Welcome to my blog

Tip Sheet Tuesday - Authors' Advice

Posted on


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. Queen

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





step by step cover

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.

K.S.Jones. http://www.ksjones.com/




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.still waters

I'm always amazed at the faults I find. I'd recommend that to everyone.

Francine Stanley. http://francene--wordstitcher.weebly.com/






Tip #1
Don’t be a verbal snob. Sometimes simple words are best.
Love scenes should not be smut, but emotionally charged character development. 

Cathy Bennett. http://catherinebennett.org/



angelinthe distanceMany 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 

I find this really helpful. I was reluctant to sprint, didn’t really understand the point, and figured it’d be a waste of time. Totally wrong. I’ve sprinted at leastjeff once a week for some 120 weeks (since end of May, 2013) and averaged about 1100 words per sprint-hour. That comes to some 132k words among two dozen or more different manuscripts. Some of my completed novels have included material from a dozen sprints or more.
            Sprinting – typing as much of a scene (or scenes) as the hour allows – really frees up your internal editor. Some of my sprints have given me terrific ideas for details or developments or plot threads and I’ve ended up going places – good places – in the story I otherwise would likely have missed.
            Can you totally compose a solid novella / novel with sprints? Not likely. Sprints are a supplement to your plot outlines and character arcs. Can you keep every single word you sprinted? Not likely. You can edit / cut / move, etc. --- but do it LATER. While sprinting, your subconscious is set free to explore!

  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 shadow fire cover - copy (500x750)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.  thecanary

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





When editors spot mistakes that become a pattern in my manuscripts, I make a list so I'll know to watch hidden hills
for them in my next book. It's one way of improving my writing.





 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:




Add a comment:

Leave a comment:


  1. Karen

    Thank you, Sheila. :)

    Posted on

  2. Sheila Wood

    Very informative and interesting.

    Posted on

  3. Karen

    Thanks for your contribution, Ann. :)

    Posted on

  4. Ann Evans

    Enjoyed reading all the tips, Karen. Some great advice there,

    Posted on

  5. Kimber Leigh Wheaton

    The advice about the Kindle and audio reads of final drafts is great. Basically it helps to put it in a format that is different from how you view it day in and day out. I put them on my Kindle then use the highlighting feature to tag problems. It amazes me how our eyes and brain supplement what should be there while ignoring what actually is there :)

    Posted on

  6. Karen

    Thanks for your info about writing sprints, Jeff. I'm going to give those a try.

    Posted on

  7. Jeff Salter

    Wow... this is a great assortment of writing tips. terrific job!

    Posted on

  8. Karen

    You're welcome, Heather. Thanks for contributing. :)

    Posted on

  9. Heather Gray

    Awesome tips - and such variety! Thanks for doing this Karen!

    Posted on

Add a comment