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December 16, 2014

Writing Tips Part Two



I am sharing my final 25 writing tips. If you missed the first part, you can view it HERE.


Writing Tips Part Two

26.    Write a good beginning to hook your readers and an ever better ending to satisfy them.

27.    Never be afraid to rewrite. Your book will most likely turn out better!

28.    Aim for realistic goals when you’re writing, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t reach it. We all have our off-days and some days may produce more or less writing than others. A goal is meant to encourage you, not to torture you.

29.    Write outside of your comfort zone whenever possible. This will strengthen your writing and may even reveal skills that you never thought you had.

30.    Write every day! Or at least try to write every day. A paragraph written is a paragraph closer to THE END.

31.    After you spend months or years (in most cases) writing a book, it is always a good idea to put it down for awhile. Give yourself some space from the characters you’ve been writing about. Give your brain a vacation!

32.    If you are tempted to add more than three commas to a sentence then that sentence may be too long. Read it aloud to see if it flows, rewrite it, or split it in half.

33.    To prevent a reader's confusion with multiple perspectives, create a sequence that a reader can follow to know which character’s point-of-view will be next.

34.     Always make it clear whose perspective you’re in right away. State the character’s name within the first few sentences.

35. Show the entertaining parts that engage readers, and tell the less entertaining parts your readers just need to know. The key to showing AND telling is not to be excessive with either option, but to find a balance.

36.  Be more specific by cutting out these phrases at the beginning of sentences: There was/were, There is/are, and It was.

37.  Don’t repeat the same word(s) in a single paragraph or in the same scene, because a reader will most likely notice, and then the scene you wrote won’t flow as well. Search a thesaurus or use Google to find alternative words.

38.  If you ever get stuck while writing, read the last chapter or two to get back into the groove.

39. Skip the part you are struggling with and write a different event you are in the mood to  writing, but don’t forget to go back to write what you skipped! 

40. Use a Sans Disk Flash Drive every time you update a document.

41. Create two separate accounts on your computer, just as you would if you shared your computer. In this case, you’ll have one account for Internet use and one solely for writing. I do this, so if I need to delete the infected account, my writing will be safe.

42.  Create a professional email address for when you send out e-queries.

43. If you’re writing a series, each book has to grow. What occurs in each story, and the stakes that threaten the protagonist, have to be bigger and better every time. And the last book in a series has to tie all of them together while also giving an epic grand finale. 

44.  Memoir Writing Tip: What you don’t ever want to do when you’re writing a memoir is to add in something because you think it makes your story more interesting. Remember to always tell the truth!

45.  Children’s Book Writing Tip: Try to include a positive message, if you can.

46. Be open to criticism. If an editor or agent scribbles a note on your query letter or in the margins of your story, pay attention to what it says because the fact that they took the time to actually jot it down for you is a big deal.

47. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you, especially yourself! You have to remember that you won’t sound like other authors because you are unique, and what you write is amazing in its own right.

48. Be brave! No one can tell you what you can or cannot write in your book.

49.  Keep learning about the craft of writing. There are many books written by authors about writing and the writer’s life. Joining a writer's group or association/organization can also teach you a lot.

50.  Don’t listen to all the writing rules you hear. They are not law.


SHARE: Your #1 writing tip.


70 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Always back up your work!
I don't think I've ever used three commas in a sentence.

Sarah Foster said...

I always use a flash drive! I've had enough computers die on me to know not to trust them.
Whenever I see a writing rule, it makes me want to break it, especially the more ridiculous ones.

Pat Hatt said...

I have to watch the using the same word too many times and yep, I back it up indeed

sage said...

Great ideas, especially #50! (but the others are all worth considering).

TBM said...

Yes, write outside your comfort zone. So many people forget this. Great tips.

Mark Murata said...

Hint 35 is key. It's not "show, don't tell," but deciding when to do either.

Chrys Fey said...

Not backing up your work can cause a lot of headaches!

I read a book by a very popular author with the longest run on sentences that I gave up reading the book about 1/3 of the way through. :(

Chrys Fey said...

I share your sentiments about writing rules, which is why I've shared some of those silly ones. I can't believe writers believe some of those to be true.

Chrys Fey said...

I can catch repeated words when I'm editing and I always change one of them. Usually the one to appear second.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Sage! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I love writing outside my comfort zone and do it as often as I can. :) Thanks, TBM!

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! I'm so glad you get it because so many think telling is bad-bad-bad and that they should always show. Doing either one of those in excess isn't a good idea.

Carrie-Anne said...

A lot of young, new writers seem obsessed with following all the so-called "rules" they've heard, and enforcing them on everyone else. A lot of books from prior generations and eras broke many of these modern "rules," and no one considers them poorly-written or thinks the writers were just doing their own thing and being stubborn. General rules exist for a reason, but you shouldn't mindlessly believe someone when s/he says, e.g., adverbs are evil, it's amateurish to use speaking verbs beyond said and asked, it's ridiculous to deliberately craft a book beyond 100,000 words.

Agree about a healthy balance between showing and telling. My POV, third-person omniscient, traditionally involves a fair bit more telling than the average modern reader is used to. That's just part of how that POV functions. I also don't see what the crime is with directly telling the reader important, establishing information early on, instead of awkwardly conveying it bit by bit or saving it for much later. If we don't know certain things about characters or their story early on, their actions or beliefs probably won't make a lot of sense later on.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I agree with the paragraph written is one paragraph closer to THE END. :-)

Lisa Thomson said...

Thank you, Chrys for these wonderful tips. I will book mark this too for when I'm writing my novel. One of the best tips I've heard (and it was from Ray Bradbury no less) was to write anything...so even if you're writing something and you're not sure why (that happens to me a lot) keep writing it and it will find a home somewhere, sometime.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you liked that one, Roland. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I can't agree with you more, Carrie-Anne! Taht's why I often blog about writing rules, to let writers know it's okay to break them and that many of them are actually silly and aren't law.

I don't see the crime in that either, Carrie-Anne. Writers should be able to tell information or the things readers just need to know. And telling it in the beginning builds the story/characters, but I know that many agents/editors hate back story in the beginning of stories. It;s tough to satisfy everyone.

Chrys Fey said...

I like that! Writers writer...don't question why you're writing something just WRITE IT! ;)

Sherry Ellis said...

More great tips! Thank you so much. I like your idea to write at least a paragraph a day. I think even I can handle that!

Unknown said...

Great tips!

Nicola said...

Thank you, Chrys. A special thank you for #47 and #48. For telling me I am amazing in my own right and also for reminding me that it's my book and I can write what I want to write. I really had to learn that last one. After studying for a BA and then a Masters, I was constantly told, "Don't write what you think, it's irrelevant. You must write what others have said". Well, I feel much better and more empowered now and I would never allow anyone to say that to me again. Live and learn. All the best, Chrys.

Unknown said...

#28 & #30 = my life right now! lol great tips, Chrys!!

Chrys Fey said...

Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves so if we think we just have to write a paragraph or page, we'll likely meet that goal and surpass it. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Sydney!

Chrys Fey said...

You're so very welcome, Nicola! Those are two things I had to learn, and when I hear other writers constantly putting down themselves, their writing, and/or their books, it breaks my heart. I also hate it when people think they know everything and tell writers what they can or can't put in their books. It's our books and we can say what we want! ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Goals are always tough because we put such big ones on our shoulders. We need to learn to pick smaller goals and work our way up to the bigger ones. :)

Cherdo said...

These are wonderful tips and inspiring! Thanks, Chrys!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Cherdo!

Ashantay said...

Enjoyed your list of tips, especially the last one!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Ashantay!

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic tips! I grinned at the last one. Rewriting used to scare me, but now I do a lot!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I bow to you, queen of the writing tips. These are so good. I really like 2 & 3. Giving yourself realistic expectations can be tough.

Tammy Theriault said...

I have been known in this latest book to have to go back and delete "just" a lot. whoops!!

Cynthia said...

Great tips! Your tips remind me that writing is indeed a journey, and I have a lot to learn as I'm navigating through this maze of words in my head that I try so hard to get down in writing.

I go by a variety of writing mantras depending on my mood. Today, my "tip" would be...Remember the publishing industry is very subjective. So don't take it personally when things don't go your way.

SittieCates said...

Great tips as always, Chrys! :-)

Happy holidays!

Fi said...

More great tips. Thanks for sharing.

Al Diaz said...

Those are very good writing tips. I think I've given my brain a vacation. A long one. I hope it is ready when I need it to get back to work, haha. I'll keep these tips in mind. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Rewriting can be scary at first, but it happens a lot.

Chrys Fey said...

It can be tough. I still have those grand expectations, but at the same time I know what I;m capable of doing. That's what everyone has to consider when they form goals.

Queen, huh? I'll take it! ;)

Chrys Fey said...

"Just" is one that I overuse, too. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Writing IS a journey! :D It's never-ending, constantly changing, and always teaching us.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Sittie! Happy Holidays!

Chrys Fey said...

And thanks for visiting, Fi!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Al! :) Even if your brain isn't ready, you can prepare it by just starting slowly and doing the easiest task first. When I start editing, I run a search on Microsoft for the words I need to eliminate like "just, only, etc." Good luck for when that time comes! :)

Unknown said...

Where do I begin?? These are such fantastic tips, Chrys. Of course, one of my favorites is the children's book tip.. it is always a good idea to present a positive message. Schools love stories with great messages for the kids.
I totally agree with numero uno! There have been so many books I had to put down because the beginning was too blah. If I'm not hooked, I simply cannot spend valuable time trying to throw myself within the story.
I also love your tips about being brave and writing outside of our comfort zone. When I wrote my WIP, I had no choice but to step out of my comfort zone. It's far different than anything I have written before... lots of cursing, adult content and just flat out RAW. I love it!!

Chrys Fey said...

I developed that tip based of Come Back Dear Sun. :)

I agree! I need a book to hook me and not let me go!

Writing outside of your comfort zones can be challenging but that's what's so great about it. :)

Gisele LeBlanc said...

Great, great tips, Chrys! Thanks for sharing, and Happy Holidays!!!! :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I love writing outside of my comfort zone. I make myself do that a lot. It really makes you a better writer.

Cherie Reich said...

Wonderful tips! #28 and #47 are two I need to remember more.

Chrys Fey said...

Happy Holidays to you, too, Gisele!!! :D

Chrys Fey said...

So do I, and it really does! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Those are the two things most writers have to remind themselves, which is why I included them. I knew many could relate to it. :)

Liz Blocker said...

Oh, I'm such a #32 breaker! I do seem to love my commas and my semi-colons -which is why #27 is essential ;) Thanks, Chrys!

Chrys Fey said...

Sometimes I use commas and semi-colons when I shouldn't, but you're right...that's where rewriting and editing comes in handy. ;)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I've been pushing more and more to write outside my comfort zone. It's always fun, and stretches what I've learned. Tweeted your post out.

Anonymous said...

I never thought about creating two accounts. That's a good idea. I always use flash drives.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I appreciate, especially, your tip regarding showing vs telling. This helps clarify for me when to choose one vs the other. Plus, if I'm not hooked from the beginning, I'm inclined to put the book away (as in, somewhere I'll never see it again). Thanks for the great, helpful advice.
Happy Holidays, Chrys!

Patsy said...

I agree with a lot of these - including no. 50! Sometimes it's good to break a rule.

Chrys Fey said...

It is fun! Thanks for the tweet! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I got the idea from my sister-in-laws mom. :)

Chrys Fey said...

A lot of people get showing vs telling wrong. While I'm not an expect, I know that both are important.

Happy Holidays, Robyn!

Chrys Fey said...

It's definitely good to break a rule. ;)

Jeff Chapman said...

I like #28 and #30. A goal should not torture you. That's a good one to remember. I bought that book of cat stories to which you contributed. It'll be under the tree for my daughter.

Chrys Fey said...

Aw! I hope she enjoys it, Jeff! :D

Unknown said...

Chrys, you have shared some really great tips. I especially like the one about creating two accounts in your computer in case one gets infected. Hadn't even considered that! As always, you've shared something helpful:)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you find my tips helpful, Quanie. I try my hardest to provide good tips. :)

Yanting Gueh said...

Oh dear, I haven't thought of creating two accounts on my computer either. My #1 writing tip: One line at a time.

Chrys Fey said...

One line at a time is a great tip!

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Enjoyed reading. Glad Christine shared this.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, R.Mac! I'm glad she shared it too! :D