10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
- Read a lot. The more you read the more you’ll learn what you like and don’t like. You’ll also learn what works and doesn’t. That and reading is just good fun. If you don’t think you have enough time to read think about your day, are there places where you can catch a few minutes? Do you have a long commute? Unabridged audiobooks are awesome for long drives.
- Write a lot. The more you write the more you’ll develop your style and figure out what works for you. Again if you don’t think you have time think about places where you can make time. I write on my breaks and lunch at work. Can you cut down on the TV, Movies, Video Games or time you spend online?
- Write the whole first draft before you show anyone. The first draft should be written without showing anyone else so that any questions or feedback they have doesn’t get in the way of the story.
- Your first draft is allowed to be filled with errors and plot holes. You’re just trying to get the basic story down on the page. There are going to be things that need fixing, that’s what revision is for.
- Real Writers Revise. No one gets it perfect the first time. I went through a couple of complete rewrites of Cast in Blood from the time I started it until it was right. Don’t be afraid to cut things that you love or think are great. If they don’t serve the story, then let them go. The great thing about computers is that we can save these unneeded but loved scenes on our hard drives so they’re never really gone.
- Have fun. We get to make stuff up, invite readers into our world and share it with them. It’s great, have fun while you’re writing and it will show through in your work.
- Edit out all the adverbs you can. They are passive weak words that can, for the most part, be replaced with much more interesting descriptions. Stephen King said that ‘the road to Hell is paved with adverbs’ and I agree. I do make exceptions for dialogue though, since my stories are modern, adverbs are a part of normal speech these days.
- Find a good editor and take their advice. I know my editor, Kathy Lapeyre, caught issues that my weekly writing group missed because they’re used to my writing style. She also fixed my grammatical flaws which is invaluable. I took about 95% of her advice and listened to the rest with an open mind. Remember the editor is there to help make your piece better.
- Don’t be afraid to try something crazy. If it sounds good to you, try it. The worst that can happen is that you don’t pull it off and you can figure out why. The best is that it works and you have a new piece to share. My short story Hard-Luck Harry came about because I was doing voice over work on a noir podcast and I thought it would be fun to try and write a modern noir.
- Back up your work, in more than one place. There’s no worse feeling than having a hard drive failure and knowing that something you wrote is lost. It’s happened to me, don’t let it happen to you.
To the outside world, Morgan Blackstone is an eccentric business woman. But, in her chest beats the undead heart of a 21st century vampire. Behind the doors of her nightclub, The Dracul, Morgan rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove.
After a long night of wrangling unruly supernatural customers, she is looking forward to some peace… but unbeknownst to her, there are other vampires who are conspiring against her. Just before dawn, in the deserted parking lot, she comes face-to-face with two old adversaries, one of which she had last seen being sealed in a tomb, 400 years before.
Overpowered by her attackers, Morgan wakes inside the lab of an unscrupulous doctor. Held against her will, subjected to experiments, she soon realizes that something has begun to burn within her veins…
Something that she knows will kill her.
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Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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