Friday, May 4, 2012

Six Writing Tips You Should Know!

When you end Chapter Two, DON’T STOP! Look at your detailed plan, determine where you are, what needs to happen next, and keep writing! Chapter Three is waiting to be written.

Here are six writing tips to remember while you are writing:
1.    Always listen to your gut even if it means you have to do more work, because in the end it’ll all be worth it. I recently learned this lesson while editing my first book. I kept feeling as though something was missing, that I needed more substance in-between the parts of my book that were thrilling. I ended up going back over the entire manuscript to add in filling material to help the flow. This took weeks, but I am very happy with the end result.

2.   Use dialogue tags (he said, she said). Some amateur writers forget to do this, which causes the reader to become confused, but you don't need one on every other line! Sometimes being more descriptive in your writing can eliminate the need for a dialogue tag too. And please, don’t limit yourself to the rather boring “said” all the time. I believe that using another form can heighten the impact of the dialogue. If your character is in pain and crying (or has another intense emotion) when they speak, using "said" will not convey the correct feeling.                                                                         
Try using these more exciting alternatives in such cases:


Photo by Chrys Fey

3.   Avoid passive voice as much as possible. Examples of passive voice: had been delayed, will be held. Passive voice also occurs when past tense verbs (tangled, beaten, diagnosed, etc.) follow "were", "was", and "is". This is a very common mistake that many writers do, but once you learn how to rearrange the sentence to change it from passive voice to active voice, it becomes easier to fix and avoid.

4.   Read books in different genres than what you write in. For example, to learn how to write suspense (even if it is just for one chapter) read a thriller to understand the style. Also, study books by popular authors to see why readers enjoy them.

5.  Carry a pen and notebook everywhere you go, even to bed in case you get an idea while trying to fall asleep because even though you say you'll remember in the morning, you never do.

6.  Write everyday even if it's just a few sentences. Some days you may struggle to write just one good sentence, while other days you may produce pages and pages of genius. The point is, if you make an effort to write every day, your writing will improve and it'll become easier to write daily.

If you follow these six simple steps, you will be that much closer to THE END!

QUESTION: Do you know a good writing tip? Feel free to share it so we can all try it!

*There is, of course, an abundance of writing tips out there. These are just six simple tips I have heard throughout the years and use while I am writing. Most of them are common sense and well-known, but can't be said enough.

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  1. I found these tips to be very helpful -especially the first three! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Chrys, I had no idea passive voice was a bad thing. Thanks for saving my manuscript!

  3. My tip is an add-on to your #2, Chrys. Yes, it's important to use tags, as you said. But- when NOT to use them and how to is just as critical. When there are only two characters in a scene you don't want he said/she said on every dialogue line. It's monotonous and unnecessary. If we (readers) know she didn't say "that," then we also know he must have, and visa versa. :)

    It's still better to try not to use tags by replacing them with action instead. Yes, we know 'he' said it, but what were his actions before, during or after than could be used in place of a tag?

    Which sounds better?
    "I know you didn't mean to hurt me," he said.

    OR this:

    "I know you didn't mean to hurt me." He shook his head to stifle the sadness of her unintentional, but obvious, betrayal.

    Notice the dialogue comes to a complete stop with a period this way, too.
    There are those times when you just need a tag. When you do, yes, it's good to vary it whenever possible with one of the others in your list. Just be sure you don't over do. You don't want every other dialogue line to have a creative tag. You don't want your readers to actually notice the tags.

    Also don't over do on specific tags. This is something not just new writers do, so don't fret if you get caught doing it.

    "I know you didn't mean to hurt me," he whispered softly.

    That looks fine. You say. But what IS a whisper, if not speaking softly? So in essence you're saying 'he whispered whispered'.

    "I know you didn't mean to hurt me," he whispered.

    You also don't want to say 'he said softly' either because it's tidier to just simply say 'he whispered,' since that's basically what speaking softly is so leave the tag at that, or add an action.
    The wording of an action tag also depends on which character's POV we're in. The very first example was in his, so I'll do this in hers.

    "I know you didn't mean to hurt me." His shoulders sagged, and she barely heard the whispered words. (or 'barely heard him whisper' would work here too.)

    As an editor, I see these things all the time. lol
    Well, that's my .02. Hope it's ok. :) Nice blog series, by the way. And I have and look forward to reading your book. :)

    1. Absolutely! These are great points all beginning writers should know. Thank you including your comment as an add on to my tip. I agree with everything you said as I use your same techniques in my own writing.

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy my book. :)


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