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For the aspiring writer, that first break into print can be an elusive thing - but firstwriter.com is here to try and help you do it. The following tips have been compiled from those who know best - the people who have already done it. If you're one of those lucky few, and have any gems of your own to impart, please click here

 

Polishing Your Manuscript
All too often, potentially brilliant pieces of writing are discarded simply because they appear amateurish, all for the sake of a little time and effort spent getting the details right - don't let your manuscript be one of those!
  • Don't let your work down with silly errors. Typing errors and poorly thought out sentence construction might make an editor laugh but they won't make them accept your work. Spell checkers won't pick up on common mistakes like there / their or your / you're, and grammar checkers won't help you with issues like which quotation marks to use when, and how to punctuate around brackets. The key message is to always have your work proof-read by a professional. Editors are trained to pick out little mistakes that most people wouldn't even recognise, so this is imperative in order to get your work up to their standards. For details of available proof reading services (and some hilarious misprints demonstrating the dangers of not proof reading) click here
  • Due to the volume of submissions editors receive it is rare to get detailed feedback on your work, but without feedback you can't learn what editors are looking for and how to get your work published - this is the problem which leads to so many potential writers spending their whole lives writing aimlessly, going round in circles, piling up the rejections and never learning how to make that crucial breakthrough. To avoid this you can submit your work to editors for critical appraisals of your work. They'll give you handy hints and tips, proof read your work, and point you in the right direction at the same time. It doesn't cost the Earth, but it could be the difference between getting published and not! For details click here

 

 

Finding the perfect literary agent

Thanks to Jesus Baez  

I know that most of us dream of being published and having our books become movies and sell like Harry Potter. Well people, the first step to that is a literary agent. Now, you must be thinking "what the hell do I need an agent for? What's her use?" There is only one answer for this: you need her for everything. Agents are a must now a days and to find one is extremely difficult. Some are snotty and some are sweet. Some can be really great and others can be a pain in the butt. For this, let me give you some tips on finding the perfect agents:
  1. Look for an agent that matches your work
    Make sure that they specialise in it or it is one of the areas they can work with.
  2. Never pay reading fees
    If they charge you, then they're a fake!
  3. Check if they are a Member of AAR
    Usually these types are the good ones. If they aren't then do more homework on them
  4. Do your homework
    I know what you're saying: "Homework? I get enough of it at school"; or "I finished that a long time ago!" You can say either one of them and it will mean the difference between an "A" or an "F".
    To get an "A" you must find at least 10 agents you want to submit to and then research them. Go on the internet, or might I recommend 2004 guide to literary agents. This book is chucked with info that will help you in the long run.
    To get an "F": don't research the agent and end up calling Jane Doe "Mr Doe" in your query, which will most likely give you the biggest rejection you query could get: a garbage can entrance.
  5. Be a professional
    Don't even think about sending golf ball tees to an agent if you're writing about golf, or bloody ink if you're writing a horror story: not only does it look unprofessional, it is pure stupidity! Look like you know what you're talking about. Be smart. Be seductive with your book and nothing else. Believe me, I read once that an agent was seduced by a client with a nude photo saying she wanted to "fondle his adjective". Don't be this stupid.
  6. Be nice and be patient
    The worst nightmare of any agent is someone who calls them every day and asks "What's new, Gina?" or "Who did you show my book to?" Believe me, this makes them want to kill you. Be nice. Kimberley Cameron once wrote she would rather work with a good writer with a nice personality then an exceptional writer with the personality of Joan Crawford with her kids. Be nice and be patient.

So now that you've got these tips start searching (of course your Manuscript should be finished, first), and when you find one, pat yourself on the back. Good luck.

    
Read and write

 

These two tips are painfully obvious, yet many people neglect to do them.

Write:
This is a 'No duh' thing, however many aspiring writers want to skip the writing part Ė this is not possible. Try to write everyday. Get a journal and write about how your day was, how you feel. Write stories. You have probably seen a show or read a book and made up a character that could fit perfectly into a later adventure or an adventure with the official characters. This is called fanfiction. Most people don't write fanfiction because it will never be published. But if you don't write down the story the muse will float around in your head for a long time. Write down the story, then submit it to Fanficton.net or submit it to a free-standing fanfiction site.

Read:
The more you read, the better your writing will be. Do NOT only read the type of books that you plan to write. Read romance, mystery, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, everything. In turn the different situations in the many genres will make your stories more interesting.

  
Three Steps to Publication

Thanks to Kimberley Freeman  

There are three basic steps to publication. 1. Apply Butt to Chair and write everyday. Despite the notion of writing being a mysterious, romantic endeavour, it's basically a skill that improves with practice. 2. Write to please yourself, and don't worry so much about "What's selling," and "what's hot." Entertain yourself and you'll find that others are entertained, too. 3. Hire a professional copy editor before sending your work to agents, literary journals, even your mother. And that's after you've written several drafts and made it as good and tight as you possibly can. After mastering the above three rules, publication is a matter of timing and perseverance.
  
Learn from other authors

Thanks to Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Mistakes are costly, no matter what the situation. They may cost your money or your reputation. You may lose faith in yourself and your ability. Sometimes they cost people their very dreams since many authors and artists don't recover from bad experiences to go on, persevere and get published or recognised.
  • So be informed. Get all the information you can before you sign a contract. Check company statistics, personal background information on the people involved, credentials of the Attorney(s), CPA, CFO and CEO's of the organization. Check with local and national Better Business Bureau's to see if there's any information. If it's a new publisher, ask for business plans, financial records, something to ensure they are legitimate.
  • Check agents out with AAAR (Association of Author and Artist Representatives). Check places like Predators and Editors and inquire of other authors. But be careful not to believe everything you hear or read.
  • Be wise. If you get a contract with a new or even bigger publishing company, try and negotiate keeping your existing contract intact for sometime(especially if you are self or E-published). Many publishing houses take up to 2 years to get your book(s) on the shelves, don't lose out on that precious time to promote your existing career! Don't get swept away by what 'might be' and never give away control of any existing books you still have.
  • Be discerning and be patient, it takes time and perserverance to establish any career! Especially writing.
  • Most of all, be loyal. To yourself and to your integrity. If you have a bad or negative experience, warn others without trashing someone else. We all have big dreams. We all experience the not-so-good in life. We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect. So, remember the Golden Rule and don't exalt yourself by lowering someone else in other's eyes.

Though it is my prayer that this information will help you avoid mistakes in your own career, chances are you'll still make plenty. But don't quit. What you have to say as a writer, poet or artist is important, so persevere, hang in there and don't give up!

Adopted from the article Beware and Be Smart (c) 2004

Author Bio:  Pamela S. Thibodeaux is a member and co-founder of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana and a member of and ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers). A multi-published author in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, "Inspirational with an Edge!"  Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com   Email: pthib-7@centurytel.net

Independence

Thanks to Paul Thomason

I am a lifelong author of fiction, essays and poetry and have been variously employed over the years as a newspaper columnist, an award-winning magazine journalist, online content editor for several market-leading websites and press officer for both an independent film company and a voluntary organisation which aimed to raise awareness of peace issues within local schools. Basically folks, I know whereof I speak...

1. Pay attention in English class. Seriously. Writing is a craft and as with all crafts, there is a set of skills which you must master to be proficient. Learn the rules of grammar and composition, of sentence construction, of how the language works. Turn off the grammar and spell checkers, learn the skills yourself. You wouldn't allow an untrained person to perform surgery on you, would you? Or build your house? Fly your aeroplane? Why then, should you come  to the blank page (and ultimately, your readers) without the skills necessary for the task. Learn the basics, okay?

2. Omit needless words. (Strunk & White, Elements Of Composition, Rule 17)

3. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read some more. Read again. When you're done with that, relax with a book. Then go and read. Read the classics, read trash, read best sellers, read the back of cereal packets. See how it's done by people good enough to be paid to do it. Every book, every page has lessons for you.

4. Write what you know. Inform your work with your knowledge and life experience. Know your ouvre, your genre, inside out. If you want to write a haiku about heartbreak for instance, you need to know how heartbreak feels.

5. Practise. The more you write the more proficient you will become. Think of it in the same terms as learning a musical instrument - when the skills become second nature, you'll really be able to fly.

6. Don't be naive about the industry. Copyright your work properly, keep good records, have contracts checked by legal professionals, check out potential agents, publishers etc. Beware vanity press - if you're a good writer, they should be paying you, not the other way round.

7. Realise that talent is cheap. Dedication and endless practise however, are not. Lots of talented writers drivin' trucks for a living, if you catch my drift!

  

Agency scams

Thanks to Eileen Drew

Do not trust to send all your work to anyone before reading all about Literary Agents who keep you on a string and charge for critiques. They do not advertise on firstwriter.com but Google. Thank you firstwriter.com for the tips, but I was too late.

 

Independence

Thanks to Kobby Smith

It is most great to be independent when writing. Gradually allow the senses to create. Subdue the influences from the environment and let the mind release the first idea. You can then polish it with the time called "free thinking space." There your writing will grow in a relaxed spirit and attract the editors who are considered 'stubborn.'

 

Persistence

Thanks to Jenny Smedley

Persistence - this is a word I've seen used a lot, and I used to misunderstand it. I used to think that it just meant keep trying. It means that but the important words that are missing are 'with passion'. You have to have persistent passion for your writing, and the subject of it.

So, only write about something you feel passionately about.

I had to have the first edition of my book Ripples, published privately by a sponsor. Then followed two years of promotion, promotion and tireless promotion. Most people would have given up, possibly. Finally an honest-to-goodness real-life publisher took my book and published it professionally.

So my tip would be that you have to believe in your book - really believe in it - to make others do the same.

Simplicity

Thanks to Trupti

Be very honest with your writing. Don't make your work flashy by using words that are not required. Judge the requirement of the words you use clearly.
  
Comfort Zone

Thanks to Dylan J. Tate

My tip to all the writers-to-be out there is to find your comfort zone. Once you know what it is that you want to write, jot down some of those cool ideas and use them in your story (or stories). And keep a notebook and pen with you at all times!! You may never know when a rockin' idea will zoom through your head - chances are if you don't write them down, you'll forget and be frustrated! Happy writing!
  
Details

Thanks to Howard Hoy

The most fundamental rule for all writing is to continually ask yourself questions about every aspect of your work. Even the most simple questions about what, for example, is on a shelf in the room of a character will provide knowledge which even if you don't use it will be there in your mind. If you don't ask enough questions your writing will never acquire depth. What? When? Why? How?
  
Message

Thanks to Hayley

Whenever you write a poem, try to think of the subject and the message you want to get across to whichever age audience you're writing for. Otherwise your poem will just be a bunch of pretty words.
  
Public speaking

Thanks to Charlotte Barrett

One of the most important organisations I have gone to in my life is Toastmasters. Wouldn't one of the most beautiful ways to test out your writing skills is to stand up and do a speech in front of a crowd! Believe me it is one of the most rewarding and satisfying adventures you could possibly go on. Remember one day you might write a famous book and you will be expected to present it to people. This can be a terrifying experience for a lot of people. I am only just beginning to try and go out to the world with my writing and it is all because of Toastmasters. I have given seven speeches in Toastmasters so far and I have won best speaker on each and every one of them so far! I am absolutely stunned! It also teaches you amazing organisational skills and plenty of other jobs to learn other skills. But I am not going to tell you anymore. Find a Toastmasters club near you and go along straight away. I promise you that it will be one of the greatest decisions you will ever have made in your life and it is great fun!
  
Records

Thanks to Nicola Jane

Always make sure to keep an inventory of everything you intend on sending to a publisher or the like.
  
Write Frame of Mind

Thanks to Kathleen Gentile

Unfettered brainstorming is essential to writing, no matter what the genre. Relax in a quiet place with pen and paper (computers are fine too, if preferred) and just write. When the editor inside tries to take over, turn it off. It doesn't matter what the topic is, just let the words flow and soon they will take on a life of their own. This is a great way to develop new ideas or breathe new life into old ones. And, with practice, mastering this technique can help revitalize the writer's spirit to conquer burnout or writer's block.
  
"Style is the man himself"

Thanks to Nazia Nazar

It is said "Style is the man himself", so always remember that whatever you are writing is representing your own self and disclosing the hidden aspects of your thinking and personality, so be careful about the quality rather than the quantity. Be honest with your creative writing and whenever you feel a relief just as if you have come out of a fatal pain then be contented that you have created a best piece of writing. Always remember that practice makes a man perfect, so do lot and lot of practice work to polish your inherent talent.
  
Revision

Thanks to VonGuard

Revise. Revise. Revise. Though it may hurt, be boring, and seem repetitive, revise, revise, revise, and revise again.
  
Writing Style
Style is a very subjective thing, and what works for one person won't necessarily for another, but there are nevertheless a few basic, general rules you can adhere to in order to make your writing that little bit more editor-friendly.
  • Adjectives: a dead giveaway for amateur writing is that there are always far too many adjectives. A door is never simply 'a door', but always 'a big, imposing, rust-ridden door'. A good exercise is to go through your work and strip out all the adjectives, then set yourself a quota (say two adjectives per page). You'll find that by thinking so carefully about each adjective you'll make much better use of them, and the rest of the text, once simplified by the removal of excess adjectives, will flow much better. The overall result will seem far more professional, and will be far more likely to be accepted by an editor.
  • Exclamation marks(!): exclamation marks are another favourite for amateur writers, who tend to use them as a substitute for genuinely powerful writing! They are used to prop up weak jokes! 'Emphasise' weak points! And add 'excitement' to weak prose! Writing that uses lots of exclamation marks will inevitably read like an endless advert, and is unlikely to attract the favourable attentions of an editor!
  • Reporting Speech: People often get confused over what exactly the rules are for reporting speech - and that's largely because there aren't any fixed rules for reporting speech. British writers use mainly single quotation marks, American ones mainly double, and then there are writers like Joyce who use neither, opting instead for an introductory dash. Some writers always begin a new paragraph when reporting speech, others vary. The choice of exactly how you denote reported speech is yours, but what is important is that once you've chosen your method you stick to it. Inconsistency will make your writing hard to follow and confusing.
     
    (NB: When using quotation marks within quotation marks always alternate between single and double, e.g.: 'John said "oh yes, it's really 'helpful', isn't it?" ' )

 

Getting the Right Market
Style is subjective. Some editors like stories that are practically film scripts - made up almost entirely of direct speech with almost no narrative at all - while the same approach will drive other editors up the wall. No matter what your style, there is probably a market out there for it - it's just finding it that can be a problem!

It's always a good idea to read the magazines you're thinking of submitting to, but don't try and tailor your writing to a particular magazine, as all you'll end up doing is creating pale imitations of stories from earlier issues. You need to find a magazine which suits your style, and since you probably can't afford to subscribe to all of them the best way of doing this is by using the firstwriter.directory. It's continually updated, and it has much more information on each magazine than either The Writers' Handbook or The Small Press Guide. This will give you a good idea of which magazines will be suitable, and details on how to buy copies, so that you can gauge exactly the tone of each one. It's worth spending that little bit of money to get to know a magazine - even if it only saves you wasting postage sending material to inappropriate magazines.

 

Getting your Work Noticed
Even though it's impossible to subscribe to every small press magazine, it's important to subscribe to at least one, so that you can keep tabs on what's going on in the small press world. As a subscriber you're also likely to get preferential treatment when submitting work, even if it's not overtly stated in the magazine's literature. firstwriter.magazine is a good choice, because it is a good, general literary magazine which deals in both poetry and fiction, so you should be able to submit almost anything you write there. You'll also save a lot of money because of the low subscription rates, and the fact that you can submit material electronically.

Think about foreign markets: lots of small press editors are keen to create a cosmopolitan image for their magazines by accepting foreign submissions, so by submitting to an American or Australian magazine you could be increasing your chances of acceptance. Check out the firstwriter.directory when it is expanded soon to include magazines from across the world.

Above all, get involved in the small press world! Support the magazines, and if there's one near you why not do some voluntary work for them? Small press editors have a hard time of things and so tend to be keen to support each other whenever they can.

  
Write with emotion

Thanks to Miles Hodge

Write with the pen of emotion. Poetry is not something just anyone can do. Always have the inspiration, time, and focused mind when writing. Poetry is an expression used to engrave your feelings and emotions on paper. What can't be spoken can still be heard, understood, and recognised.
  
Get a good topic

Thanks to Sasha Seddon

Think of a really good topic and then let the rest of the writing come naturally; if its weird but from the heart that's important and proper writing!
Write from life

Thanks to James Thorn

When writing about aspects of life use your feelings and own experiences to help influence your writings. this will make it really easy for readers to get a feel for things and will show a deeper understanding.
  
Never give up

Thanks to Toni Thrasher

Never, ever give up! I've been writing for eight years, and I don't know half the stuff that writers should know, and I've never had a book published. But I never give up, because I will get something published one day.
Drafts

Thanks to Judy

The best strategy for writing your story is drafts and rewritten drafts.
Study the market

Thanks to Nalini S. Malaviya

Study the market. This cannot be stressed enough. There are endless options – newspapers, weeklies, magazines etc and each of these cater to a different clientele, while they each have specific writing styles. What and how you write for a newspaper (and I don't mean a news report) would be very different for a women's or travel magazine. It really helps to gear your writing in terms of content, style and references to the publication. This little bit if homework will also increase your chances of getting your work published.
Write for yourself

Thanks to Sarah

When you come up with an idea, don't be stressed that it's not good enough. You must expand and use your imagination to create the ideal story that fits your interest. Many get ideas from their own experience, but if you don't have many experiences, write about something that you really know about, or something that you would like to read about (don't think of what the reader will like).
Reasons for rejection

Thanks to Patrika Vaughn (The Author's Advocate)

There are seven reasons why manuscripts are typically rejected by publishers. The first of these is The Hookless Beginning. 

All writings have a beginning, middle and end.  Each of these has a job to do. The job of your beginning is to hook your readers (and that includes editors, who are your first readers!) This is done by setting the tone, creating the scene and enticing readers with a promise of what you're work will deliver. You have only a few paragraphs to do this. You have to grab readers' attention fast, before they have a chance to lose interest and reach for the remote control.

There are several ways to grab them.  They all boil down to starting with something intriguing.  It can be an event, a setting, an image, an insight, a character, or even an unusual writing style.

If you'd like to know more about this and the other six reasons, check out my website: www.acappela.com

 
Use of "said"

Thanks to Elisabeth

A big mistake that most writers make is trying to find synonyms for the words, "said" or "asked." Your story or poem will be full of words like: blabbed, hollered, quoted, proclaimed, whispered, yelled, questioned, inquired, and stated. Your work shouldn't be full of the words "said" alone, either, so try using descriptive synonyms if your character is talking a certain way. You can use: mumbled if someone is talking quietly, laughed if someone is saying a joke, complained if someone is whining, but if a person is talking regularly, don't feel like you cannot use the word, "said" unless your story is stuffed with "said."
References and detail

Thanks to Joan and Savannah

Many references can come in handy when you start writing. You can use a dictionary or a thesaurus to find fancy words or words that fit perfectly for what you are describing. You might be able to find sites with expressions or use sites for research.

It is extremely important to make sure you know exactly what you mean when you are writing and that your work does not get you confused. Make sure you have the right words and strong detail to describe something. Too many adjectives are not necessary. Just make sure you are satisfied with what you are writing.

As you go along, you can edit yourself and make things better, but don't cramp the pages with vocabulary words and details.

Also, when you finish you piece of writing, you usually have all the time you want to revise and go through what may not be clear to a reader.

Just because you may know what you are writing about and understand yourself what you are trying to say, imagine yourself as the reader.

Remember: don't use too many adjectives, but still make it that the reader can feel, see, hear, smell, and taste what the main character is going through. This brings a big effect to the reader and makes your writing sound more interesting.

This is when various sources become practical. Look deeper and find things that can help. Don't just sit there and think you are finished when you can put preciseness in your story.

If you think you have put in enough and you are completely satisfied with your story plot, "Bling Bling!" You can go on to farther and more difficult steps to share your writing to the world.

 
Inspiration

Thanks to Rachael Torrance

Look for inspiration wherever you are in the world.  Even if you are doing something really basic like being on a journey, keep a lookout for interesting people you could base a character on, for example.
Editing

Thanks to Shelly Connor

No matter what, always edit your work because if you don't, there can be many mistakes and blunders and grammatical errors. A piece of writing can never be edited too much.
Submitting

Thanks to Ellie

Send the same story/poem to different publishers, and gather an overall opinion.
 
Confidence

Thanks to Carly

Your writing must be clear, interesting and you have to have complete confidence in your writing also. If you don't have confidence in your writing, it probably wont sound good to you. And if you have confidence in your writing, you will feel more comfortable with it and you will get farther with writing yourself!
Reread

Thanks to Sofi  

When you write, be sure to read over your writing as if you were another person – a complete stranger – that just picked up your writing in a store. Ask yourself "does this really make sense" or "do I really need this?". Take my word... it works!
Professionalism

Thanks to J Curtis Johnson  

As a still struggling writer, I am surprised to see one key piece of advice lacking on this page: be professional. Though I love to read and write and do so out of love for the craft, I discovered early on that the publishing world is a brutal one. The only way to have the remotest chance of getting your work read is to look like you know what you're doing. No matter the quality of your work, it is imperative not to lose sight of the fact that this is a job. It involves hard work, and a constantly polished professionalism.
 
Publicity

Thanks to Joe Wolfe  

When your work is completed, advertise it free at NewBookList.com.
Early writing

Thanks to Darby Diana  

Arise early with your mind and write daily.
 
Focus

Thanks to Grace Wilson  

Stay on task when writing poems you do much better and you may get further.
 
Emotions

  

I have been writing for a while now and what I find is when listening to classical music or ballads, your emotional level sky-rockets.
 
Beating writers' block

  

When you get really stuck in a writers block, it usually means break time. When you have that refreshing break, listen to music, lye in bed or take a shower, then, in your peace of mind, I nearly guarantee you that you will find an idea to get you through that hard part of your story.
 
Write for yourself

  

What I have found is that when you are writing specifically to be read or to get published, you lose that joy and excitement of actually writing and, therefore, your story loses that important key to it – the key of emotion. So my principal, and I hope yours will be too, is to write not for others but purely for yourself and your own enjoy and leave the editing and muck- ups for when you think that the story you wrote fully with your heart is really destined for success. Believe me, if you write just for others to enjoy, you will get sick and tired of writing really quickly.
Channel emotions

   Thanks to Yolanda  

When you come to the part when your character is just bubbling with emotions, I reckon it is best for you to be really sad or angry, then you can vent all your frustration into words for a character and so the reader will find that the writing is so real while you don't go whacking someone's head off due to that anger that everyone experiences some time or another.
 
Soul and heart

   Thanks to Darby Diana  

Write with an open soul and a loving heart, let the words be your sunshine.
 
Independence

   Thanks to Christine  

To write you have to learn to be yourself and write in your own terms. Don't let what someone else thinks distract your writing ability.
 
Story-form

   Thanks to Samone Riely  

Always write in a story-like form. Don't write stories as if you were writing a book report. That type of stuff irritates your reader and allows them to flee from the meaning of the story. Always include settings and try to write eloquently whenever you can. This is very important. And always try your best. And read!
 
Keep in touch

   Thanks to Jayanthi Manoj  

Writing is a gift with an art which expresses the mind. But this art of expression has to be a continuous exercise. Practice enhances style, chisels extravagant expression, masters the economy in the use of words and polishes the presentation.

To carve a niche for yourself in the field of writing it is important to adopt self writing schemes. There are two important ways to upgrade your skill.

1.Never let go an inspiration unnoticed. Make sure that you put it in black and white.
2.At the end the day check whether you have written a few lines to your credit. If not ,write on an easy subject to keep in touch. Let not the sun go down on empty work.

These two yardsticks will always help in the growth of the writer in YOU.

Remember the writer in you is important. so keep in touch with him/her.

 
Ideas

   Thanks to Victoria  

When you are writing a story, just go into a quiet room, close your eyes, and once you feel comfortable, start jotting any ideas that you have.
 
Style

   Thanks to Geoffrey Williams  

Your style is your style and will shine through no matter what. Don't be afraid to tell the truth, even if you or your characters look "bad" or do "bad things".  Forget about politically correct positions and liberal thought patterns vs.  consvervative thought patterns. 
 
Remember why you started

   Thanks to Amy J.  

When the time comes that you have finished your masterpiece, or are experiencing a bout of Writer's Block, I find it helps considerably to remember exactly why I began writing.  This has helped me out of Writer's Block on many occasions, so I very rarely experience it. If you want to tell a story, if you want the world to know your story, then remember that. I have found this concept especially useful since finishing my first book, as I have been terrified of sending my precious "baby" off to a big, mean agent or publisher. I began writing with the intent to become more than just a writer – we're all writers, all of us who have ever sat down at a keyboard or picked up a pen, and jotted down our ideas.  What makes the difference is that we all want to become PUBLISHED authors, and that can only happen if you decide to take that risk, and hope you achieve your original dream.
 
Read!

   Thanks to Jonathan  

It's amazing how many so-called writers forget to read! After all, if nobody reads, nobody gets to read your work! Read books of any genre, any topic, any place you can. Very quickly you'll say to yourself "I can write better than that" or "I can write a better story about x".

Go on, try reading! It's worth every writer's time!

 
Be yourself

   Thanks to Jasmine Robinson  

Its good to always be yourself when your writing and always express yourself.
 
Post-it notes

   Thanks to Rhiannon Satis  

Post it notes, those yellow, sticky backed things that office workers use so much, were actually invented for writers. When you are in the flow of your story and you realise you missed Melissa even buying the poodle she is now making such a fuss of, don't go back and fix it then or else you've lost the flow of the current paragraph when you return to it.  Instead, scribble a hasty note on a friendly post it and stick it on the manuscript.  Post it notes are also handy when you have thoughts that are for revision, not the current draft - check that they did make that weapon in 1642, develop the argument between these two a bit more - the post it reminds you so you loose neither the important thought nor waste time that could be spent writing with stuff that can be deferred till later.
 
Respect editors

   Thanks to The Dabbling Mum.com  

Respect editors. Whether it's a small paying publication or a publication that pays a dollar a word, respect the editor.  Don't argue over a rejection, don't call the editor unprofessional for not sending a rejection or acceptance letter (you never know if your response got lost), and always thank the editor for an acceptance. When editors feel respected, they'll keep that writer in mind for future assignments.

To learn more about the process of querying publications, visit http://thedabblingmum.com/joinezine.htm for a free e-book on Query Letters and Published Samples.

 
Chronological order

   Thanks to Amy Jones  

If you're writing a story, don't force yourself to write it chronological order. If you have the perfect ending, middle of beginning in your head, write it down before it gets out again. This also works if you have no idea what the rest of the stories is. My best short story was created when I had one scene written and everything else was written around it.
 
Chronological order

   Thanks to Ronni Tschudy  

You can improve your writing easily and just as easy become a better writer by rereading over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. I am telling you now IT WORKS! I have caught places where I have used words twice, or found run-ons, or have used "said" to much or I have just misspelled words. CHECK YOUR WORK!
 
Focus

   Thanks to Inuyasha Girl  

Focus on one subject and one plot, otherwise your story will get all messed up. And it would be better if you wrote it down as well so you won't forget what your plot is about and get lost in your story, or make it worse if you've already messed up. So good luck in all the good stories and all the messed up and bad stories and don't forget to just have fun doing it!
 
Continuity

   Thanks to Jeanne and Sasha 

Writing can often get out of hand if you forget details you have earlier put in and then contradict what you were saying before. Make sure to reread before you continue writing each time. Make notes for yourself while rereading so that you can remember what to add in and what needs to be changed in the text.

If you notice mistakes as you are rereading that don't fit into your story plot, take wise precautions as you delete words, sentences, and paragraphs. While you edit your work by taking out phrases that you don't want or need, make sure it still all fits in and that it doesn't seem obvious that something used to be between two paragraphs. Therefore, always reread to determine that everything makes sense and that everything is clear and detailed.

If you love writing and if that's one of your ultimate passions, no mistake this small should stop your pieces of art from succeeding.

 
Persistence

   Thanks to Penny Jagger 

Never give up! Read lots of books – this will inspire you to write more! Write about all sorts of subjects – horror, fantasy, girls books, anything that interests you! Look online for writing tips and also keep a journal or diary to record your feelings. Write every day and you're well on your way to success!
 
Descriptions

   Thanks to Sam 

Descriptions are essential, but don't bog your work down with them. If one word will fit the description perfectly, especially in nonfiction, don't use ten.  This not only keeps readers from getting bored, but also saves on printing costs. Remember that dialogues are a form of description, they show the mindset of your characters. Keep things short and simple, as well, don't use a word that's ten miles long when a three letter word will do, or a word that is archaic, hard to understand, etc. when a commonly used word or phrase will do. In effect, KISS, Keep It Simple Sweetheart.
 
Various tips

   Thanks to John of Neath 

Don't fall out with your friends when they say you write like a 2-year-old...unless you're a 1-year-old. Always warm the pot when making tea.  You'll be doing a lot of tea-making so you may as well get it right. When rejected, don't write to the editor and call him/her a bastard. Sounds obvious but it's amazing how often I've done it. After you've been writing a long time and money's short, don't eat or smoke oak leaves, they're full of arsenic. Mind you, after Volume 40 of rejection slips, you may want to. Don't write, there's no money in it. Instead, get into the critique business, or agenting, or run a site like this. That's what I did: http://shortstorymarkets.bravehost.com/. Find a really good story that's been written by someone famous and submit it to magazines in your own name to see if they notice.  If they don't, keep the cheque and tell nobody. If People's Friend offer you a payment, take it. They used to negotiate but now they just send your MS back if you try. They used to need writers but now they don't.
 
Keep writing

   Thanks to Horace Williams 

Write everyday. Try to complete at least one chapter per day, or at least, write as much as you can. It must be routine, it must be a habit. Try not to have "writer's block" affect your creative flow. If this happens, try to get inspiration and ideas from the television, radio, newspapers, books, everyday experiences and people with whom you come into contact.
 
Say "no"

   Thanks to John Hursey 

If this applies to you then it will probably run counter to everything that you feel as a writer, but you should never make a habit of writing under the influence.  Although many of our best writers were addicts, most of their best writing came from moments of sobriety when they allowed their discipline to take hold of their addiction.  What you do in your free time is up to you, but if writing is your job, then while you're on the clock there should be a strict zero-tolerance policy.     
 
Writing without publication

   Thanks to Jen O'Connell 

Even if you never get published and nobody ever reads your written word - you are still serving a purpose. Perhaps it's nothing more than exploring a part of yourself,  recognising how much you deeply care about a topic or gaining a sense of personal accomplishment - as long as it comes from your heart, there is great meaning to the exercise. Dig deep into that part of your soul which inspires you and continue to search. There is a story inside each one of us that is waiting to be told.    
 
Selling your book

   Thanks to Patrika Vaughn 

...a very different process from writing it, but a goal you should have in mind during the writing process. Why? Because many factors affecting the financial success of your book should affect the way it is written and the timing in releasing it.

First, you need to know if there is an audience for your book. Are there others like it that are selling well? If so, good - but you also need to position your book by knowing what about it is unique.

Your writing style will be effected by your audience. Do you know who your readers are? Their age range, marital status, occupations? It's important to develop a profile of your readers in order to write to your audience.

If yours is a non-fiction book, you'll need to make sure all the information in it is current and is material your audience is looking for. A good way to find this out is to pay attention to what the media is talking and writing about. Teach a class or give a seminar to get in touch with your audience and discover what they want.

Last but not least, timing in the release of your book matters a lot. Is it a book that will sell well around a major national holiday? Is there an anniversary of some important event (i.e., 9/11) or special day (Mothers Day) that you could capitalise on by releasing your book at that time?

For more thorough advice on selling your book, see my Write Publish & Market Your Book or my online classes about Book Promotion (both available at http://www.acappela.com/) or subscribe to Penny Sansevieri's excellent newsletters (penny@marketingexpert.com) And if you need help getting funding for your writing, try Hope Clark's website (http://www.fundsforwriters.com/).

 
Ten Tips on Writing and Creativity

   Thanks to Emily Hanlon 

1. Don't think. Creating a story or book has little to do with the intellect or language when we first begin. Our best ideas will emerge as a spark or image. Like dreams, they will make little sense. Followed, they will hold the key to the creative unconscious.

2. Creativity is cyclical. You cannot and will not be creative all the time. What is full must empty and what is empty will fill. Creativity has its own internal rhythms. Learn to listen to yours.

3. Nothing kills creativity faster than criticism. Don't share your work-in-progress with people who are critical or those whose opinions leave you vulnerable, no matter how much you love them. Good critiquing should leave you inspired, not deflated.

4. Spend time listening to your inner critic. He or she is not comfortable with the risks demanded by a creative endeavor. By becoming aware of the foul jabber of your inner critic, you can see how your own mind puts up roadblocks to your creativity.

5. Being a creator is risky business. Don't underestimate the tremendous emotional and psychic risks the journey demands. Learn to push ahead even when you are afraid. Learn to love the risk.

6. Don't be afraid to fail. Every successful creator has failed hundreds of times. Failure is an integral part of creativity. It doesn't mean you're wrong or stupid. It only means you've uncovered a path or technique that does not work.

7. Don't be afraid to write garbage. Every successful writer writes mounds of garbage. Give your work time to percolate. Play the What If game. For example, if you're writing fiction and a characters is sweet and loving and you're stuck, have the character mean and hateful. In the world of the imagination, anything can happen.

8. Nurture your creativity. It is as fragile as a budding flower. Open to the dance. Listen to music that makes you feel like flying. Go for a walk. Laugh with a friend, child or lover. Creativity is about feeling.

9. Be passionate. Creativity is passionate. Passion is always creative.

10. Learn your craft. And write, write, write! The more you write, the better you will get. Discipline yourself. Successful writers are disciplined writers.

www.thefictionwritersjourney.com.

 
Ten Tips on Writing and Creativity

   Thanks to Sasha Duke 

If you've been writing for a long time and your every attempt to please those fussy publishers proves fruitless, hope can seem far away. But if you put your mind to writing and devote yourself to it, things will work out. If you have a positive attitude to writing, the publishers will have a more positive attitude to publishing your manuscript!
 
Four tips

   Thanks to Azfar A. Khan 

Tip: 1. Read extensively.
2. Revise the draft thrice before delivery.
3. Must write a page every day.
4. Your final draft should be perfect!
 
Variety

   Thanks to Heather Raney 

Don't always talk about one thing. You have to inform the reader about more than one thing.
 
A Writing Exercise

   Thanks to Emily Hanlon 

And tips on using writing prompts...

Writing prompts are great ways to jump start the imagination. But sometimes a writing prompt alone can't get you writing. You look at it and think, "Hmmm, where should I go with this?"

Here's a writing prompt along with suggestions and hints on how to develop them.

The Prompt
I just wanted her to tell me I was okay – I just wanted her to love me and not knock me down and tear me apart. "Can't you just love me, Mom, just love me the way I look tonight, and tell me I look fine," I pleaded with her inside of my head. Reason was not a way of life in our house.

Suggestions and Hints
Opportunity for dialogue and strong point of view. What is going on between the mother and daughter?

First write the scene from the daughter's point of view, using the daughter's inner thought and lots of dialogue.

Then put that aside and write the scene from the mother's point of view. You need not have the exact same dialogue and almost certainly the story will be very different from the mother's point of view.

This is a great eye opener of an exercise geared to deepening your understanding of the writer's technique of point of view. It also encourages dialogue. Even if you've never written dialogue, give it a try. I've worked with a lot of people who think they can't write dialogue – only because they've never tried. The truth is everyone can write dialogue! Go for it!

To explore more writing exercises and prompts and information on writing, go to www.thefictionwritersjourney.com
 
Openings

   Thanks to Tara Kruppenbach 

In the beginning of your story write sentences that grab the reader's attention.
 
Subject

  

You must write about something you feel strongly about!
 
Making Achievable (Writing) Goals

Thanks to Connie Luayon 

Many writers make resolutions every year and see those goals roll down the drain. Include me in that list of writers who has repeatedly made that mistake of drawing impractical goals and blaming a variety circumstances for the eventual "bad luck". But there's always a chance to do better, right? Just how do you make achievable resolutions? Here are some tips from the rabbit's hat:
  1. Determine your capabilities. Make sure you have a good chance of achieving that goal. If you plan to write 20 magazine articles a month, ask yourself if you have the means and the stamina to do so. If you plan to try screenwriting, make sure that you can pitch a good story and deliver the script on time to demanding movie producers.
  2. Keep the list short and simple. Don't make a grocery list of resolutions. You know you can't put everything in your cart on a single trip. Instead, list two to four goals and give enough time for each goal to be accomplished. This should help you focus on each goal each time and avoid the stress of seeing a long list of unchecked to-do's.
  3. Find inspiration. It's always good to know why we're striving for some things. Keep the inspiration in your heart and mind and you will find yourself saying "Bring it on!" to all of life's struggles.
Author Bio: Connie Luayon is a freelance writer for print and online media. She publishes Today's Writer and manages content for the Online Media Beat.
 
Word economy

Thanks to Andreas 

Don't use two words where one word will suffice.
Bad writing:
"All he needs is love, affection and devotion."
Better writing:
"All he needs is love."

The word "love" already entails the other two.
 
Word economy (2)

Thanks to David Bowman 

When you have said what you wanted to say, stop.
 
Persistence

Thanks to Peter Davis 

Never, ever give up. And don't be intimidated by others success. It's easy to say but there's an awful lot – but an awful – of absolute rubbish published for all the "wrong" (but maybe to a publisher, the "right") reasons. If all the novelists who have inspired us and that we love, revere and admire listened to a voice other than their inner voice we'd be all the poorer for it. Work hard and keep focused. Best of luck!
 
Various tips

Thanks to T. F. Simmons 

Don't write egotistically by thinking that every sentence is essential to the story. Sometimes leaving something out makes the scene more interesting.

Pay attention to those crazy ideas that float through your head randomly. They can often become the spark for another story, character, etc.  Jot them down in a separate notebook and flip through it when you have a block or are feeling uninspired. Those little tidbits can spark a brainstorm with just a couple of words.

Write with consideration for the reader. If you're getting bored by writing the scene, then chances are the reader has already put the pages down.  Don't be afraid to embrace style; it keeps readers involved with your work and builds a relationship between the two of you.

Do not be afraid of rejection. Not everything you write will be perfect the first, second, or even the third time you write it. If you are rejected, think of it as a chance to improve your story, not as someone telling you it wasn't good enough. 

Don't be too hard on yourself. A writer's worst critic is always himself. Every writer has, at some point said, "Why am I kidding myself? This is trash." Some of these people include Stephen King, and Nora Roberts. Critique yourself by thinking you are the reader and try to lose yourself in the story. If you succeed you'll usually find mistakes that you made and see opportunities to improve the storyline. 

The best advice any writer has ever given or has ever been given is to write, write, write! You will never find out how well you can write if you never do it.   
 
Chronology

Thanks to Shaun Holt 

When writing the first-draft of your book, you will find yourself getting stuck very soon if you try writing in the order which it will appear in the completed book. Your writing will become very disorganised if it jumps from one part to another, so write everything on single sheets of paper and place them into a three-ring binder, in the order of how they might appear in a book. Although at early stages you may only have the first chapter and the climax, it will be easier to get from point A to point Z if they are already on paper, and you might just develop new ideas on the way.
 
Over-editing

Thanks to Shaun Holt 

At the early stages of writing your book, do not over-edit your work. In fact, in the early stages, editing is highly destructive.

While writing my first book I spent about a month on the Introduction alone. I kept editing it, moving sentences around, trashing the entire thing, and then re-writing what I thought I first had. Once I stopped editing, and just wrote, I had created over a hundred pages in two days. Will it have errors? Of course. But don't waste time trying to make the first draft error-free.
 
Spontaneity

Thanks to Lindsay 

Just write...don't think, don't worry about how it all sounds. Just let it flow free, drown the paper in words. It doesn't matter if you're stuck on the first paragraph, first chapter, or even the conclusion. Put anything down to start; even if it just says "it was a dark and stormy night". If you have a better idea how you want the second part to go, write that first. Don't let your inspiration slip you by, go with your instincts.
 
Passion

Thanks to Samuel Ayodele 

Writing is all about passion. Try to develop an unalloyed passion for it. It is when you do this that you will be geared towards writing some good stuff. There might be some times when you just suddenly get tired of writing because of one difficulty or the other. Believe me your passion will see you through. I have done it works. Why not try it?
 
Ideas

Thanks to Danielle 

When you have an idea write it down, and don't ever think your idea is stupid always think positive.
 
Identify and De-fang Your Inner Critic

Thanks to Emily Hanlon 

Spend time listening to your Inner Critic. He or she is not comfortable with the risks demanded by a creative endeavour. By becoming aware of the foul jabber of your Inner Critic, you can see how your mind puts up roadblocks to creativity.

    Tip 3 from Ten Tips on Creativity

Imagine your conscious mind is tuned in to a radio station run by a single disc jockey, your Inner Critic, and you have no way to turn down the volume much less turn it off. In fact, you've grown so used to the constant talk from the Inner Critic, you hardly notice he's ordering you about, commenting, passing judgment and evaluating just about everything you do or say; this is all so subtle and insidious that you don't separate out the Inner Critic from other parts of you. The Inner Critic has become you-it seems as if the only time you can escape his badgering is when you sleep. There is a reason for this. When you sleep, your conscious mind shuts down. The dream state or intuitive right side of the brain, takes over.

The Inner Critic avoids the dream state like the plague. He can't get a foothold in a place where there is no apparent logic, where things appear as images, feelings, sounds and colours. It should not be surprising, then, that your best stories, characters and plots, come from this place of dreams, where little is known and anything is possible. The problem is how to wrest control of the radio station from the Inner Critic so that you can give your Inner Writer some air time.

Answer the following questions quickly, without thinking.

What is the colour of your Inner Critic?

How big is your Inner Critic?

What is the texture?

Is your Inner Critic masculine, feminine or both?
 
What does the voice of the Inner Critic sound like?

Make a list of the things your Inner Critic says to you. Don't worry if you repeat. Come back and add to this list as you become more aware of the Inner Critic.
 
What is a creative risk you fear taking?

Make a list of the reasons your Inner Critic has for you not taking that risk.

Make a list of the negative things your Inner Critic says about being a writer.

Find a symbol of your Inner Critic. Students I work with have come up with anything from a picture of a boss to a vial of sulphuric acid. The image of my Inner Critic is a fierce looking puppet. I like to turn it inside out, which makes it look like a harmless alien!
 
Now, write to you Inner Writer. As her or him what you should do when your the voice of your Inner Critic is very loud and destructive. Put your pen to paper and start writing. Learn to listen to the voice of you Inner Writer. Give your Inner Writer some powerful stations on the radio in your mind. Turn to her when you feel your all dried up and will never write again.

Begin now:

Dear Inner Writer....

These tips are taken from Emily Hanlon's book, The Art of Fiction Writing. Emily is a novelist and writing coach. Her website is  www.thefictionwritersjourney.com.

 
Critics

Thanks to Blake Dressler 

Don't be afraid to give your work to critics, you should take their opinions to heart, look at what they said and make it better, critics help you make way more sales. learn to use critics to benefit you.

 
Finding markets

Thanks to Donna Diamond 

Find five markets that might be interested in your idea and if one rejects your query/mss then you move on to the second, third and fourth. If by the fifth market on your list you haven't sold it then you might re-think your slant. There are many ways to sell an article – perhaps your list might include a general interest publication, a trade publication or department piece or filler in a business magazine. It makes the writer think of possible ways to write the article and avoids procrastination.

 
Explore

Thanks to Anvita 

Just plunge into the sea of possibilities. See how your writing sounds for your ears will never deceive you! Go ahead and create magical prose.

 
Plan!

Thanks to Robert Gordon Smith 

You would be surprised at how many people just launch into a story. Make sure you know the plot back to front.

 
Plot

Thanks to Vaman Acharya 

Story must be more dramatic, coherent topics and blended very well with the main topic.

 
Write, leave, read again, rewrite!

Thanks to Mohamed Sabet 

I don't mean to cause much delay of work to any wanna-be writers, I just mean to inform you all of a successful writing style that I have developed and used frequently. The core of my idea is that if you write something in a hurry and submit it immediately or after a fast revisory reading or proof-reading, then there will be a great possibility of it containing not only minor grammar, spelling, or style errors, but also it may contain other more "major" types of errors, such as:
     * Simplistic, hard-to-defend arguments
     * Redundance and repetition
     * Contradicting ideas
     * Unlogical "flow" or sequence of ideas
     * Bad or weak overall idea or logic behind what you had written

In my opinion, reading back what you've written one or two weeks ago can make you feel like reading someone else's work, and thus you'll be more able to detect any mistakes or defects. Next, you should send your work to a proofreader, editor, or even publisher.

 
Rules

Thanks to Busra 

You must first learn the rules then you can break them. Patience is a virtue.

 
Plot

Thanks to Daina Hailey Renton 

Before You start writing your story, create a plot (what Happens in your story.) If you do that you will find it easier to write your story if you know what's going to happen.

 
The Five Ingredients of the Scene

Thanks to Emily Hanlon 

In Novel Writing, Short Story Writing and the Memoir

1. Point of View
2. Dialogue
3. Dramatic tension/Action
4. Mood
5. Flashback

1. Point of view or who's story are you telling... POV puts you inside your main character's head, heart and gut -- you are seeing the world through the eyes of your character.

2. Dialogue is one of the fastest ways into character and allows characters other than your POV character to reveal who they are. Letting the dialogue "roll" often offers up unexpected "what happens next?" and other surprises. Dialogue is a great way to show tension. Glance through at a novel. Most novels are anywhere between fifty and eighty percent dialogue. Think you can't write dialogue. You can. I promise. Why am I so sure? You talk, don't you? You can write dialogue. I've never worked with anyone who can't write dialogue, only with people who think they can't.

3. Dramatic Tension/Action. You can't have a story without dramatic tension. There are many different ways to create dramatic tension, which can come from something outside the character or something internal.

4. Mood, some people call this description. Thinking mood instead of description is better because mood is character driven. How does your character see a scene? In other words, what the character sees is more important than what you as the writer want to describe.

5. Flashback is a scene from the past that informs the present and tells the reader something important about the character. Once you are in the flashback, you are once again in scene. All of the above applies.

Emily Hanlon is a novelist and writing coach. You can explore other writing tips, articles, prompts as well as workshops and  teleseminars at www.thefictionwritersjourney.com

 
Write from the heart

Thanks to Marlene Cameron 

My Writing Tip is to write straight from your heart, soul, mind, and spirit because what God has given you is meant as a SPECIAL GIFT to your fellowman.

 
Some New Year's Resolutions for Writers

Thanks to Emily Hanlon 

1. I will love my writing even when it is not coming well... or coming at all!
2. I will write for the joy of writing
3. I will remember to ban my Inner Critic from my writing room each time I sit down to write.
4. I will remember that first draft writing is filled with rich, uncovered gems.
5. I will not expect my first or second or third draft to be perfect.
6. I will expect the unexpected in my writing.
7. I will remember that writing comes from my heart and my gut not my head!
8. I will remember I am a writer always and no one can take that away from me.

Submitted by writing and creativity coach, Emily Hanlon. Her websites are: www.thefictionwritersjourney and www.creativesoulworks.com

 
Writing poetry

Thanks to Kelcey 

When writing poetry try to become relaxed and focused while writing. This way your mind will be free to wonder.
 
Write short stories

Thanks to Cindy Mauro 

Write short stories all the time! Believe me, sometimes I'm looking out of the window and think about a good scene for a book. Even if they're not published sometimes you can stumble upon them and they're perfect for a novel. Just write all the time and make sure they're all kept in the PC or a notebook so you won't forget them.
 
Plan!

Thanks to Lauren 

If you don't plan out what you are writing, it will end up without aim. You need a general plan of attack to tackle writing. It can deviate, however, so remember that.
 
Quit posting and write

Thanks to Joe 

(sigh) What's all of this "Zen" philosophy B.S. about being a writer? Quit trying to make it out to be some spiritual journey already, jeez. You want to be a successful writer? It's as simple as this: read and write every day. Period. Quit posting all of this crap so inexperienced writers looking for a "way in" take it in as truth. Writing isn't some religion. Get over it. And BTW, instead of sitting there reading this and all the other "tips and tricks", shouldn't you be clogging up your Word Perfect with nouns and verbs??? Quit looking for some "secret" because there is none. It's just plain old effort.
 
Writing style

Thanks to Binu Nair 

Be crisp, clear and write in a simple style. Your writing should be like a musical song – free flowing and enjoyable.
 
Free writing

Thanks to Lisa 

my tip would be not to think about what your gona write just do it. when you want to free write think about what your thinking about now thats whats called free writing.my mother is a writer most of her stories is off the top of her head.because she dosnt think about what she writes she just does it and it turns out to be better than what she sat down and thoughtb about, so ofcourse free writing is much better. i love to fre write
 
Pictures

 

Pictures are supposedly worth a thousand words. If you're stuck trying to come up with something to write, find a picture, anywhere, and write about it. Describe it, praise it, ridicule it, or make the subject in the picture a character in a story. Ask yourself why someone is doing what they're doing. Having a plain image in front of you may help get the creative juices flowing.
 
Recording ideas

Thanks to Jenny  

Write down every idea that pops on your head.
 
Writer's Unblock Tool Kit

Thanks to Azhar Latif  

  • You need colour pads (max :5)of your choice 2.5 X 2.5 inches. Available from Stationer's.
  • Get 3 tubes of Acrylic Colour paints you like.
  • Produce Ink Blots , Rorschach Test like , folding coloured papers creatively. Make seven or more samples. Do not discard any.Place these face down on the table. Write names of your proposed characters on these.... 
  • You need magnetic word pieces (teaching aid for children) also available from Stationer's. Draw several pieces randomly and place these on the Coloured Ink Blots.
  • Study each in silence in conjunction with words selected. Words selected should be more or less equally distributed to Ink Blots.
  • Plan your first best sentence from the words relating to that Ink Blot where you already have the name of your Character. You may or may not wish to use it, as yet. 
  • You can have a good start for a short story, a novel or a play or creative writing just for fun. 
  • You can also use other resources such as a scrap book, even a photograph in conjunction with above artefacts, as suggested. 
  • It is a sure kick start for the determined souls.
 
To my fellow young writers!

Thanks to Zara Jasmine  

If you want to write a fantastic book, make sure you write something that you would read. That way you are getting in touch with your audience.
 
Optimism

Thanks to Pooja  

Always be optimistic about your writing abilities. Don't worry about what others will think while you're writing. If you like your plot and the characters you've sketched in it, then somebody else with similar tastes will like it too.

So, happy writing!

 
Use of verbs

Thanks to Bayan Khatib  

Good writing includes strong verbs. Verbs carry the action of the story. Strong verbs create vivid and powerful writing. They also allow the writer to be less wordy. For example: instead of writing "spoke loudly" you can write "shouted" or "hollered." This way you relay the same message but with less words. Another example: instead of writing "held tightly" write "gripped." 

To create powerful writing you must use strong verbs. So, get creative and don't opt for the easy way out, which is to use a weak verb leaning on an adverb. 

Writer's bio: Bayan Khatib is the author of two books. Please visit her at www.bayankhatib.com  

For tips on how to help kids with writing skills, please visit: www.homeschool-central.com  

 
Confidence

Thanks to Zinnia Marniel Bendayon  

You must have full confidence and express what you feel on writing an essay or a poem or whatsoever literature. You must also observe rules on the category you're in and don't think that you will lose or something bad will happen. Just trust in yourself and go for it.
 
Outline in advance

Thanks to Khalida Khan  

Prepare an outline for a story, and list the characters, and then work around it. Avoid very long sentences.
 
Various tips

Thanks to Emily Hanlon  

1. Point of View
2. Dialogue
3. Dramatic tension/Action
4. Mood
5. Flashback  

1. Point of view or who's story are you telling... POV puts you inside your main character's head, heart and gut -- you are seeing the world through the eyes of your character.  

2. Dialogue is one of the fastest ways into character and allows characters other than your POV character to reveal who they are. Letting the dialogue "roll" often offers up unexpected "what happens next?" and other surprises. Dialogue is a great way to show tension. Glance through at a novel. Most novels are anywhere between fifty and eighty percent dialogue. Think you can't write dialogue. You can. I promise. Why am I so sure? You talk, don't you? You can write dialogue. I've never worked with anyone who can't write dialogue, only with people who think they can't.  

3. Dramatic Tension/Action. You can't have a story without dramatic tension. There are many different ways to create dramatic tension, which can come from something outside the character or something internal.

4. Mood, some people call this description. Thinking mood instead of description is better because mood is character driven. How does your character see a scene? In other words, what the character sees is more important than what you as the writer want to describe.  

5. Flashback is a scene from the past that informs the present and tells the reader something important about the character. Once you are in the flashback, you are once again in scene. All of the above applies.  

www.thefictionwritersjourney.com
 
Scam

Thanks to K.A.McDicken  

Spent Euros347.14 in Feb'07 for an appraisal from Ink & Colors (sic). They have disappeared from the First Writers' list. Beware. It's a scam!
 
Make friends with the delete button

Thanks to Jill McDougall  

Make friends with the delete button. Why? Because good writing is tight writing. Iíve lost track of the number of editors and agents Iíve heard lately saying: I want a great story written sparely. 

What does this mean? It means you should say what you want to say using as few words as possible. This will force you to use only your sharpest images, your most engaging dialogue, your liveliest action.

Hereís a trick: Pretend that you have to fax your story to a publisher at $2.00 a word. Youíll quickly discover words, phrases, sentences and whole paragraphs that arenít vital to the story. If you find your ms shrunk to half its original size Ė donít panic, celebrate!! That means itís more tightly written and has a livelier pace. 

========================================Jill has published over a hundred books for children and is busily working on her next 100. Her latest novel is Jinxed! (published by Walker Books).

You can find more writing tips at Jillís website http://www.jillmcdougall.com.au and download a free preview of her ebook: Become a Childrenís Writer.
========================================
 
Freedom of speech

Thanks to amandalisa  

Always write how you want without people telling you otherwise. We have the right of freedom of speech so we should use it.
 
Exclamation points

Thanks to writeroffthelake  

Go easy on the exclamation point.  It's annoying to editors and readers.  It cluttters your writing like an unnecessary adverb.  If the sentence is properly structured, the exclamation point is overkill.
 
Writing about something painful

Thanks to Katina Woodruff  

You must first allow yourself space/time, before you begin writing about an event, or person that may be troubling to you. Too often new writers of creative nonfiction try to write about a tragedy soon after it has occurred, and they find themselves overwhelmed with the emotion to see things more clearly. Try writing about the event first from a different perspective, say, the third person point of view. And, then, read it, let others read it. Try writing it in the first person as a rewrite, without trying to edit or revise what you have. The most important moments will continue to come back to you--the part that the reader wants and needs to be showed. Let the reader experience the event with you, through you--the words will come, in time. 

---Katina M. Woodruff, author of: To PERSEVERE Against all odds. A memoir about hope, family, and survival. Editing now. 
 
Precision with words

Thanks to Janice Miller Thomas  

Be precise with your words. Paint a picture with your word usage and you will find your work to be real page turners.
 
"Higher level" words

Thanks to Kylee  

You don't need too many 'higher level' words. My English teacher always said, "You can NEVER use the word, said, went, he, she...." etc. I did take her advice for a while, until I realized that I needed to listen to my heart. If I wanted my character to SAY the phrase, then they should say it! I shouldn't try to make it so elaborate that you get lost in the jumble of words, and don't really understand the meaning.
 
Catchy phrase

Thanks to Kristi  

Have a catchy phrase or sentence in the first part of the story!
 
Autobiographies

Thanks to JoAnn  

To write an autobiography the best thing is to ask our parents or relatives to know about our childhood days.
 
Writing thrillers/suspense

Thanks to Carsten Breuning  

If you're writing thrillers or suspense or the like remember: The hero must first be likable (no one wants an ass for a hero), then he will need to overcome some enormous obstacle (or there will be dire consequences).

Keep the suspense and plot moving,moving,moving,moving

 
Donít be afraid of constructive criticism

Thanks to Judy Darley, founder and editor of EssentialWriters.com  

Constructive criticism is a valuable tool when it comes to honing and improving your work. While a positive critique is great of bolstering your morale, a negative critique is actually more useful, giving you the opportunity to work on and improve your writing. Donít view it as an attack, but a nudge towards the perfect piece of writing. 

For more writing tips, visit EssentialWriters.com

 
The word 'HAD'

Thanks to Dr. RN Ratnaike  

The word 'HAD' is frequently used unnecessarily and incorrectly. Its abuse and misuse dilutes the power of a sentence. 'HAD' crops up like a pestilence when the writer becomes tired and the copy editor lazy. 
 
Review your work

Thanks to Dr Evelyn Eli  

Keep reviewing your work, even months after you've written it if you feel like it. You will always make a few changes here and there and end up maturing your work all the more.
 
Writing about your own experience

Thanks to Katina Woodruff  

Writing about a real experience can be the most challenging for a writer, it can also be the most beneficial form of writing that you ever do. Try writing in a journal daily, before tackling a book writing project in the form of a memoir, or autobiography.
 
Carry a notebook

Thanks to Paul Gittins  

Always carry a notebook with you to note down quirky observations that can be useful for future reference.
 
Write with your heart

Thanks to Brooke  

Always write with your heart ALWAYS ! and write with you're Feeling 2 :)
 
Poetry

Thanks to Nikky   

Poetry is the key to human soul to be a poet you have to be kind and simple ,it only take some hours.
 
Editing

Thanks to Carol Silvis   

Very few people can produce a perfect manuscript on the first try.  Edit and re-edit until your writing is tight and polished.
 
New Year's Resolutions for Writers

Thanks to Emily Hanlon   

Some New Year's Resolutions for Writers (In no particular order!) 

1. I write for the passion and adventure of the journey.

2. Writing comes from my heart and the fire in the belly.

3. Writing is a craft. Craft supports writing, it does not define it. 

4. I love my first draft writing for its fertility and uncovered gems.

5. I welcome the unexpected in my writing.

6. I will not think about being published until the piece is finished.

7. I go where my imagination takes me. 

8. I will set up a writing schedule that supports, not defeats, my writing. Discipline is a necessary part of being a writer, but I will not use failure to keep to my schedule as a reason to give up.

9. I will write the story that is gestating within me Ė even if it scares me or makes me think I am losing my mind. 

10. When I begin a new piece, I will begin without thinking, without planning.
 
Read aloud

Thanks to Mel   

When you edit your book, read it out aloud, or have someone do it for you. Errors in plot logic, grammar and even typos literally jump out at you.
 
Biography writing

Thanks to Paul Wimsett   

Your are much more likely, in writing a biography, to obtain the truth or least more juicy information, if look at their early interviews. They are more likely to clam up in later interviews.
 
Repetition

Thanks to Jaime (Streampelt of RiverClan!)   

Avoid being repetitive. For example: "He jumped over the fence on his way to the barn. He grabbed the bucket of water and started back. He splashed through the stream and ran to the other side. He laughed as birds screeched loudly." And you could just say; "He rushed through the forest to the barn. The young boy soon returned with the bucket of water." Email Snapshotsdawg@yahoo.com  if you want writing tips: how to start a good story, how to figure out good names, how to be realistic in a fiction story.......
 
Internalising information beneficial

Thanks to Denise Baker   

As writers, most of us know how internalising the information we write about can sometimes be very beneficial. Does that mean that as writers and marketers that we have to personally relate to everything we write? No, not necessarily, but let's face it, some things that we write about hit more closer to home than others. When that happens, the personal interest we have in the material gives it a different voice. Affiliate marketers who write about a product they've actually used will write from a different perspective than they would if they've never used the product. This is true, whether they liked the product or not. This doesn't mean that you can't write a good piece about something you've never experienced. It simply means you generally do a better job, if you are more personally familiar with what you write.

Write What You're Living

Write what you're living is the concept I had in mind when I created The 10 Biggest Reasons Most of Us Keep Failing Miserably.

Its primary purpose is to provide useful information that is relative to writing and online marketing. Having provided details that that are the result of personal trials and tribulations makes the material that much more helpful. I knew when I was writing it, that it was packed full of helpful and motivational information. What I didn't know is how, in just a short time Iíd become extremely reliant on that article myself.

The reality is, sometimes writers fall into the trap of negative thinking and self-defeating actions. Itís really just human nature. Whenever I catch myself slacking in my writing, or not feeling like I have the motivation to proceed, I simply whip out my 10 Biggest Reasons list and figure out which negative issue Iím confronting at that particular time. Then I simply follow the corresponding advice that relates to the problem. This acts as a swift kick in the pants and immediately gets me focused and back on target! I now keep my list right on my desk where I can consult it easily. 

If you donít already have one, devise your own motivating wake up call to help you progress.

 
Trying different genres

Thanks to Vestin Verghese   

Discover the kind of writing you can do best by trying out the different genres and types. Then stick with what you do best..

 
Taking advice

Thanks to Rena   

If someone tells you to stop writing because your work is THAT BAD, listen to them. But, only take what they've said seriously long enough to read several decent books that will help you improve your writing style and grammar. Then, you can start writing again and see if you've improved at all. Chances are, you have.

 
Plot or Character? Which Is More Important? 

Thanks to Emily Hanlon   

Although it is an often asked question, I think it's the wrong question for the fiction writer to ponder. Both character and plot are vital to storytelling. 

A better question to ask is this: Am I a plot driven writer or a character driven writer?

I suspect that you know instinctively which you are. It comes down to which you are more intuitively drawn: character or plot? There's no right or wrong answer. It is, however, quite helpful to know which you are. Knowing whether character or plot draws you when you are first developing a story gives you a better understanding of how the creative process finds expression through you. It will also focus in on areas in your writing that need more or less attention. 

I'm going to begin by examining character driven writing. In my thirty years of coaching writers, character driven writers outnumber plot driven writers four to one. Again, no value judgment here. You have to learn to do both!

Strengths of the Character Driven Writer:

  • You depend more readily on intuition, emotions and the right brain as the entry way into your writing. This is helpful because the first part of the creative process depends heavily on intuition and right brain processing. 

  • You are more at home in the chaos of the first part of the creative process, where you are basically flying without radar and anything can happen.

  • You see more readily through the lens of your characters. Thus you allow your characters to drive the story.

  • You are more at home with the unexpected. You may like road maps for your characters and story, but these road maps tend not to be detailed and are easily redrawn by the moods, actions and dialogue of your characters. 

This is on ongoing series on Emily Hanlon's Blog: Fiction Writing, the Passionate Journey. http://fictionwritersjourney.blogspot.com. The series began on January 12, 2011.

 
The first line 

Thanks to Elaine Kennedy   

The first line is the most important. It needs to grab the readers' attention and make them want to read more: http://WideHorseSky.wordpress.com 

But don't spend too much time at the start. Have a couple of ideas to try out and use the best after writing a few chapters. You might want to change it completely when the story is complete but being aware of the importance of the first impression gives your work the best chance.

 
Collecting and storing ideas 

Thanks to Fiona Johnston   

This could be a way of beating writer's block for a lifetime, especially on a Monday morning. There are many ways such as a dictaphone, notebook but by far the best, is to buy a ringbinder, preferably a large one, divide it into twelve months of the year. Depending on the month you are in, type out the ideas from your notebook as soon as possible as we all know from bitter experience, you wonder what that cryptic note might be about or any idea you may have briefly elaborated on. Print it out then file it appropriately. Get into the habit of collecting ephemera, newspaper cuttings, postcards and file them appropriately or place them in a scrapbook according to subjects of your choice. There is of course a wonderful store of ideas in Ideas4writers which is well worth a lifetime membership subscription and saves that awful annual reminder.
 
The courage to write badly 

Thanks to Cheyna   

Have the courage to write badly. The first draft will always be not-so-good. If you tell yourself you're bad at writing you won't get anywhere.
 
Economy of words 

Thanks to Bruce Kaplan   

Never use three words when you can use two; never use two words when you can use one. www.editeasy.org 

[Or perhaps more succinctly: "Never use more words than you need" ;-) - Ed]

 
Believe In Your Message 

Thanks to Greg De Tisi    

Just because there are so many talented writes out there and they seem to create wonderful and new ideas, don't think that your ideas are not worthy. After all they are your ideas. As you own them then they have a right to be heard. 

This is providing that you have done the necessary work to edit and check your work so that it has maximum effect when it reaches readers. Don't give up because of one or two silly mistakes or setbacks. 

You can do it! 

   
Prime yourself for your writing 

Thanks to Emily Hanlon    

Prime yourself for your writing with some or all of these thoughts:

1. I write for the joy of writing.

2. I ban my Inner Critic from my head and my writing space each time I sit down to write.

3. I do not expect my first or second or third draft to be perfect.

4. I expect the unexpected in my writing.

Emily@emilyhanlon.com
www.thefictionwritersjourney.com
 

 
 
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