Hope This Helps

I'm not a writing expert lol...but I have learned some useful info and gained valuable experience over the past 5-6 years.   I'd like to pass along some of my favorite tips. I hope they can be of benefit to you in your writing adventure!  

1)   Adverbs are NOT evil!
a writing expert, but I have learned some useful info and gained valuable experience over the past 5-6 years.

Stephen King doesn't read my blog so I don't have to worry when I say this. Adverbs are cool. They, like any other words, are fine in moderation. Of course you don't want to use them gratuitously....and you do want to show not tell....but adverbs are ok as long as you don't go overboard. Seriously.

2)   Purple prose, flowery phrases, and all that crap.

Writing is an art. You want to make it beautiful...or edgy...or sexy...or funny. Knowing your voice and your theme is great. Just don't let yourself get carried away.
Clarity is an important part of writing because at it's core, writing is about communication. If your writing isn't clear, you have a miscommunication. No good. The more words you stuff into a sentence, the greater chance its meaning will become muddled. Your communication lines will get all jammed up. Yes, you are an amazing writer with the capability to create the most extravagant, heartfelt, deep, meaningful sentences....but don't.
This doesn't mean you should write boring sentences...far from it. But you should trim those sentences where you can. You, as a writer, will know when you're getting flowery. If not, your betas will.

3)   Backstory is important.

I spend a LOT of time on backstory. So much so that I am planning a historical fiction novel based on the backstory I have compiled for the Solitary Sky Series! Even though this is the stuff that doesn't end up in your story, it's good to get it all fleshed out. It will help you as you write the story. It can be a source of trivia for readers. It bolsters the authenticity of your world and your characters to yourself so you will write them with more authenticity and make them seem real. When you know their detailed history, you become clear about their motivations and character. That will reflect in your writing.
Plus it can be fun! Getting to know more about your characters is like finding out about a long lost relative. They have a life and history of their own that you are discovering and delighting in.

4)   Retrace your steps.

This is a little trick I read about somewhere. Editing is not the fun part of writing. Editing and formatting, to me, are the price we pay for the freedom to write. So any little tips or tricks for editing are welcome at my writing desk.
When I have read my chapters over and over, I skip over errors, fill in missing words in my head, and basically I'm useless. So I start reading my paragraphs BACKwards! It seems like it wouldn't make sense...and it won't if you're content editing. But when you are just reading for spelling errors and such, reading backwards forces you to pay more attention to each individual word as you read. You are more likely to notice those errors.
Don't give up your beta readers, lol...but give them less work to do!


5)   Learn the rules...so you can break them properly.

I've read SO many rules. So many contradicting rules, it was super confusing when I was starting out. I am typically a rule-follower. So I wanted to learn all the rules to be the very best writer I could be. Then one rule would cancel out another...one rule I'd already broken throughout my book...I started to freak out! 0_0
Soon I realized there were no hard and fast rules in writing. There are great guidelines...and helpful rules of thumb. But there's not one rule in writing that you can't break. Some of the very best writers have. Some of the most brilliant have, too.
Learn the rules. know the rules. But let your creativity reign and break the rules that get in the way of your literary vision.

PS: The same goes for advice. You will get loads of advice, all well-intended. Be thankful and considerate...but in the end YOU decide what ends up in print.

Now, here's a bonus tip from my writer-husband with a day job...Jeff!

Create a protagonist in which your reader becomes emotionally invested. Despite any flaws you may bestow upon them, the reader should care what they go through. Part of establishing that connection is putting your protagonist through a living hell...introducing conflict in heavy doses. This may seem harsh, but it's necessary. Reading how your protagonist confronts and defeats the challenges will endear your reader to him/her. Their connection will be firmly established.

Thank you, Jeff! And thank you for reading my blog. Please comment and/or share! ♥ 



Julia said...

Excellent advice! I especially love the tip about reading paragraphs backwards to catch errors. Perfect! I will definitely keep these tips in mind as I finish up AS! :) <3

Shannon Taylor Hodnett said...

Thank you, Julia! ^_^ My favorite is the reading backwards. ;)

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