May 04, 2012

Six Writing Tips to Know

When you end Chapter Two, DON’T STOP! Look at your detailed plan (if you have one), 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 will 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 happy with the end result.

2. Use dialogue tags (he said, she said). Beginning writers forget to do this, which causes the reader to become confused, but you don't need one on every line, especially if two people are talking back and forth. Being more descriptive in your writing can eliminate the need for a dialogue tag. And, please, don’t limit yourself to “said” all of the time. I believe using another form can heighten the impact of the dialogue. Again, you can do the same with physical cues and details without the need of a dialogue tag, but you still have to make it clear who is speaking before, or immediately after, one of your characters has a dialogue.

Try using these alternatives:


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 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 won’t.

6. Write every day, even if it's just a sentence. Some days you may struggle to write a single 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!

1 comment:

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