Last summer I entered the Skylark Soaring Stories competition at the marvellous @WinWritersFest. Joanna Moult @SkylarkLit gave me a bucketload of insightful feedback and the last thing she said was “I think you’d love Twitter.”
Boy, do I love Twitter.
I’ve stumbled on some marvellous writey Twitter friends and picked up an MA’s worth of free writing advice. I discovered the big-hearted #Peerpitch team @ScribblersBlog, and through them @Writers_HQ – home of top notch writing advice and premier league swearing.
Before Twitter, I was plodding at the back of a cross-country run, wondering if I’d get out of the woods before dark. Twitter switched on a torch – and suddenly there were hundreds of other writers running beside me through the trees.
So to cheer us along the muddy path to wherever they’ve hidden the bloody finish line, the talented Peerpitch entrants have generously come up with their favourite handles and hashtags. #Peerpitch was the number one choice of course – here are the others:
@igotsaturnip says, “Easy peasy. John Adamus @awesome_john. He does tweet storms about writing, queries, etiquette with editors/agents etc.”
@markeccleston1: @KulvinderGill is a talented and supportive writer who regularly posts competition updates and opportunities.
@Scarlet_Noire thinks @savethecat is a good one for info on Blake Snyder’s beat sheet, whatever your genre.
@Anne_B_author and @Lydia_Massiah both rate the advice of @NaomiLHughes. Lydia recommends, “A great thread on 8th April about character driven stories and the need for agency… Top 3 big picture problems: 1. Lack of agency 2. Impersonal stakes 3. No character arc 4. (bonus) for Romance: no conflict. Her pinned tweet takes you to her very helpful Revision Checklist”.
@Anne_B_author also values the advice from @KatieDavisBurps and @joannechocolat.
@emmydee73: “There’s not much to top “Stop f**king about and start writing” to kick you up the ar5e, so thank you @Writers_HQ. And for those little gifts you didn’t know you’d always wanted, @Writers_Artists is a gem for a newbie like me”.
@ellielockx: “Shouty Writing Tips @Bang2Write – a tsunami of top notch advice from Lucy V Hay. She had me at ‘Sweary Jane Austen.’ @Danoosha is a generous and insightful writer.”
@JeannaLStars says, “This, from the brilliant @fictionalsarah is hands-down the best advice I’ve ever read: For me, character is king. No easy feat in 35 words but if you can make me care about your made-up human then I’m yours forever. I know pitching is the holy trinity of motivation/conflict/stakes, but if you don’t get the character right, I don’t think you can have the other three.”
@SWhitewriting says @writers_hq have great advice and regular affordable courses. Go to them and they shall teach you the ways of the force.
@Anne_B_author goes to agent @LZats for “her fab query tweets”.
@FinalysonPalmer recommends a host of great agents including @SkylarkLit @ChloeSeager @JuliaChurchill @AnneClarkLit @Lozwesty @albioneye.
@Lydia_Massiah finds following agents useful and likes Hannah Sheppard @YA_Books
@Scarlet_Noire values the amount of information you can pick up from agents – “not only can you find out who agents represent but more specific tastes in genre and even favourite biscuits”.
@SWhitewriting says definitely check out #MSWL to see agents preferences and wish lists. I follow too many ace agents on Twitter to name individually but do search them out and follow – they offer so much valuable bits of advice between their actual job of representing authors!
@FinlaysonPalmer hosts #ukteenchat, “a fantastic chat with lots of writers sharing their expertise. I’d also recommend #ukmgchat #ukyachat #SundayYA #kidlit. There are pitching opportunities at #PitchCB and #Darkpit”.
@Anne_B_Author adds #askagent #querytip #pubtip and #tentweets, and says they’re useful for finding other authors to follow.
@Orridge_Anna, @boybandmumager and @EllieFirestone1 all rate #ontheporch. Anna says, “It’s a lovely relaxed place to be on Twitter. Lots of potential critique partners and handy scheduled events.” Ellie adds, “Usually with a contest hashtag there’s a lot of people willing to help”.
@gailzhuang says, “I like getting advice from #absolutewrite forums. They have a lot of seasoned writers of all genres as well as literary agents and editors. Their advice for beginners like me is pretty solid.”
@Scarlet_Noire goes regularly to #YA #Horror #Thriller to find likeminded writers.
@MarisaNoelle likes #Tenqueries and #Revpit. “I learn a lot about what publishers and agents are looking for, the Revpit editors have been so friendly and helpful. #writerswise and #ukyachat are fab… and #storycrafter have some great exercises to help you get in the head of your characters… they all help extend your network and reach likeminded souls.”
@RebeccaNunn: “As a member of the Golden Egg Academy, I try to make the #geaqa at 7.30pm on a Monday. Imogen Cooper loves the egg-curious dropping in to @GEAcademy… I can’t recommend GEA highly enough.”
@boybandmumager likes #MSWL for “diverse trends and the weird and wonderful requests.” She also rates #amwriting #amediting #amagenting #authormentormatch #pitmad #revpit.
@SWhitewriting – #fridaynightstayinginclub for those of us past our partying years plus #ontheporch which is a developing community of really supportive writers all helping each other. Also check out #pitchwars #revpit #pitmad #pitchCB and of course #PeerPitch for comps/opportunities to pitch your work to agents or to revise and improve.
@RaynaReveur; “I would say contest hashtags like #Revpit and #Pitchwars were a big help. The mentors were all super nice and answered questions, and even if you don’t enter contests, those are a great way to find fellow writers.”
@Scarlet_Noire suggests @writeevent for regular contests.
@Anne_B_author says, “@NaNoWordSprints although I haven’t done NaNoWriMo and never do the sprints, their tweets are lovely and supporting”.
@FinlaysonPalmer goes to @Mslexia and @WritingMagazine for advice and writing opportunities.
@DebDrick: likes competitions with feedback. “I won #AnAgentsInbox and I got a ton of feedback and ended up with a full MS request. The other thing that has helped is giving feedback to peers. I might not notice a bad habit in my own writing but I will catch it in someone else’s… giving someone else a critique helps me as well.”
@SWhitewriting – again too many to name all, but check out the competitions tab at the top of the webpage to find out more.
@Scarlet_Noire thinks @noveliciouss is great for brightening your day with inspirational quotes
@emmydee73 says, “I rate anything that drops out of the blue with tips and words of encouragement. Number one on that list is other Twitterers, in the same boat, rowing frantically & sometimes dropping their oars!”
And when it all gets too much… @FinlaysonPalmer loves @LitRejections for inspiring pick-me-ups.
Good luck on your writerly run to the mystical finishing line. Here’s hoping the tea tent hasn’t been taken down by the time we get there.