Category: Fiction Writing Tips

Authors: Your Target Reader

As a writer, we often write to please ourselves. And so we should. WE are our own target readers. We grow and develop. We start gaining fans. At first they’re generic friends and family who love us, therefore love everything we do. But it’s not good enough to just have fans. We can’t write a children’s book and expect everyone to like it or … Read More Authors: Your Target Reader

Fermentation

Like a fine wine or a busty microbrew, a good novel should ferment. That’s what On The Sly is doing right now. I’ve finished the fourth draft (it takes as many drafts as it takes, sorry), and now it’s just sitting there, waiting for me to forget all my little thoughts about it. All my hopes and despairs. It ferments so I can look … Read More Fermentation

Losing Perspective

I stand by the window this morning, coffee in hand, watching the clouds scud over the mountains. I can barely see them because it’s still mostly dark, but there’s a pale light on the horizon to the east. That sliver of brilliant color turns the clouds from invisible dark-on-dark to charcoal on near black burgandy. The morning go-to-work crowd rushes past the house in … Read More Losing Perspective

Preparing for Publication

The key to turning out good stuff is rewriting.  The key to grinding it out is consistency. – Forrest McDonald Let’s just assume you have a killer idea for a story or article. You have great, multi-faceted characters against a dramatic backdrop. You KNOW it’s going to sell. What now? How do you get the manuscript ready for publication? These are the steps I … Read More Preparing for Publication

Tip #9

Writers often get bogged down in the middle of their work because they keep going back and editing the beginning. Yes, sometimes changes need to be made as we discover different than what we’d originally planned, but editing – honest to goodness editing – should wait until after the first draft is completed. Why? Writing and Editing use two different sides of the brain, … Read More Tip #9

Tip #8

People who have broken legs use crutches. Writers who have broken sentences use crutch words. A crutch word is an empty word with no purpose. It’s just a filler. Dandelion fluff. If you remove it from your sentence, you won’t even notice. No one likes to hear someone fill their speech with these. No one will like to read them either. They weaken your writing … Read More Tip #8

Tip #7

This one is titled “Authenticity”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read someone’s manuscript, only to find the wrong words or misunderstandings about a piece of information that’s easily found. I spent hours and days and weeks researching, not only the location, but also the time period, the political climate, the people in general for my novel “Birthright”. I’m sure I got … Read More Tip #7

Tip #6

I wrote recently about writing what you love because you may not get published. It bears repeating, especially when many writers like to write about various things. It seems to have become the … fad… to write the latest … fad. *cough* Young adult SF became the rage with the movies Divergent, Maze Runner, and Mockingjay. Lots of writers thought, oh, I have a … Read More Tip #6

Tip #5

You have no idea how heavy an unfinished manuscript draft, long or short, can weigh on you. The first draft especially. This is probably my most often given advise: Finish it. Just spit it out there. Good, Bad, or Ugly. As long as the last word of that draft is done, even if it devolves into nothing but an outline at the end. I’ve … Read More Tip #5

Tip 4

Just as the beginning of your story is important, so is your ending. Perhaps more so. It’s what brings your reader back for your next story. It needs to be strong, crisp, and memorable. It needs to make your reader hungry for more.

Tip #3

Books  about writing tell you you need to hook your reader by the end of the first 3 chapters. Really? Doesn’t that seem a bit long to you? I mean, if the first paragraph bores you, what are the chances you’ll read the second one? Or even buy the book? Every paragraph should pull the reader to the next one. Every sentence should entice … Read More Tip #3

Tip #2

I think many writers get stuck on writing the “Correct” way. There is no correct way, except as how it works for YOU. Writing is as individual a process as the writer. Some people begin at the beginning and march all the way through the story until it’s done. Some writers hop to different scenes as they envision them, and then tie them together … Read More Tip #2

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