Writing isn’t always word documents, spreadsheets, and copious amounts of sticky notes. Did you know that some authors utilize tarot cards to help them write? And that others use fight choreography to help them draft action scenes – and even sex scenes? And, of course, you have probably heard of authors writing with dictation – or, using voice-to-text software to write upwards of ten thousand words a day!

There are a multitude of ways to write and add to your writing skill repertoire. Let’s take a look at some authors who have used and developed these skills – and more – to aid in their writing.

Nana Malone – Dictation and choreography

Best-selling author Nana Malone has used dictation as a method of writing for years! Listen as she talks about the learning curve when it comes to dictation programs, when and where she dictates, and what got her started on dictation in the first place. She also details how long it takes her to draft a novel using dictation – and, spoiler alert, it’s much, much faster than you might expect!

She also talks about how she has had the help of her family when it comes to acting out and choreographing the action scenes in her novels – which is amazing! You’re sure to be inspired by what Nana has to say about these useful skills in regards to her writing.

KWL – 297 – The Business of Romance Writing with Nana Malone

Alex de Campi – Directing and choreography

Alex de Campi, aside from being a novelist, is also a comic writer and director. Her work in these visual mediums has certainly influenced and helped her ability to write amazing, cinematic scenes into her work. Listen as she talks about how sex scenes, for example, can be thought of and choreographed in one’s writing in a similar way one might develop action or fight scenes.

KWL – 299 – Writing Your Way Across Mediums with Alex de Campi

Lisa Kessler, Anthony Dobranski – Tarot

Both Lisa and Anthony utilizing tarot in their writing and publishing, but in very unique ways! Anthony created a tarot deck as a tie-in with his fantasy novel and as a marketing and collaborative opportunity, while Lisa uses her tarot deck and readings to help her overcome writer’s block and create compelling characters for her paranormal novels.

Whether you are interested in the practical (and fun applications) of tarot readings like Lisa, or the more business-oriented and traditional uses of tarot decks like Anthony, both of these episodes of the podcast are great resources for anyone interested in tarot.

KWL – 196 – Expanding Your Written Universe with Anthony Dobranski
KWL – 274 – Writing with Tarot with Lisa Kessler

Meg Smitherman, Katee Robert, Sally Thorne and Mhairi McFarlane – Fanfiction

lmost every writer started out by writing fanfiction, whether it was a childhood pastime, a young adult escape, or is something they continue to indulge in their adult life! Fanfiction was – and is – a great way to stretch your writing muscles and find community in a shared fandom.

In these episodes, bestselling authors discuss the importance of fanfiction, whether it was part of their writer origin story as it was for Meg Smitherman, Sally Thorne, and Mhairi McFarlane, or how it influenced their content warnings and understanding of trope tags like it did for Katee Robert (whose own works are original retellings of ancient myths in and of themselves – and isn’t all fanfiction another form of mythologizing?). These are just a few of the many, many authors who have expressed their love of fanfiction and outlined the many ways it has helped them in their career.

KWL – 306 – Debut Novels and Dark Fantasy with Meg Smitherman
KWL EP 148 – For the Love of Rom-Coms with Sally Thorne and Mhairi McFarlane
KWL – 266 – Retelling Myths and Fairytales with Katee Robert

KWL, Noah Steele, Shayna Krishnasamy – Research

Brush up on those research skills! These podcast episodes and blog posts touch on the always-important skill of research. Research applies to every genre – not just the detail-heavy narratives one might find in a fantasy novel or a sci-fi epic. Romance, mystery, horror, and all other genres require at least some modicum of research – especially, of course, if your story is set in a different time period, place, or world entirely!

The authors of these posts and guests on these episodes have some great advice when it comes to writing research AND marketing research, two types of research that so often go hand-in-hand.

KWL Craft of Writing Series: Research, Write, and Repeat
Market Research Doesn’t Have to Hurt
I’d Rather Not Be Talking to You but I’m Writing This Book: How a Shy Writer Tackles Research
How to world-build successfully (in the real world)

Penny Reid – Collaboration

Powerhouse author Penny Reid has a lot to say about author universes and collaboration! She opened up her creations to be used by other authors who wished to write in the same universe, the one she had created – how cool is that? Listen to these episodes featuring Penny to learn more about her writing, her author universe, and her history of collaboration and working with other writers.

KWL Ep 147 Penny Reid
KWL – 296 – Creating an Author Universe with Penny Reid

How have your unique skills and interests helped with your writing career? If any of the above has garnered your interest, be sure to check out the recommended blog posts and listen to the highlighted podcast episodes, as well as look into the authors’ own websites and social media. There is always something one writer can learn from another – even when it seemingly has little to do with writing at first glance! And, as always, happy writing from us on the KWL team.