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:~: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 :~:

Writing Tips

On a board recently, someone asked for writing tips from the members. Not too many people responded, but I thought it was a worthwhile topic.

Here are a few of mine...please share at least one or two of yours.

  • Never—ever—stop learning the craft. There is always some way tobetter or deepen your writing. Search out more advanced informationvia author blogs and articles.

  • Always strive to make your next book better than your last. Trysomething you've never tried before, attempt twists you think arebeyond your capability to write, tackle subjects you believed wereoutside your ability to handle.

  • Work on something writing related everyday, even if it's justthinking about your characters and your plot before you fall asleep.Become an expert on human nature--eavesdrop, people-watch, askothers' life story (people love to talk about themselves and you'llbe surprise how interesting they are!).

  • Take every critique with a grain of salt. Search the crit for validadvice that works with your story your style or your voice and applyit. Then search it again for valid advice that doesn't work withyour story or your style or your voice and see if there's a way to take the essence of the suggestion and make it fit your work.

  • Only make changes to your work that better it in some way. Neverchange because someone you admire told you it needs changing. Neverchange because the market warrants it (unless you've sold and youreditor suggests it)—because by the time your work gets to market, themarket will have changed.

  • Conflict, conflict, conflict.

    1) In the planning stages, ask yourself, "What is thischaracter's greatest fear?" Then make it come true.

    2) Take a situation, ask yourself, "What's the worst possiblething that can happen to my character here?" Then make it happen.

    3) Make your conflict develop organically from the character andher fears, flaws, wants, needs, and you'll never be accused ofwriting contrived plots.

  • Make sure all your scenes pull double, triple, quadruple duty—revealcharacter, deepen theme, take the plot one step further, exploreromance, add conflict.

  • Always leave the reader wanting. Don't ever give them enoughinformation to enable them to feel satisfied in their knowledge ofthe plot or the characters until the very last page. Constantly raise story questions so they have to read on—like a trail of breadcrumbs to THE END.

  • Let rejections and discouragement spur you further along your writingpath. Prove those idiots wrong!

  • Have at least three sources of inspiration sitting on your nightstand. I have Dojo Wisdom for Writers by Jennifer Lawler, Bird byBird by Anne Lamott and my rosary.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay-- before I spout off about my writing tips, I had to mention this. Since Eli switched the comments section to allow anonymous comments, I haven't had any trouble getting into the comments window.

How weird is that?

Okay and now for my splendid writerly tips.

1) remember that while your characters and setting might be alive and vivid in your head-- to your readers, they are only as alive as what you have on paper. Use your words to paint a brilliant and vivid landscape peopled with multi-dimensional characters.

2) remember that while it doesn't need to be perfect, it does need to be engrossing.

3) if a scene isn't working, try a POV switch. If that doesn't work look at what you have your characters doing/saying and ask yourself--"is this something this character would actually do/say?"

4) Surround yourself with positive people. If someone is destroying your selfconfidence avoid them.

5) Remember that writing is inherently subjective. What one person hates--someone else is likely to love. So screen all advice through your own instincts, you'll know whether the advice offered works for you.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops-- I meant to sign that first post. That would be me.


6:31 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...


Great tips! Bravo!! Glad the blog isn't sabatoging you anymore! :-)

11:04 PM  
Blogger Edie said...

These are all great tips. The only other thing I can say is walk the talk. Many people who say they're writing a book--but everything else in life gets in the way. I'm guilty of this sometimes too. :(

7:22 AM  

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