Writing Tips2020-02-19T15:15:31-07:00

Writing Tips

Writing Tip #1 — Write What You Know

Write what I know? Does this mean I need a degree in physics to write a sci-fi novel? No, not even.  A mechanic doesn’t write a non-fiction about brain surgery and a brain surgeon probably won’t be writing about an electric engine.  Same processes for fiction, even if its complete fantasy, it is still the fantasy that you know. Write what you know means just that.  You know good sci-fi or you know good romance or you know good mysteries.  You have read and ... read more

Writing Tip #2 — Goals, Motivations and Conflicts

This tip needs to be credited to some very talented ladies I once had the pleasure of working with.  Thank you Vickie and Marne. So, now you know what you know and what you will write about.  How too, then, to start writing?  Well, in truth whether you are a plotter, someone who will outline each chapter, who will have a list of each character attributes, will have photos of the setting and back drop and will keep notes on everything you want to ... read more

Writing Tip #3 — The Professional Writer

So, today’s tip is going to be a little different.  Today I want to discuss “writing” as a job or business. I know grumble, because as a writer you are doing what you love so how can it be work?  And as the saying goes do something you love and you never work a day in your life.  But if you really do what to finish that manuscript, if your final goal is publication, if you want to be taken seriously by family and ... read more

Writing Tip #4 — Show, Don’t Tell

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov I have critiqued many manuscripts and had a great many critiqued.  The one remark I have always found most useful and the one I remark often is that the author should “show don’t tell”.  Now are you wondering what the heck does that mean? After all are we not “telling” a story with our writing effort? Well of course we are, but we are not ... read more

Writing Tip #5 — What We Write

So this is less a tip and more just something to think about.  This post has come about because of an online discussion that was started with some friends in an online writer’s form known as Nano Writer’s Mecca.  If you are not familiar with the NANO Writing forms I suggest you Google them and join (its free). I have mentioned before that a good writer writes what he or she knows.  But here is what had us in a frenzied discussion.  How do ... read more

Writing Tip #6 — Plotting or Pants-ing

A few days ago I was “chatting” with a young man who is contemplating trying his hand at writing a novel. His questions though, about the process, got me thinking. See he was asking things such as what kind of “villains” do people like the best, and what story “premise” is most popular? It occurred to me then that if he was asking these questions and using the answers to direct his story was he really telling HIS story? And really how often do ... read more

Writing Tip #7 — What a Character!

Seemingly sometimes what a writer writes is not completely clear. What?!? Say it isn’t so. But it is… evidently. That is what I was told anyway when an excerpt from an earlier post was reposted and someone not familiar with the full text thought I was endorsing “mean people”. Now I wasn’t; not that I couldn’t, endorse them in certain cases but it made me think about the characters writers “create”. And I put the word create in quotes because I have to ask ... read more

Writing Tip #8 — Contests, Conferences, etc. (1 of 3)

So back to writing as a profession: I was talking to someone who “hopes to someday be a published author” and when I asked if she had completed a story, she said she had finished a few short stories. And when I asked if she had submitted them anywhere she said “No, I don’t want anyone to steal them and I don’t know how to copyright them.” Now I managed not to laugh, but I am sure my expression showed my dismay because she ... read more

Writing Tip #9 — Contests, Conferences, etc. (2 of 3)

So last time I talked about contests and I mentioned that many of the best contests are connected with writer’s conferences. This time I want to talk about conferences and why you should really consider them as part of your profession. Writer’s conferences vary greatly from place to place and from genre to genre so while I will be giving you some basics make sure you do some (actually a lot) of research on your own before you attend any conferences. The first type ... read more

Writing Tip #10 — Contests, Conferences, etc. (3 of 3)

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! ANY AGENT WHO ASKS YOU TO PAY THEM TO LOOK AT YOUR MANUSCRIPT OR SOLICITATES ANY MONEY UPFRONT TO GET YOUR WORK PUBLISHED IS A FRAUD! DO NOT SEND MONEY TO AN AGENT OR EDITOR EVER. IF ASKED TO DO SO RUN AWAY… AND MAYBE REPORT THEM. Okay now that’s out of the way on to the topic of agents and editors. The first question I often get about literary agents is “do I need one?” ... read more

Writing Tip #11 — THE QUERY: Fiction’s “Foot in the Door”

So in the last few posts I have mentioned some things that I said I would go into detail on later.  One of those things I mentioned is the “query letter”.  Today I want to give you some tips on this very important part of getting published. I do want to make a distinction first.  The QUERY is for FICTION.  There is a set of expectations for the query and standards are a must when writing and submitting the query.  But again the QUERY is ... read more

Writing Tip #12 — Formatting

Formatting (for submission purposes as well as contests) The Synopsis and Sample Chapters Now I am taking on this topic for two reason.  The first; well its simple and a good way for me to get back up in the saddle.  And Second; Formatting has changed some what in just the last few years and I feel the need to share what I have learned. So let's begin. Formatting for submission whether it be to an agent, editor or for a contest may not seem ... read more

Writing Tip #13 — Head Hopping

Are you out of her mind? So a common mistake seen in not only new writers’ works but in well-established writers’ stuff too is the “Head Hop”. So what is it and how do you spot it and get rid of it? The head hop is basically when a character “knows” something they can’t possibly “KNOW” usually about the motives of another character. But it can also be more subtle than that and I will explain in a bit. Now when I say “know” that ... read more