Since 2012 when I began writing hard-core style, I have learned a few tips that I would have LOVED to have known when I was first starting out. I figure that this journey will be ongoing and I will never stop acquiring new ideas, so I decided to just label this as Volume 1. The next time I feel like I am bursting with awesome writerly wisdom, I will start in on Volume 2 pronto.
I am so excited to share so let us begin!
1. No cliches. You are more creative than that! No green as the grass or high as a kite. Come up with your own descriptions and your story will shine brighter for it.
2. There is a list of words to avoid. Seek them out and destroy them. I am not going to sit here and give you a definitive list because I don’t even have one. But words like Suddenly, Then, Very, Really …okay seriously, here is a link to get you started.
3. A Twitter account is a must. Twitter is the King of social media when it comes to being a writer. Before you start a blog, before you get on Facebook, before you post an enormous amount of crazy gifs on your new Tumblr account….before ALL of that – get a Twitter account. And then add me @jawardwrites!!
4. Awesome critique partners make a big difference. There are critique partners that are more like YOUR MOM and then there are critique partners that actually write and read the genre you are writing. Get those kinds of critique partners. And it doesn’t hurt if they have awesome grammar skills. In fact, it is a definite plus.
5. Get involved in a writing community. I know it is so much easier and more comfortable to stay in your little writing cave and bask in your creative genius alone, but if you ever want to be published, someone else is going to have to read your work. And it really helps to have a community to go to for advice, brainstorming, or to just talk. We are all regular people here, you know. We watch TV and listen to music and everything!
6. Edit by computer, then by print out, then out loud. I saw this suggestion on a Writer’s Digest article and it has really stuck with me. When you want to review your work, go through it three times and in this order. You will find different things each time. And three’s a charm anyways, right?
7. Use adverbs sparingly. They are so very pretty and descriptive and I love to throw them about all over and under my manuscript. But sometimes less is more. Trust your reader to know that the character opened the door slowly when she entered a haunted house. Unless your character is obnoxious. Then of course she just barged right in.
8. Help other writers. If you are going to want support when it is finally your time to shine then you need to put in your time now. Help other writers out there by critiquing or offering up advice or just cheering them on in their achievements. And hey, you might actually enjoy yourself!
9. Write often, read often. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, obviously. But you also can’t really be a writer if you don’t read. Well, you can’t be a GOOD one. Make these two things part of your daily routine.
10. Critique while you read published works. I used to read a book and think WOW that was amazing! But after the book had faded away, I forgot exactly WHY it was so amazing. All that was left was the feeling. Now when I read, I pay attention to pieces and parts that I truly love and try to discern exactly WHY I love them so that I can apply the same techniques to my own writing.