Writing Tips

So you want some advice on writing? The best advice I can give is grab a pen or pencil and start writing. I suggest a B2 pencil or a blue or black BiC Biro. You can use a PC if you like but you can’t beat the feeling of making notes or letting your hand wonder over the paper and the thrill of seeing your thoughts play out in the real world. I use a combination of BiC biro’s and Microsoft Word.

I don’t know all the answers (hell, I’m still looking for answers myself!) but what I can do is show you how I write and what I have learned. The links below used to be posts on my blog, under the heading of My BiC & Me, but I decided to gather them up into a proper section so anyone looking for ideas or inspiration can find them easier.

Further down the page you’ll find a bunch of links to fuel your passion for writing.

Some quick tips for writing:

  1. Write every day, even it’s a 50 words.
  2. Write whatever comes into your head. It doesn’t matter if it’s garbage, at least you have written something you can work on.
  3. Read stuff. Read blogs, newspaper articles, books, magazines, read anything that captures your interest.
  4. Never destroy on a whim. I’ve written thousands of words and when I look back I see trash, but amongst that trash is a gem.
  5. Find places to inspire you. The world is a treasure trove of ideas.

Writing Tips Wednesday – Previous Posts

What Does Your Author Platform Say About You?

Posted March 16, 2012.

Everything is a book cover. We spend our waking lives making judgements that impact on how we interact with the world around us. Consider the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” and why it simply doesn’t work. If you don’t judge a book by its Point of Sale advertisement how are we to know if we’re interested in the content? The same questions can be applied to anything in life – books, clothing, cars, holidays, candy, bunny rabbits and your author platform.

The Flow of Inspiration

Posted March 8, 2012.

If you keep your senses wide open inspiration can filter through to your inner writer. That’s the guy/gal who sits at the back of your mind. The one that takes notes when you’re not looking.

If I have one then I’m pretty sure you do to.

Do You Need An Agent?

Posted February 23, 2012.

If you’re a writer you need an agent. Apparently.

I don’t have one.  I’m not sure I need one for a while. After today’s surprisingly enjoyable editing session on my current writing project, a post apocalyptic novel called The Range, I was feeling in a good mood and figured I’d spend some time researching literary agents. Planning ahead and stuff.

Is Writing in your Soul?

Posted February 16, 2012.

Do you ever ask yourself if being a writer is not what you do but who you are? You may have a day job that pays the bills and keeps your head above water, this is what you do to get by but deep down you are a writer. You know this because you write. You do it because you must. You are compelled to write. Let’s face it, writing is an addiction.

Words = Candy!

Posted January 12, 2012.

You’re a writer. Writers don’t slouch around. They don’t ease themselves into things. They don’t mooch around on their PC’s, fiddling with a bit Facebook and Tweeting until their “free time” has been squandered on socialising. You call it socialising, or social networking, but what it really means is blindly staring at Facebook, either whilst watching TV or just filling in time until you’re ready to say you’ve been slaving over the PC for ages and should probably take a break.

5 Things Writing can teach us about Life.

Posted December 8, 2011.

Writing isn’t just about words, plots, characters and all that lovely wordage appearing on the screen as if by magic. Writing can reveal who you are and who you want to be, even if the story isn’t about you. Bits of the writer become imprinted into the fabric of the stories we weave, whether we realise it or not. And life can reflect what we write about and how our morals and principles in our fictional world can be put to good use in the real world.

NaNoWriMo – Winners Badge – But what next?

Posted November 25, 2011.

In the last 2 years I’ve leant a lot about writing and publishing, and how it’s changing so rapidly. But I’m still in the dark somewhat. I’m old school enough to want to see my novel in print on bookshelves in shops, but I’m keen to embrace the eBook world too.

The problem is not really knowing where to start. I have a copy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook that has a decent amount of resources. I read a lot of articles about publishing, eBooks, contracts and the like but how do I really know where to start? For me the prospect of earning money from my writing is an exciting one, it’s the fact of seeing my book in print that goes beyond cash.

So I have many questions.

The spirit of NaNoTeamIndy!

Posted November 16, 2011.

Yesterday I reached the 50,000 goal for my NaNo Novel and had a huge smile on my face. Today, before settling down to write more, I wanted to share a few bits and pieces with you about the importance of team spirit.

Are your characters believable?

Posted November 11, 2011.

It’s easy to pick a name at random, let’s say Harry, and make him dance to the tune of your plot. He can walk and talk and sing, just like a real life boy, but that doesn’t mean the reader will find Harry a believable character. You can spend countless hours outlining plots, chapters, key scenes and researching background for your story, but I often read stories where the characters have the same personality as a lump of soggy cardboard. There are a handful of things you can do to make your characters more real, likeable, relatable, believable and many other sorts of -able.

You can NaNo AND Edit!

Posted November 2, 2011.

It doesn’t matter if you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or not, these principles apply to any fiction writing. I’m talking about editing, correcting, tweaking, enhancing, rewriting and so on. Do you make changes as you go or leave them for later? If you spot a flaw what do you do?

Are you a Story Teller?

Posted October 27, 2011.

To some degree you can learn the nuts and bolts of how to arrange a plot or create believable characters, but to tell a story that captivates your audience requires much more than mere mechanics. In my experience the tools every good story-teller uses don’t come from a book, they come from within. The story-teller can dip into their imagination bucket and throw words across a page, creating vivid scenes the reader will want to keep in their memory long after the story has ended.

Cut the Crap!

Posted October 19, 2011.

I’ve read a fair bit about finding your “authors voice” and how best-selling authors have a unique style their fans will recognise. Give me a Stephen King book that has no reference to SK himself and I’ll be able to tell you who wrote it. Why? Because his style, voice, word play etc is unmistakable. The same goes for so many authors. Writers take time to perfect their craft and find their unique voice.

NaNoWriMo – Preparation Tips

Posted October 23, 2011.

Calm down fellow Wrimo! Take a deep breath. Relax. In and out. Okay. It’s not as bad as you think. There’s still plenty of time to get prepared for the crazy month of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) You don’t need to freak out before you get started, save those for the last week of the challenge. There’s no problem here that can’t be sorted out. In fact you shouldn’t call it a problem.

NaNoWriMo Inspiration!

Posted October 12, 2011.

As NaNoWriMo is fast approaching I’ve been reading through the forums. I stumbled across some inspirational desktop wallpaper designed by WriMo’s. You can search around if you like or click this link to see the calming serene desktop wallpaper designed to ease your writing chaos – not sure it works but hey, whatever floats your boat!

Write, the NaNoWriMo way!

Posted October 5, 2011.

At the start of November National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo – will be unleashed across the interweb. I say unleashed because it is akin to opening the flood gates and letting a torrent wordy goodness pour across the arid plains of your Word Desert. Not only will this event let you cultivate a lush crop of fictional treats but also drown your Doubt Demon. Be gone foul pest!

Accepting Criticism

Posted September 29, 2011.

It’s easy to be dismayed when reading what you think is a bad review or negative feedback, but it’s worth remembering that not all criticism is bad. When you ask for feedback you are opening yourself up to the real world, one that has largely been ignored because until that point it was just you and your imagination.

Dialogue Building Blocks

Posted September 21, 2011.

Recently I wrote about dialogue –Top 5 Tips for Writing Dialogue– and how it can add so much to your fiction writing than just words your characters say to one another. I’m always learning how to enrich my own writing, and since I love dialogue I’m keen to read all the advice I can. As a writer you should never stop learning, even the most dull topic may provide you with a snippet of information you didn’t know or hadn’t realised you needed.

Therefore I’ve gathered some links to other blogs and websites that relate to the topic of dialogue. They’re worth reading and you may find some gems amongst them to help with your writing journey.

Chase Your Rainbow

Posted September 14, 2011.

If it’s for fame and fortune then I suggest you try something else, Big Brother maybe. If you write for yourself, first and foremost, then you’re doing it for the right reasons. You have something in you that pushes you to tell stories, a need to create something out of nothing. Your imagination must have an outlet.

Know Your Genre

Posted September 9, 2011.

The literal world is bursting with a multitude of different styles of story telling. As a writer knowing how to identify these can be quite important when setting out on your fictional journey. That isn’t to say you should know exactly what kind of genre you intend to write about, just write and see what happens! It’s worth bearing in mind that if you’re writing a comedy about space aliens then it probably won’t fit into the Christian section.

Top 5 Tips for Writing Dialogue

Posted August 31, 2011.

There’s a lot more to writing dialogue than just jamming words between speech marks. As a writer you may be gifted in the art of narrative or plot building, but your readers will see if you fail to put such energy into your dialogue.

Proppa Grammar!

Posted August 24, 2011.

This weeks topic is inspired by a book entitled My Grammar and I by Caroline Taggart & J.A Wines. The tag line is “old school ways to sharpen your English” which is something I aspire to but never feel like I fully achieve. I have a very active imagination and a knack for telling a story but when it comes to grammar I often feel like I’m cheating – I know how to write compelling dialogue, at least I think I do, and I can string decent plot elements together to keep the reader busy, but some areas of my grammar certainly require improvement.

Hook & Hold

Posted August 17, 2011.

This weeks topic is brought to by Piglet in Portugalwho made a request in last weeksWriting Tips Wednesday – Writer’s Block? Seriously?This week I’ll be talking about how to grab a reader’s attention and keep them hooked with your mighty power of words! There is an art, or let’s say knack, to hooking the reader in, but the ability to hold a reader’s attention is based on various factors such as writing style, subject matter and how well it is communicated to the reader, not to mention how you present your writing, for tips on that subject see my post: Writing Tips Wednesday – Getting the layout right.

Writer’s Block? Seriously?

Posted August 10, 2011.

This might sound harsh but I just don’t get what the big deal is with writer’s block. You say you’re a writer so write. You sit with your pen and paper or at your PC and just put your fingers to work. For those without fingers I know there are other ways of getting that frenzy of creativity out of your brain and into reality.

Good Old Advice.

Posted August 3, 2011.

It’s been a hot and humid few days and the heat from my PC is melting my skin. So this week I’ve gathered together some links to help improve your writing.

Getting the Layout right.

Posted July 27, 2011.

Fiction writing isn’t just about the characters, places, worlds, plots, sub plots, dialogue, narrative etc. You can have the best story ever but if you can’t make it easy to read then your idea is unlikely to grow wings and fly. Well, it might, but it might take a while.Your story may well be the most beautiful, insightful, gripping thing ever written but if it looks like a turd sandwich not many people will spend their time reading it.

Top 10 Bad Advice for Fiction Writing!

Posted July 11, 2011.

How to avoid taking bad advice when writing fiction. Don’t get sucked in by poor words of supposed wisdom. If writing is your passion then you need to keep an open mind.

OneNote to rule them all!

Posted March 21, 2011.

Tips for using Microsoft’s OneNote to organise and update your research.

How I research stuff.

Posted March 20, 2011.

My Top 10 Research Tips. Remember that not all research can or should be done online. Getting out and about in the real world is every bit as important as copy & paste.

Character creation.

Posted March 19, 2011.

Tips for Creating a Character. This element of writing can be challenging but it’s also so much fun! Appearance, personality, how to keep track of descriptions and how to make a start.

Setting the scene.

Posted March 18, 2011.

7 Tips For Scene Setting. Think about the senses – what’s that smell? Can you hear something? Urgh, that feels disgusting! OMG did you see that?

How I write.

Posted March 17, 2011.

A personal reflection on how I write, from sitting in perfect silence or listening to thumping dance tunes and hitting “the zone.”

Why I write.

Posted March 16, 2011.

I have passion for creation, a need to build characters and tell a story. Every other interest I’ve had in my life has been a mere blip compared to the drug that is writing.

Links to writing resources, tips, ideas and writing prompts.

Kristen Lamb’s Blog

The Warrior Writer Blog is dedicated to teaching authors tactics to survive and thrive in the new paradigm of publishing. The information presented here is designed not only to improve your writing and marketing skills, but to develop the character strength of the elite writer.

50 of the Best Websites for Writers

There are tons of reference sites on the web that can help you find a job or write a poem, essay or story. Here is a list of the best 50 websites for writers.

Copyblogger

A bloggers recourse for all blog related activity, from driving visitors to your blog and getting people to subscribe to writing tips and how to write compelling articles. There is a huge wealth of information here!

Paperrater.com

A free service that offers visitors the ability to have a free online check of your written stuff – it checks for things like grammar, spelling, text style, plagiarism issues, writing suggestions and other surprisingly useful tips.

Copyrightservice.co.uk

Copyright is an automatic right and arises whenever an individual or company creates a work. To qualify, a work should be regarded as original, and exhibit a degree of labour, skill or judgement.

Creativecommons.org

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Online

A superb resource that helps writers make it into print and develop their career.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Writing Tips

  1. Dave – Thank you for taking the effor to put this together. For somebody like me who has just started indulging in this passion at middle-age, this is extremely useful and I am sure will continue to be so…

    • Hi Aviral, and thanks for your comment. This section sometimes needs updating so I keep forgetting to add all the new bits. Glad you found it useful, and long may Imaginationland welcome you!

  2. Pingback: Wednesday Writers Group: Verbiage » Indigo Spider

Comments are closed.