Today I am highlighting 25 of my best writing tips I've shared on my blog over the last three years. Enjoy!
Writing Tips Part One
1. Use street signs and movie credits to find character names.
2. Chapter titles are not just for children’s books! Try something new and create one-word chapter titles for your book.
3. Use “all of a sudden” and “suddenly” sparingly.
4. Don’t limit yourself to “said” all the time. Try “demanded”, “cried”, “mocked”, etc. to spice up your dialogue tags.
5. If you happen to be alone when you’re writing a conversation between two or more characters, talk aloud and pretend you are your characters. This will help you to nail exactly what you want them to say.
6. Use the 5 senses: sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound to create good prose.
7. To create amazing suspense and horror, you need to also use the sixth sense: your intuitive hunch, or more precisely, your character’s intuitive hunch.
8. When you’re writing horror, or any story that requires tension or suspense, “the dark” is a great tool to utilize.
9. Avoid page-long paragraphs of rooms. A paragraph or two is a decent amount to describe a room. Anymore than that is too much and a full page is definitely unnecessary.
10. Don’t jump from event to event, write full days. But you don’t have to write everything! By using transitional phrases, or mentioning sunset/rises or meals, you can show the progression of time.
11. Show action-reaction. This technique can be used with every type of story. Write a sentence that shows an action happening then another that shows the immediate reaction. Ex: He shot off several rounds of bullets. She dodged them and fired back.
12. To speed up the pace of your story, write shorter sentences. Short sentences can be read quicker, giving the illusion of fast action.
13. Set a time limit and create high stakes to build suspense.
14. To create mystery, give your protagonist a secret that your readers have to wait to find out.
15. If you ever have to write a kidnapping, make it a surprise to both your reader and your character.
16. If you ever have to write a torture scene, think about what you are afraid of. You can also tap into your readers fears by writing about common phobias.
17. Before you begin writing a fight, plan out key moments of the fight first. This will make the process of writing the fight much easier.
18. When you’re writing a thriller, it’s sometimes wise to take a break from all the action to write something happy, even if it’s just for a page. Too much action clumped together can ruin a story if you don’t take the time to let those moments sink in.
19. Give your protagonist a weakness, and let him/her love. He/she don’t have to fall in love in your story, but you could show their love toward friends, children or even a hamster.
20. Let bad things happen to your characters.
21. If a character seems to be doing something different than what you originally planned, do not restrain them! Let them stray from what you thought would happen to what they are saying should happen.
22. When you describe your heroine’s actions, use detailed descriptions, especially if she’s in a position that requires her to be feisty and show her strength. Use strong verbs to reveal what she does, and how she feels in that moment.
23. Let the genre and the kind of story you’re writing influence your character’s wedding. If your story is set in the future, change up the traditions. If it’s fantasy, add magic.
24. Treat a baby in your book as you would any other character by giving him/her a personality.
25. Put yourself in your character’s shoes. What would you do and say if you went through the same thing he/she did? How would you feel and cope? Asking yourself these questions will make your story authentic.