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Writer’s Tips

My Writing Tips

I’m often asked what makes me write. Sometimes people want to know what makes me sit down and want to spin a yarn about something I totally fabricate. Because I spend several times a year attending writing conferences, I hear all kinds of reasons why people write. Many of them are surprising! So I’ll answer the question what makes me write, and share some tips that have helped me and others complete writing projects.

1. Tip #1: A good idea.

I happen to have a job where I interact with different groups of people all the time, in different settings and backgrounds, and I get to hear a lot about the way people think and the opinions they share. I get a wealth of ideas from these interactions. Often, just one little remark sparks an idea that I can expand and create a story around.

Yet, I have heard other writers say that they sit at a computer and try to start the creative process from a blank page! I could never do that. As long as I have an interesting idea, and I know how it will end, I can create.

2. Tip#2: A rough outline.

One of the things I’ve learned from several writing conferences is that writers often identify themselves as “plotters” or “pantsers.” The plotters plan their stories out, the pantsers take an idea, sit down and let the story unfold. I am basically a “plotty-pantser”. I know how my story begins and ends, I know the hero and heroine, I know the plot—what the heroine wants and who’s keeping her from getting it, and I write. After three chapters I do a rough outline of how the rest of the story will unfold. From this outline, I write the story in blocks of time, not an hour each morning, but days in a row.

3. Tip#3 Time to do it.

Once I know my characters and what my story will be about, I take the time to write it. I’ll take a whole weekend to write.  I’ll write straight through  my days off. I do better as a “get-the-book-written-in-six-weeks” type of writer, so I don’t forget my characters, what they want, and what they are going through to get it.

4. Tip#4: Excitement for the story.

 If you don’t like your characters or care about what happens to them, neither will anyone else. If it’s a story you thought about, but once you start, you don’t like how it’s unfolding, just stop and come back with a fresh eye. You will be motivated to write and finish a story that you enjoy telling.

5. Tip#5: Having someone to read it.

I’ve had different types of readers in the past, but I think a good, critical reader is something you can’t do without. My husband gets the star for having a critical eye. A critical reader is someone who can pick out the inconsistencies in the story or characters and help you make your book believable.  Grammar and formatting are things best left to copy editors, but for story impact, you need an interested reader.