Writing Advice Given to Me

HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN IDEA FOR A NOVEL–A SNIPPET OF CONVERSATION HEARD IN YOUR MIND– A SCENE, FELT IN YOUR HEART, but not known where to start? Beginning a new novel can feel like staring out over a new horizon-enticing but daunting. Leafy shadows or too bright sun can obscure your vision until you simply turn away from the entire prospect. Well, just–begin! Plunge in ANY way that works. Here’s some great advice from editors, agents, readers, fellow writers, and mentors I met along my journey- a journey that still continues.

  • Write from the heart.
  • Take a conversational stance.
  • Use all five senses.
  • Needs more life, not a travelogue, or reader will feel removed from the scene.
  • Stay in the moment.
  • Don’t over-edit and add yet more words.
  • ‘Your descriptions could reach a more particular level at times.’ Particular doesn’t mean longer!
  • Avoid qualifiers (a few, some, rather, etc.)
  • Don’t repeat a word too closely within a paragraph or page.
  • Be picky about similes and don’t use too many.
  • Where appropriate, add contractions to lighten tone.
  • Don’t tell too much in dialogue—or elsewhere.
  • When appropriate, bury your dialogue tags mid-dialogue.
  • Avoid preceding dialogue with a narrative line so you don’t break the flow.
  • Remember:  ‘Rhythm parallels voice.’ Berkshires Aug 2011 042




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