This week I’ve asked some author friends of mine to share their writing tips with you. Read on for some fab advice.
"He was watching her." v. "He watched her." The former is in passive voice, and the latter in active.
To help you stay in active voice, look out for those places where you've used was + an ing word.
Heather Gray. http://www.heathergraywriting.com
If you want to write, then write. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike, it rarely does.
Don’t sit staring at a blank piece of paper or a blank PC screen waiting for a brilliant idea to hit you, write anything – even the vaguest thoughts. At least then you have something to work on.
Anything is better than a blank page.
You can easily delete those early random scribblings when your story begins to emerge. And it will.
Ann Evans. http://.annevansbooks.co.uk
Not everyone will have this option, but I like to send a final draft (which is never really the final draft) to my Kindle as a document and read it there. For some reason, I see glaring errors when I use this method as opposed to reading it as a Word document, and the Kindle allows me to highlight and bookmark pages, even making notes when needed. I don't know why it's different, but I've had lots of other writers tell me that it works for them, too.
After I'm happy with the revision, I upload a copy of the final draft to pdf, and then use the 'read out loud' facility.
I'm always amazed at the faults I find. I'd recommend that to everyone.
Francine Stanley. http://francene--wordstitcher.weebly.com/
Cathy Bennett. http://catherinebennett.org/
Many writers, myself included, sometimes look at editing as a task equivalent to doing laundry - no one loves it, but it must be done. Here are a few things to keep in mind when editing a manuscript especially:
1) Look at it as a chance to give your work a look from the eye of a reader. Remember, as a writer, reading is just as important as writing.
2) Think of it as your cram before the big test. This is your last chance to make this perfect before the real test - the public.
And 3) Surprise! You may find, as I did, that words and phrases that once looked golden to you on your PC screen, are not so golden when you read them aloud to yourself. Editing is a tough business, if you don't think you can make it through all 33,000 words in one sitting, split it up over a couple of days! Hang in there! You can do this!
A.R.Conti Fulwell. https://arcontifulwell.wordpress.com/
Sprints to Exercise your Writing Muscles
Jeff Salter. https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJLSalter
In dialogue tags avoid –ly adverbs. I know, we hear it all the time, but it’s my biggest beef as an editor and even as a reader. Use action instead to show the reader the emotion behind the words. It’s only a few more words, yet so much more powerful.
—she said, stomping her foot or hands on her hips or with a dark glare
—he said, leaning forward to tower over her or crossing his arms over his chest
—she said, wringing her hands or twirling her hair or biting her thumbnail
Think about the emotion you are portraying and how your character would act while saying his/her dialogue. Basic but powerful.
Kimber Leigh Wheaton. http://www.kimberleighwheaton.com
I'm a long-time member of an established Buffalo writers group. I'll never bring them a first draft. My approach is to write a story, revise it once when I'm finished, then put it away for a couple of months and go on to another story. It's surprising, the things I find when I at last return to the story a third time. Only then will I bring the story to my group, let them nitpick it apart, then revise it again with their comments. Now I'll submit the story to an online journal. If rejected (and if often is the first time), I again go through the story, looking for flaws (and sometimes realizing for the first time what the story is really about). This final process continues until an editor's comments are resolved, and she/he takes the story away from me.
Susan Solomon-Solstice's. Susan's first book The Magic of Murder is in the process of publication by Solstice Publishing.
The important thing is to write and complete the first draft of your work. Put it away for a while. Then come back to it with editorial eyes.
Jacqueline Seewald. http://jacquelineseewald.blogspot.co.uk/
Know your characters well and they will talk your head off, trying to get their voices heard.
You can not force a friendship with a person or a persona. Get to know them and they will not let you down
Jacqueline Turner Moore. http://www.jacqueline-t-moore.com
Thanks everyone for your fabulous tips.
And if you're looking for even more writing tips, especially for writing children's fiction, take a look at my book: