Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Terri-Lynne
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Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 5th, 2010, 11:08 pm

These lists go around all the time. Everyone has advice. I'm here to tell you that most of it is wrong. The following list is the end all, be all, absolute authority on writing. I give you:

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Good

1. The best way to open up a novel is with a stormy night. A dark one. You want to create drama and tension. How much more dramatic and tense can one get than a dark and stormy night? It's just logic.

2. Write what you know. If you're going to write about sky-diving, you'd best be prepared to jump out of a plane. No amount of research is going to give you the same experience. Hey, we're supposed to be willing to die for our art. You're no exception.

3. Show, don't tell? Nonsense! How is anyone supposed to know about your cool worldbuilding, or that your character is sad or angry or randy if you don't tell them? It's not an info-dump if the stuff being dumped is cool.

4. No matter how many times you've submitted your 1000 page novel to the same agent, remember the old adage: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! She probably doesn't remember you from one submission to the next. One of these days she's actually going to read your submission and KNOW what a find she has on her hands.

5. Never simply write: Her hem caught on a nail as she hurried through the door, even in the middle of a flight scene. Description is key! What color was that dress? Was there beading? Empire waist? Low cut? Was there a bustle? Embroidery? Was it silk brocade or plaid woolens? Buttons? How many? Get every detail of the dress!! And while you're at it, describe the door, and the floor, and the sort of nail her hem caught on. And don't forget to pepper a few adverbs into it, as well as a word or two your reader is going to have to look up later on. All these things show your reader just how much you know about fashion and cloth, doorways and nails. AND, it proves just how well you can put words together--even those no one else knows but you! Believe me, your readers will be impressed!

6. Address the reader once in a while, just so he doesn't forget that you, the author, is actually telling the story he's reading--otherwise he might forget about you altogether, and that's not very fair.

7. Before you ever start writing your novel, make up a list of the many alternatives to "said." Said gets boring! You need to shout, exclaim, cry, hiss, boom, retort, echo, rejoin, question and vociferate! You get extra agent/publisher points if you never use the same word twice.

8. Grammar is for the hoity-toity, not real writers. You gotta write the way you speak or no one's gonna take you for serious.

9. Feedback. Many writers give over their finished drafts to beta readers. These beta readers will feel it's their duty to find something wrong; and they inevitably will. They'll mark up your manuscript with their opinions about plot holes and pacing and characterization, grammar mistakes (but I've already established who grammar is for, so...) Sure they'll throw in a few nice things or a smiley face. But remember! No one knows your story the way you do. Stick to your guns, defend your baby fiercely, even if your betas gang up on you by agreeing with one another. Know that they're just jealous of your work and will do anything to thwart your efforts of obtaining an agent or publisher before they do. Don't let it happen to you!

10. Most importantly, don't attempt to write when there are elephants in your living room. No matter how they promise not to make noise, they will. And, if left to their own devices, they'll poop on your floor. Elephants are just like that.

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Adam Heine
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Adam Heine » October 6th, 2010, 3:50 am

It's not an info-dump if the stuff being dumped is cool.

You gotta write the way you speak or no one's gonna take you for serious.
Loved these two. Laughed out loud at both. Well done.

Terri-Lynne
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 6th, 2010, 8:26 am

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

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hulbertsfriend
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by hulbertsfriend » October 6th, 2010, 6:38 pm

Great post. The first step to knowing your beta reader is out to get you is acknowledging they don't know you are channeling Hemingway... like me.... :-)

Your one of my three choices to win. Check out Patrick Neylan and hartjohnson's posts.

Best of luck!

DougM

http://devinbriar.blogspot.com/
"All it takes to fly is to hurl yourself at the ground... and miss." Douglas Adams

Terri-Lynne
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 6th, 2010, 6:55 pm

Hey! Thanks!

MsBrouhaha
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by MsBrouhaha » October 7th, 2010, 6:26 am

Loved it! Especially the elephants pooping on the floor bit :) hey I'm juvenile so sue me.

Terri-Lynne
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 7th, 2010, 9:58 am

I've been told I have the mental acuity of an adolescent boy; considering I'm a 46 year old mother of four, I don't think it was meant as a compliment, even if I consider it one. :) Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

hartjohnson
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by hartjohnson » October 7th, 2010, 10:58 am

*snort* Oh, very nice... love a little tongue in cheek.

Confessions of a Watery Tart

Terri-Lynne
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 7th, 2010, 11:18 am

Better than tongue in electrical socket, that's for sure. ;)

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
~Terri

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JonGibbs
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by JonGibbs » October 7th, 2010, 4:15 pm

Excellent! I hope this one gets chosen :)
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

An Englishman in New Jersey http://jongibbs.livejournal.com

Terri-Lynne
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 7th, 2010, 4:19 pm

Thanks, Jon! Who I don't know or anything...and who I'm not paying to say that...

(pssst! Check's in the mail!)

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Ishta
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Ishta » October 8th, 2010, 10:21 am

HAHAHAHAHA!

This. Is. HILARIOUS!

LOVE number 5!

Terri-Lynne
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 8th, 2010, 10:26 am

Thank you! I'm glad you like it. #5 is my particular favorite as well, even if the most important one is about the elephants. They're just so damned inconsiderate.

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androidblues
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by androidblues » October 10th, 2010, 4:00 pm

This is brilliant. I swear if you wrote a novella about this sort of stuff I'd buy it.
http://www.thebooklantern.com

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

Terri-Lynne
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Re: Guest Blog--The Last Writing Tips You'll Ever Need

Post by Terri-Lynne » October 10th, 2010, 8:09 pm

I'm glad you liked it! So if I write this, I have a sale, huh? :) I'll be rich! Woohoo!

Thanks!

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