharing my research and theories about archetypes on the blog, and I’m excited about compiling it all into a book next year.
4- How often do you have a new post on your site and is there a schedule for certain posts on certain days?
These days, I post weekly, on Mondays. Every post has an accompanying podcast with the same information, for those who prefer to listen rather than read.
5- How do you choose which topics to write about?
More and more, I write in response to reader requests or questions. But most of my posts are still very personal, based on my own thoughts, questions, and discoveries in my own writing journey.
6- Tell us about the different craft books you offer.
Outlining Your Novel is about brainstorming and organizing ideas. It covers broader story principles like discovering your characters and setting and figuring out your plot.
Structuring Your Novel is about the nitty-gritty of story, scene, and sentence structure.
Creating Character Arcs is about using structure to harmonize character, plot, and theme into a seamless and powerful narrative.
Writing Your Story’s Theme is about using plot structure and character arcs to realize a cohesive and resonant theme.
I recommend reading them in the order they were published: outlining, then structuring, then character arcs, then theme. They build right into each other. However, if you're only going to read one, I recommend Creating Character Arcs. It's more important than outlining and includes basic info on structuring and theme.
7- In your experience, which is the craft topic that most writers have the most difficulty with? Why do you think that's the most difficult topic?
In the past, I would have said story structure, but these days I feel there is so much information out there about structure that most writers either are educated on the subject or will easily find the answers to their questions about it. So I’m going to go with theme. It’s such an abstract topic, but it’s so integral to solid storytelling. This is something I discussed in my most recent book Writing Your Story’s Theme, which I mentioned above, because I feel there are so many solid and practicable ways to approach creating and workshopping theme in your stories.
8- Tell us about your Story Structure Database.
I created the Story Structure Database as a resource where writers (including myself) could go to easily reference the major story beats (or lack thereof) in popular books and movies. I don’t update the Database too often anymore, but there are currently hundreds of easily searchable stories available.
My main focus is story theory. I enjoy breaking down the overall patterns found in stories and trying to figure out what makes them work. If you’re into taking things apart and putting them back together, utilizing intuition and logic, as a way to write tighter, more powerful stories, then you might have as much fun with it as I do! :)
10- Would you please list the links and ways people can find Helping Writers Become Authors: website, blog, social media.
The site: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the award-winning and internationally-published author of Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, Creating Character Arcs, and Writing Your Story’s Theme. She writes historical and speculative fiction and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.