The Writing Life
probably seen by now how authors and editors
manage to fill entire
books with tips. Here are a few other tips
that can help you improve
- Research does more than add authenticity—it
often opens the door to subplots and
- News events that occurred during the
time period of
your manuscript can also add depth and
realism to your story. Maybe
John Lenon's death didn't affect you
dramatically, but if your
character is a rock 'n roll musician or a
Beatle fanatic, mentioning
his death and the character's response
would add depth. See the dMarie Time Capsule
for events by the day or week, or Year
By Year for events by the year.
- Internal dialogue (or thoughts) does not
need to be in quotes or italics. Since you
must be in the viewpoint of
the character in order to be privy to his
thoughts, it isn't necessary
to say, "he thought" or set off the
internal dialogue in any other way.
Just maintain tense and point of view
(such as third person, past
tense). Example: "I don't want to go
there," John thought is
better written John didn't want to go
- Read everything you write aloud.
- Keep pen and paper with you at all
times. You never
know when inspiration will hit or when
you'll be stuck in traffic.
- Make a scene feel "complete" by ending
dialogue (internal or external) or action
by your viewpoint character.
- Keep paragraphs, sentences and parts of
chronological order. Otherwise, your
reader must re-read, which
- Write sentences in the positive form
- Vary the length and structure of your
Don't start every sentence with a proper
noun or pronoun. (John
watched the Arrivals screen for news. He
hoped her flight wouldn't be
late. He wanted to see her. He had
missed her way too much.)
Instead, try to start each sentence in a
paragraph with a different
part of speech. (John watched the
Arrivals screen for news. Surely,
her flight wouldn't be late. And she
would be there soon. He had missed
her. Way too much.) If you find
yourself stuck in the "he/she"
beginning for each sentence, decide to
start each sentence with a
different letter of the alphabet. It will
take some creativity, but
hey, that's why you write, right?
what gives your story cohesiveness. You
must be able to describe your
story in one sentence. Yes. One sentence.
Forcing this focus gives you
a home base to return to and reflect from,
and ensures that you don't
drift too much in other directions.
- The purpose of fiction—whether
short story, novel or children's
to take the reader away from his life and
expose him to a new
experience. Hopefully, the reader learns
from the experience of the
characters, and, at best, the reader views
his own life in a new way.
- The only way to finish a novel is to put
pen to paper
(or fingers to keypad) and do it.
- Don't allow your logical brain to stifle
creativity. Get words on paper
first, then edit.
The best advice Inspiration for Writers can
give you is
to keep writing!
For additional tips, worksheets, and
your own copy of the
Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook.
rights reserved. You may reproduce this article
purposes like writing workshops as long you
distribute our copyright
notice and our URL
(www.InspirationForWriters.com) with each page.
For use in conferences, websites, blogs or other
uses not mentioned
here, please contact