Friday, July 3, 2009

Five Writing Tips for All Levels of Writers

First, is the fact that if the story is not believable to you, it will not be to the reader. It is fine to come up with plot, setting, characters, and such, but if it does not ring true, your audience will call you on it. If you are a new writer, you will most likely be rejected if you try to submit your manuscript.

Make sure you check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It cannot be stressed enough, DO NOT rely on spell check and grammar check in word processing programs. If you are weak in this area, find a class and learn how to punctuate and learn your grammar.

Second is dialogue. If your characters are of a certain age and they use language that does not fit the age, your characters are not believable and the reader will put down the story and most likely not pick up anything else you might right. If you are writing for yourself and never want to be published, wrong dialogue is probably ok, NOT! If you are going to write something, make it the best you can every time you put words on paper.

Third is, make sure you use the right word. As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” I could not agree more. Spend the money and get a good dictionary and thesaurus. Do not let them sit on the shelf collecting dust; USE THEM!

Ray Bradbury mentioned in a lecture before Southwest Manuscriptors the fourth and possibly the most important tip is; “READ!” Read the classics, read everything you can get your hands on; read, read, read. Only by reading published books, can you get some idea of what works and what does not. Especially if you have say, Mysteries in mind, read various authors in the genre.

Fifth, if you decide to edit your own work, set it aside for a minimum of a week. When you come back to it, come with a blue pencil. Take that blue pencil and take out the irrelevant junk. Make sure the meaning of what you want to say is clear. Does what you read while editing move the story along? Are your characters believable? Are they fully fleshed out? There is more, but you get the idea.