What I’ve learned (so far)

December 29, 2012

This blog thing, I’m hoping, will take a direction, become what it wants to become. Until then here are some of the tips and realities that have made my writing better and my life easier.

  • Hold down function alt while you type m j i j on your keyboard if you have a notebook like me. This gets you a properly formatted emdash. I use a lot of emdashes. I thank Angel Leigh McCoy for that tip.
  • Start every story in the correct manuscript format.
  • Adverbs are, in many cases, bad. I already knew this, but if you didn’t, Google it. Decide for yourself.
  • Beware of filtering. It is also bad. (thank you Sarah Cassidy)
  • Micro tension. Make sure each section of your story begins and ends with something compelling and propelling. Even each paragraph, each sentence. Don’t ‘close’ a scene. Leave it open and the reader wondering. (thank you Usman Malik)
  • Ask yourself ‘what are the stakes’. Are they compelling enough? (thank you Joseph Nassise) I forgot this important issue in one of my stories, fell in love with the creature and ignored the story. Joe pushed me back on track.
  • Make as many connections as you can in your writing community. Help people out, be friendly, volunteer, get involved. It can be a solitary life for a writer, but there are others out there. Support each other, encourage and commend. It can inspire you and motivate like you wouldn’t believe!
  • Too many adjectives, also bad.
  • Don’t be too clever and cute, and then fall in love with the cleverness in your writing. Cut it. Hit delete. It’s annoying. Just write the story. I want to go back to the stories I wrote in high school and see what atrocities I committed.
  • Submit. You won’t know until you do.
  • Editors are great people who want to put out great publications.
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