Saturday, April 3, 2010

more writing tips!

All of my tips seem to focus on what not to do. Sorry! I'm a negative person, what can I say? Here are five more things some people might find helpful:

11. Not enough white space:

I'm not kidding. Another way to say this--too many freakin' words! But really, people like a certain beat to their reading, a certain balance of dialogue/narrative. You can tell if you have the mix right by looking at the white space. This is also why it's tough to have scenes with a single character. Dialogue helps with momentum and adds white space. Try not to leave your character alone too often or too long.

12. Backstory overshadows current story

13. Backstory is more interesting than current story

14. Backstory is the story

15. One of my biggest pet peeves that some might disagree with: Don't make the entire story a flashback. Tell the story that's happening now, not the story that took place twenty years ago. I want NOW! And if you want to write about something that took place 20 years ago, write as if it's happening now. Nothing makes me lose interest faster than something that's not happening now. I realize there are some wonderful exceptions to this, but immediacy is more likely to engage the reader.


  1. Backstory!!!! I found out that I write the ending first. I don't know why I'm surprised by this, since when I was writing songs I always wrote the last verse first.

    It must be because I see a situation in my head, describe it, and then I need to explain why it got that way.

    Looking over this historical that I wrote before I know what I know now - gah! The backstory is killing me. Like this whole novel has its clothes on inside out. Or something.

    I hope you're going to put these insights into a booklet form and sell them on Smashwords, Kindle, et cetera!

  2. Heather said the same thing! And yes, I do think I will eventually make them available through Smashwords and Kindle!

    It's not a bad thing to know the ending before you start writing, so in some ways you're ahead of the pack if you can figure out where the story starts. Many writers don't know the ending until they write it, me included, but I think knowing the ending makes for a stronger, more compelling plot.

  3. Hey, that gives me an idea! I've been wondering whether to break this big book out into several books and make a series.

    I think I'll look through it to see if I have several "endings" -- that should help. This is so great!

    Excited now...

  4. Anne, you definitely should do a booklet.
    The white space true. I think if a reader sees a long block of words they subconsciously expect something dry and academic and so are turned off.