Still trying to get those first words on paper? Or worse yet, do you have those first words on paper but you refuse to look at them, or let anyone else see what you’ve done? Well, get over it, we all have problems writing, some of us are better at hiding it than other (present company not included). Here are some top tips for writing fiction.
Top Tips for Writing Fiction
Only Write Things You Would Want to Finish on Your Deathbed.
You’re dying. You’re coughing, snot is coming out of your nose, and you’ve lost all feeling in your left foot. What disease do you have? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are going to finish your story. Now, think, what story could be so wonderful that you would be willing to write it while dying? Got it? Okay, now write it.
Keep your exclamation points under control. The general rule for exclamation point usage is less than three per 100,000 words. If you use more than this, exclamation points can become distracting to the reader. If you are describing the situation properly, the reader will be able to surmise if your character is in the heat of the moment or not.
Avoid Detailed Descriptions of Characters
Yes, as a writer we know exactly what we want our characters to look like; the gait of their walk, that freckle on their nose. As much as we want them to, no reader will perceive the character in exactly the same way that we do. Give the reader credit, and let them imagine the characters the way they want to. Try to avoid overly detailed descriptions of the characters. This limits the reader and the use of his or her imagination and eventually can lead to a lack of interest if they are suddenly reading about someone they had pictured completely differently in their minds.
It’s Healthy to Think Your Work Stinks
If you think your work is bad – that’s good, at least you are prepared for the worst. But don’t dwell on it. The only way to get any better at what you’re doing is to do it more. So if today’s writing stinks, tomorrow’s work will only be a little better. Keep going.
Keep Your Paragraphs Short
As a reader, it is tempting to skip paragraphs that are not broken up properly. Try to leave these parts out because it is more likely that readers will tend to skip these sections. This is especially true when writing web copy. Don’t fatigue your reader’s eyes with lengthy paragraphs.
Read Your Work Aloud
Reading your work out loud can allow you to catch inconsistencies in your word flow. If you get caught up reading your work out loud, chances are, so will the reader.
Fill Your Pages
When the excitement of a new plot floods your brain, don’t stop until you’ve written it all out. Each page is a triumph, so don’t worry about the quality or your spelling; just make sure you get it all out before you loose it.
Name Your Work Early
The sooner you give your work a name, the easier it will be to stay on track. Have you ever been writing and gotten lost in the setting and the weather, only to realize what you are writing has nothing to do with….anything? Name your work early; everything you do should have some connection, at least in your mind, to the title.
Keep a Journal
Time heals all wounds, right? And after three years, you can’t remember what made you hate your ex so much. Well, if you had a journal, not only would you remember, but you would be able to relive every glorious detail of what went wrong. That’s the perfect fuel for writers.
Everyone Has Access to The Internet
Everyone has access to the Internet. This means that everyone now has access to your research materials. So, you can either try to find some way to discover something that no one else knows, or you can make the information you gather more interesting than anyone else. Which do you think is the hardest? Pick that one.
Stay away from sex for a while – if you do, not only will you appreciate it more the next time you get some, but while writing those love scenes, you will be able to better work up the reader, because you are worked up. Try it. It works – especially if you are an erotic writer. If you are then see this article on Top Tips for Writing Erotic Fiction.
[Image: Writing Tips – Dave]