#5OnFri: Most Impactful DIY MFA Articles of 2014

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Community

We’ve had an incredible year here at DIY MFA, with a lot on the horizon for 2015. We’ve expanded our team to include five new columnists and a podcast producer. We introduced DIY MFA radio and saw it jump to the top of the iTunes Arts section. We hosted a writing challenge and virtual writing retreat with over 550 participants. Most importantly, this past year, my team and I opened the doors to our very first DIY MFA course. And then, just when I was ready to cap off the year and call it a success, I signed my first book deal. DIY MFA is going to be a book!

One of the most important parts of DIY MFA has always been the community aspect of it. DIY MFA is all about writers helping other writers, connecting with other writers, and learning from each other. One of the ways we’ve tried to cultivate that here is by consistently posting articles that are helpful for you–the DIY MFA community. Whether these have been from esteemed guests or DIY MFA team members, these are five posts that made the biggest impact on our community in 2014. If you haven’t read them yet, check out the links below.

And for even more “oldies but goodies” check out the links listed in our writing, reading and community resources pages.

The Top Five Articles on DIY MFA in 2014

4-9-575x431Ask Becca: How Not to Develop Characters 101

By: Becca Jordan

Becca’s columns are always hilarious and chock-full of good advice and helpful links. In this article, Becca answers the question–how do you develop fully rounded characters and show how they change? And she does it with helpful examples from some of her own old writing that will probably . . . eh hem . . . never see the light of day. If you didn’t hear about it, this article went viral earlier this year, with over 400 shares on Tumblr alone. Clearly it’s a topic that resonated with many writers, and Becca hit the nail right on the head.

Becca is an MFA student at California Institute of Arts, and has had her work published in numerous literary magazines. Check out her website right here.

42-575x431Are You Writing the Right Story?

By Janice Hardy

We were so excited to host author Janice Hardy, who wrote this insightful article about finding the right story to tell. Using examples from her own writing life, and inviting you to examine yours, Janice offers six questions to ask yourself to determine if the kind of story you’re writing is actually the best fit–and how to find what really works.

Janice Hardy is the author of The Healing Wars trilogy as well as Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure. Check out her website–Fiction University for more from this wonderful writer!

4-575x431Redefining Teen Romance: On Writing Sex, Love and Emotions

By: Wendy Lu

Wendy Lu attended the New York Teen Author festival, and wrote a recap about a panel discussing sex, love and romance in teen books. The panel included Rainbow Rowell, Stephen Chbosky, David Levithan, Lauren Myracle and Gayle Forman. Check out what these powerhouse authors had to say about first love, sex and writing well-rounded characters.

A graduate of UNC’s journalism program, Wendy Lu writes the New Spin column at DIY MFA. Check out her website right here!

4-8-575x431Stay Motivated: 8 Writing Tools to Keep the Words Flowing

By: Angela Ackerman

This is a fantastic list of resources for a problem every writer will encounter at some point in his or her writing journey: a lack of motivation. It’s very easy to say “butt-in-chair,” but in practice it can be hard to sit down and write even when you carve out the time. This article lists eight tools designed to help writers when the words just aren’t flowing.

Angela Ackerman is a writing coach and the co-author of several books on writing, including The Emotions Thesaurus. Check out her website–Writers Helping Writers–for more from this wonderful writer!

44-575x431Four Methods for Outlining Your Book

By: Bess Cozby

This is the fourth in a series of articles our Web Editor, Bess Cozby wrote on the art of outlining for plotters and pantsers alike. In this article, she discusses four different methods for creating a working outline. Check it out–you may find one that works just right for you! Bess and I will be giving a talk together on outlines at CAPA-U (writing conference) in May, 2015.

In addition to working as an editorial assistant at Tor Books, Bess Cozby is DIY MFA’s Web Editor, and oversees all the articles and columnists. Do you have an idea for an article? Shoot her an email! We’re always on the lookout for new voices!

So there you have it. The five most impactful articles on DIY MFA in 2014. We’re so looking forward to more in 2015!

Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

Bonus: Don’t miss Melinda VanLone’s awesome series called The Amateur’s Guide to a Professional Book Package where she explains the process of developing a book’s cover and overall design. Super-post that recaps this series is here

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