Thursday, December 31, 2020

 My top bits of advice off the top of my head to new and old writers. Of course writers are so different that only some of these will be applicable to you, but take what helps and leave the rest. 

1. Get a dog (talked about this one before; it is so helpful to walk and think about what you're writing on and dogs are excellent listeners and generous toward any manuscript you provide, especially if you give them treats.)

2. Write every day you can, even if it's only for thirty minutes. Every day you don't write, it's harder to get back to writing. Every day you leave a manuscript, it will take you longer to get back to it.

3. A bit of planning can help you a lot. I've always been a discovery writer but I do a short bit of outlining--like one day before I jump into writing a manuscript. What's my premise. Who's my main character and what does she want and need. What are some scenes? Brainstorm anything and then try to order them just a bit:

What is life like before inciting incident

What is part one of my story? Going after problem.

What is part two of my story? More focused on problem and going after problem

Part four—how's it all come out?

4. Conflict is essential. If you don't have conflict, you won't have a story. Conflict can be internal or external, between characters or character and environment or character and ? But YOU need it. You need it to show and develop your character and so show and develop your story.

5. Have a story. What is your story? Think of it apart from everything else to get a clear idea of what you're trying to tell.

6. Your story has to be about something. I guess I'm talking about theme here. 

7. Revising is vastly different from your first drafts. There's so much about revising: write an outline of each chapter, just two or three sentences. Write character arcs for main characters. When you are revising knowing theme, knowing what your story is about will help you understand what to cut out because it doesn't add to your true story.

8. For me, the focus is always character, language, plot, and setting...and though there are plenty of other areas to deal with I think character is the most important of all—if the reader doesn't care about your character, they don't care about your novel.

I've just uncovered the tip of the iceberg here but maybe it will give you a little something to think about. Write on.

 And more personally, I'm launching my second novel in the series this week. It's on sale for the low, low price of 99¢ today and tomorrow, Jan 1, 2021. Check it out if you are so inclined:

Happy New Year and hope the next year is better for us all.