I’m back with numbers 4-10 of my favorite writing tips! This is a super fluid list, but in keeping with my presentation earlier this year at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library Writing Conference, here they are:
4. Learn to love revision
So true!!! You’ll do a ton of revising before ever submitting (hopefully), and then once you have an editor, the revision really begins. If you’re serious about writing, be prepared to go all in on the revising front. And, hey, it always helps if you love what you do, so figure out a way to love revising. If all goes to plan, you’ll end up with a stronger, deeper manuscript in the end.
5. Build character voice through metaphor and simile
I like this quick tip because it helped me revise the manuscript that landed me my agent. Just think to yourself, what metaphor would my viewpoint character use to describe this particular situation, and include that to build your character’s unique voice. Don’t overdo it, but a few well-chosen metaphors and similes can make a big difference.
6. Choose words and images for maximum impact
Every word and image you choose should not only fit your POV character, but, if it makes sense, see if it can serve double duty. Does that particular description also add to the mood? Great! Does the color of that doily relate back to a larger theme? Okay, maybe not, but if so good job. My point is that how you tell a story is as/more important than the story you tell, so pay attention to the small details.
7. Learn all the rules, then forget them and write what you want
Writing, for me, is an exercise in letting go. Think of yourself like an abstract artist. First, you have to be classically trained, then forget all that and go wild.
8. Don’t over-plan or over-write
If you write out a sketch of exactly how your character behaves, their entire backstory, etc. before starting your story, then you risk limiting that character to only that one set of surface details. It’s easier for me to delve deeper into characters if I let them come to me as I write. That way, I leave myself open to the entire world of possibilities. The characters can tell me who they are and where they want to go, instead of me trying to stuff them into a pre-made box.
On the same note, never tell the reader too much. Writing is a conversation. Leave room for the readers to have their say.
9. Make readers fall in love, then start killing people off
That one’s self-explanatory (and thanks to Stephen King).
10. Embrace the near win
The video says it all.