Monday, February 20, 2012


This week we have a wonderful guest, Cindy A. Christiansen. She  writes sweet romance with comedy, suspense...and dogs! She says with over thirty health issues and two autistic children, she struggles to write but finds it cathartic.Her inclusion of dogs in all of her books shows her love for them. In addition, she donates time and money to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs.
Although she's an LDS author, she finds writing about a character's relationship with God as private as she does bedroom scenes.  She chooses to let the moral character of her characters speak for them.She lives with her wonderful family and delightful dogs in West Jordan, UT.
Cindy will appear again on Wednesday with more tips and on Friday with an excerpt of her newest book.


Below is a list of my top fifty easy tips you should keep in mind as you write your next page-turning bestseller.  Even published authors have commented on how helpful these tips are.( The first 25 tips appear today. The second 25 appear on Wednesday of this week) So here we go..

TIP #1. Remember you're writing from your character's POV. No need for "he/she thought."

TIP #2. Don't add a comma before the word "too" at the end of a sentence.

TIP #3. Blond is an adjective to describe a person. Blonde is a noun.

TIP #4. Don't do an information dump all at once about a character. Spread it out and share it through dialogue if possible.

TIP #5. Try not to use "it", "that" or "this" excessively. Describe what "it" is.

TIP #6. Go ahead and use contractions. It sounds better.

TIP #7. When in a character's POV, that character shouldn't describe himself/herself.

TIP #8. Don't over use dashes and don't put a space before or after it.

TIP #9. Try not to start paragraphs with time. For example: The next day... That is telling not showing.

TIP #10. Use only one space after punctuation. If you learned like me to add two spaces, do a "find and replace" when you are done with the book.

TIP #11. Use ellipses to show hesitation or omitted words. For example: " don't mean he...?"

TIP #12. Use an em dash to indicate interruption in dialogue. For example: "I'm going to—"

TIP #13. Use a dash for stammering. For example: "I-I-I didn't know you were here."

TIP #14. Don't use weak words. For example: Her eyes were "really pretty." Instead say: Her eyes sparkled an emerald green. In the first example, you are also telling rather than showing.

TIP #15. Break up really long sentences and paragraphs for easy readability.

TIP #16. Avoid "ly" words, but you don't have to eliminate them entirely.

TIP #17. If you are writing in Third Person and in a character's POV, don't suddenly change and become omniscient. Example: She picked up the letter opener. She didn't know that David had used it kill his brother.

TIP #18. Write in an active voice as if story is currently happening. Backstory can be added, but make sure dialogue and actions are showing and not telling.

TIP #19. Don't head-hop during a scene. If you need to describe how the other person feels, reconsider writing from their POV or start the next scene with their POV.

TIP #20. Use strong words. Try to avoid: sort of, a lot, seemed, slightly, almost, etc. Be definite.

TIP #21. Vary your words so you don't keep repeating the same word or phrase.

TIP #22. Make sure your sentences make sense. For example: While he kissed her, he lit a match. Very hard to do both at the same time. Instead write: He kissed her, and then he lit a match.

TIP #23. Be careful of words you use instead of "said". For example: "Don't do that," he grimaced. You can't grimace words. Instead say: "Don't do that," he said, grimacing.

TIP #24. Search your document for the word "that" and make sure you've used it correctly. You might need to substitute with "which" or "who" or eliminate the word all together.

TIP #25. Try to use other more defining words besides "walked" or "ran." For example: ambled, darted, paced, moseyed, scurried, sprinted, marched, etc.

Good luck with your writing!
Cindy A. Christiansen                                                             
Sweet Romance, Comedy, Suspense…and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at: 
Buy Cindy's books from Amazon and B&N and other booksellers.

Do you have a tip that helps your writing? Share it with us.


George said...

This is a heck of a list. Thank you.

The only tip I can think of came from another GFWWG writer, Chrissy. ‘Find a better verb versus using -ly adjectives and adverbs.’ I’m looking forward to Wednesday and the rest of your tips.

Ladson said...

These are really great tips. My advice can be summed up in six words.
Read this. Memorize them. Practice always.

Thorne said...

I like the search and replace function with word. I sometimes use a program called Autocrit which finds and high lights overused words, such as that, as, was, and does an analysis of on other problem areas.
It's help to identify weak spots.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Cindy, your tips are wonderful. I have trouble with number 3. I'm looking forward to the next round on Wednesday!

Cindy A Christiansen said...

You're welcome, George. Glad you found the tips helpful.

Cindy A Christiansen said...

Ladson, What a nice compliment. Thank you. I'm glad to be of help.

Cindy A Christiansen said...

Thorne, My publisher just offered us Autocrit. I'm excited to try it and make good use of it.

Miss Mae said...

Great tips, but I'm wondering why the guy kissed her, and then lit a match! LOL

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