These writing tips are from an unusual source; a guy who studied nothing but science in college and never had an English or writing course (other than the mandatory Freshman English). I also never seriously wrote anything until I was in my 30’s. I have written four novels, and one of them, Soul of the Beast, has been published by both Clemson University Digital Press and Amazon.com.
Now on to my TIPS…
Have a story worth telling.
Write what you want to write.
Write about what you know. If you don’t know something, you can learn about it. (i.e.-Google it)
Write for yourself first. Write for the reader second.
Keep taking the story in directions the reader is not expecting.
Have mysteries, questions and subplots floating in the background and occasionally sticking their heads up. It adds depth to the story and keeps the reader wanting to know more.
End your chapters with a teaser.
Make everything that happens in the novel consistent with everything else.
Everything should move the story forward even if it isn’t obvious how until later in the book.
If you can take something out of the story without affecting anything, consider leaving it out.
Once you finish your story, go back through it and make everything MORE difficult for your characters.
Read GREAT novels by GREAT authors.
Don’t be hamstrung by “correct grammar and form”, “finding the perfect word or phrasing” or “the best way to do it”. Deal with those issues AFTER you finish the novel.
Write when you’re in the mood. Write when you’re not in the mood. In other words, write.
If you don’t know what to write, put a sentence on the page and see what happens. If nothing happens, write another sentence, then another, then another…
Write your characters into impossible situations without knowing how they’ll escape. THEN figure out how to save them. The solutions you come up with can be amazing.
If you can’t figure out what to write next or how to phrase something, sleep on it, literally. Your brain can solve the problem while you rest. Keep a pen and paper next to your bed for the inspirations..
Don’t worry about making an outline when you’re in the mood to write.
You can strengthen a novel with a story board of sticky notes.
When you’re inspired to develop the plot, that’s the time to use the outline. An outline allows you to move quickly while the creative juices flow.
Show. Don’t tell. Whenever possible, let your characters tell the story with their words and actions. Minimize the narration.
Editing a story eventually becomes tedious. Tedium makes it difficult to see the problems. Mix it up. Change the place where you start your edit. Sometimes start at the beginning, Sometimes start in the middle . Sometimes start near the end.
Finally, never give up writing.
(This list of tips is dedicated to the memory of Sherry Hawthorne, my first teacher, mentor and editor.)
If you disagree or want to debate my tips, I’d like to hear from you! You can post your comments below.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Soul Of The Beast for free, just click: http://wesphelan.com.