Writing Tips

My top three tips for writing are:
  • a writer is someone who writes. Write as often as you can. Just start. A word, a sentence - go for it!
  • be bold! Challenge yourself, think big, take artistic risks - especially when first exploring an idea.
  • go with the flow. The ideas, the characters, the quirky, unexpected words can lead writers into uncharted and exciting territory. Don't try to keep your words on the straight and narrow when they're flowing. You can shape and prune later. Surprise yourself!
When people say, I don't know what to write, I say:
  • Read. The more you read, the more your own imagination will be fired up.
  • What if ... Just ask yourself 'what if...' and then write the answer. What if...the sun didn't rise? What if...you could fly? What if...nobody could see you? What if...your worst nightmare came true?
  • Add tension. Make things much, much worse for your characters.
  • Write from what you know. Your own backyard, family, hobby - draw on them to start with.
  • Write in little bits. Don't worry if you don't have a complete story in mind as you start - just write a sentence, a paragraph, a description ... just write.
  • Play with words. I read dictionaries for the fun of discovering new words. Open one, pick a word and use it in a sentence. See what happens.
  • Find something that sparks a thought, a feeling or a memory. What about some music?
To edit your own work:
  • Read what you've written aloud - if you can't get your tongue around it, your readers may not get their heads around it. This is true of play scripts, text book chapters, novels - all writing.
  • Put it away for a while. It's easier to be objective when it's not freshly written.
  • When in doubt, cut it out. Less is more in most writing. Don't be precious, be honest. Say things as simply as you can.
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