Writing on Wednesday is a weekly meme, created right here at Bookish Ardour and is for everyone to participate in. Every Wednesday I will post a new question for writers to answer on their own blogs or to answer in the comments. You can be aspiring, you can be published, or you can just write as a hobby.
All you have to do is link back to this post and leave a link to yours in the comments. Simple! Please remember to leave a proper comment, and not just an I was here one. Thanks!
This Week’s Question: Are there any writing tips shared by someone else, or given by someone else (including other writers or in books) that you have found to be helpful? Have you adopted any of them into your writing habits?
Usually I would put the next question here, but due to formatting issues it is now at the bottom of the post.
My Answer – Oh yes. I have adopted tips from a few different sources, some are ones that I’ve picked up and can’t remember where from, but others are part of lists or from books such as Jack Dann’s Keys To The Kingdom and a list of pointers in The Elements of Style by White and Strunk Jr (highly recommended).
The main ones from Jack Dann I have adopted;
- Give the best part of every day to yourself. You must try to write every day! (when I’m actively writing)
- Read constantly and widely. (I think I read more widely now because of writing. I find myself picking up certain novels because I want to learn, not just for enjoyment).
- If you’re having trouble with a sentence or a passage or a plot twist, ask yourself if something doesn’t need to be cut.
- If you find yourself blocked, take a break and read. Take notes, read, take more notes. Usually a writer gets blocked when he or she needs more information. It’s a natural part of the process.
- Keep working toward making clear sentences and building solid story structures. Style is really only transparency of thought and idea.
- Read and reread Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Then read it again.
Ones I’m trying to implement;
- Don’t try to be a critic while you’re writing. Once you have a draft, or become blocked, then you must rethink and rework and be as hard on yourself as if you were writing for The New York Times Book Review. (I was able to do this during NaNoWriMo, but am yet to see if it sticks)
- Make appointments with yourself to write.
I won’t try to include all the ones from The Elements of Style because I try to use all of them, but my favourites would be;
- Place Yourself In The Background
- Do Not Overwrite
- Do Not Overstate
- Use Orthodox Spelling (I think this counts for names too unless it suits the genre or the setting)
- Make Sure The Reader Knows Who Is Speaking (golden! How many times have you read something and gotten frustrated because the writer never clarified who was speaking?)
- Do Not Use Dialect Unless Your Ear Is Good
- Do Not Use Foreign Languages (I love languages, but it really bothers me when I’m reading something and then they inject it with another language. It particularly pisses me off when the words aren’t explained or translated and if they have to be translated what’s the point of writing them in another language in the first place? Yes, I have a problem with it)
These are ones that I’ve picked up, but can’t remember from where;
- Write what you know (it goes without saying, draw from your experiences and if not then research)
- Don’t write what you know (I know it contradicts the previous one, but sometimes if we only wrote what we knew we wouldn’t have much to write)