Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Of The Best Writer's Tips

We all  want to know what other writers have done that will make our attempts to put those words on the paper with a little more ease. These are just a few more tips to help you get there.

Create Compelling Characters

C.Patrick Schulze, author of Born To Be Brothers

1) . Create protagonists and antagonists  from the inside out.

2) Use setting to reveal characters physically, mentally and emotionally.

3) Prevent sagging middles by adding conflict, not just action.

4)Keep the reader hooked by creating a character with emotions, fears, prejudices with whom the reader can identify.

.Scene And Sequel--Put Emotion In The Right Place

John Foxjohn, author of Code of Deceit

 A Scene has the following three-parts
1. Goal



A Sequel has the following three-part parts:



Don't have a reaction until you have a disaster. Your character would not have internal dialogue (reaction) before the disaster happened.  You'll have the reader saying,"huh -- ?"

Stop Using Weak Or Passive Verbs

A journalist in one of my early critique groups told me to go through my novel and remove all passive verbs such as: was, were, has, are. Then go through and look for the "to be" phrases and words and replace them with action verbs. They add nothing to the sentence, and tell the reader not much more. Try to use body language, or dialogue cues to show instead of tell.
Cindy Davis says to watch your pronoun usage. If you have lots of  he's and she's in a scene, try removing some. Visit her at  (

 Don't Put  In Too Much Backstory
The reader doesn't need to know immediately what happened before the story started. Too much backstory and the reader starts skipping over parts to get to the action or worse, never finishes the book.Tell backstory in dribbles throughout the novel but not every other sentence. That can slow a story down just as much as whole chunks or chapters of backstory.

Would you share any tips you've learned  during  your  writing career? I’d love to hear them.


mooderino said...

I just did a post on passive writing that takes a slightly different approach.

Moody Writing

Ruby Johnson said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm zipping over there now to take a look!

Lynn Romaine said...

Don't get sucked into following one genre's rules (such as romance Deep POV) but write what you love first and last. Good writing is an expression of passion rather than following the rules. And last, just write - it takes 10,000 hours of anything in life to make a master.

Donnell said...

The best advice I've heard lately is read your work out loud. Your tongue will stumble over things that don't belong here. And I love the advice of getting to know the character from the inside out.

Ruby said...

Good Advice Donnell. I've heard of using Word’s Speech feature to have the computer read the article back. This allows you to catch errors you have missed – especially missing words or words that ’sort of sound the same’ but are spelled differently.
Judy, that's 5 years before I will be able to master a novel. I've got six months to go if I live that long.:)
I particularly like your point about deep POV. Too many people standing around thinking. We suspense writers like thinking when it involves deciding what the next action/ move is going to be.

Anonymous said...

Be careful when you use adverbs and adjectives
If your verbs and nouns are strong, you can get rid of many adverbs or adjectives. Many "describing words" can be deleted.
The tall muscular man ran across the street.
The tall, tanned rman ran quickly across the street.
The reader goes to sleep.
Wake up your reader with:
The tall muscular man raced across the street.
Look out for those words ending with -ly.


Magnolia said...

Forget what other writers are writing. Be yourself. Don't be afraid to use your voice-don't put it in a box, don't bind it with rules, don't water it down to imitate your favorite writer. Be you!

You can get so caught up in following rules and trying to make sure that you dot all your i's and cross all your t's that your story loses that uniqueness that makes it engaging. Fall back in love with the joy of writing and focus on the story itself.

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