15 Fun Writing Tips!
One of the most common questions I’m asked is: “Do you have any writing tips?”
Well, yes, I sure do! Whether you’re a beginning writer just starting out, or someone who is more advanced, here are 15 fun tips any writer can use!
TIP 1: When you’re in the writing zone, don’t think about what to write, write whatever pops into your head. And don’t worry about spelling or grammar—this is just for fun!
TIP 2: Set aside an hour a day to write. Not sure you have an hour? Consider writing on your lunch break or during a commute. Get up an hour earlier or schedule time after dinner. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it. You can also write in two blocks of 30 minute sessions.
TIP 3: Avoid starting sentences with “suddenly.” It warns readers that something is about to happen before it does.
TIP 4: Don’t rush through a scene to get to the end. Stay in the scene as long as you have to and let the drama build. When a scene is fleshed out completely, your readers can envision everything that’s happening.
TIP 5: Keep a folder for “someday” story ideas, characters, and settings. File notes, scraps of plots, bits of dialogue, and photos of scenic views that you’ve accumulated in one place. If you’re ever stuck on what to write next, open the folder and see what inspires you.
TIP 6: Each character must have a weakness he or she works to overcome. It could be anything: chronic lateness, unreliability, drinks too much, or refuses to make attachments. Use this weakness against your character in the story and show readers how he or she overcomes it.
TIP 7: Give your characters something from the past that can come back to haunt them. A secret is revealed (or is threatened to be), an ex-lover returns, a secret love child appears, or a scandal threatens to destroy someone—it adds depth and believability to the characters. It can also move the plot forward. What are the consequences of hiding the secret? What happens when it’s revealed?
TIP 8: Show your readers your character’s personality, likes, and dislikes. Describe keepsakes and favorite possessions (a coffee mug from vacation, a lucky keychain, or a cherished family photo). What does each item mean or represent to the character? Why do they have it?
TIP 9: If you’re stuck on a character’s name, try freewriting for a while. If you can’t think of a name now and are busy writing, call the character “Patrick” or “Mary” and change it later.
TIP 10: Ask yourself what the character wants (this is his or her goal) then throw in a curve and see how you can make things go wrong.
TIP 11: The type of story you write can determine how you use point-of-view. Short stories are almost always told in one character’s viewpoint, whether in first or third person. Novels and novellas can be told by many characters using different points-of-view.
TIP 12: Use more dialogue and less exposition (narrative) in the beginning of a story, it’ll speed up the action and pull readers in.
TIP 13: Never use “he thought” or “She thought to herself.” (Who else does she think to?) Instead, put your character’s internal dialogue (thoughts) in italics. Be careful not to overdo it, though. Your characters shouldn’t be “thinking” the whole story.
TIP 14: Make a list of important details, so they don’t accidentally change during the story. If your hero has a blue striped sofa in Chapter One, it shouldn’t be red in Chapter Three.
TIP 15: Never let your characters relax or become too comfortable in a scene. Keep raising the stakes and ask yourself, “What could go wrong at the worst possible time?”
Want more writing tips and advice? Check out my non-fiction writing guide, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. This fun and informative guide includes motivating writing exercises, advice, and detailed chapters on how to start writing, creating characters, plotting stories, and more!
(Visit the book's page on this blog for links across all platforms.)
Note: These writing tips are excerpted from You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction. Distribution is not permitted without the written permission of the author.