Writing Tips

Writing Tips – The Heart and Craft of Writing Fiction

tip1Where to start? Some people prefer to begin by sketching out a plot line, perhaps using something like, “The Writer’s Journey,” by Christopher Vogler, or “Blockbuster Plots: Pure and Simple,” by Martha Alderson, as a guide. Others, like myself, prefer to start with an idea and then sit down at the computer and let it rip! I enjoy seeing where the characters will take me, rather than trying to steer them in a certain direction. Sometimes they surprise me with the actions they take, the language they use or even the bizarre thoughts they have. That, for me, is the joy of writing; the mystery of what the characters will do next. It’s all up to them.

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When to revise? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Some writers prefer to look at what they’ve written the previous day before stating anything new; others revise as they go. I’d never finish if I used that process. My advice is to plow through to the end before you start of revise. I know it’s difficult, but the best way to get a novel written is to write. I’m a proponent of Anne Lamott’s advice, “Write lots of shitty first drafts.” Believe me, you’ll have plenty of time to revise later.

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What to do with the good parts you cut out?
When you do begin to review the first draft, there will undoubtedly be lovely description words, phrases, or paragraphs that you want to save to maybe use elsewhere. This is where “cut and paste,” comes in. Start a new word document (I affectionately call mine, “leftovers”), and then paste anything you want to save there I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found exactly what I needed on my “leftovers” document.

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