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Thread: Sara's 10 Basic Writing Tips

  1. #1
    carpe noctem Sarita's Avatar
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    Sara's 10 Basic Writing Tips

    Here you go! Read it and learn! LOL.
    • Find something you're interested in and write about it. Sure, research so that you can write what you know, but learning while you write is always more fun!
    • Travel as much as you can to get good visuals for settings. If you can’t travel, get some good adventure magazines from your local library and visit new locales every week.
    • Read. Read. Read. In a variety of genres and styles. Fiction writers can learn from everyone, fiction and nonfiction alike.
    • When you're in the writing groove, leave yourself love notes for the next day, things like, "James is going to kill his brother in the next scene. Be sure to leave the knife on the buffett," or “John wants to kiss Ellen. Make sure they get some alone time.” As Hemingway says, don’t let your well run dry.
    • Talk to people where ever you go. I know some writers tend to be loners or introverts, but step outside the comfort zone for the sake of your art. It’s worth it. That silly girl behind the cash register at the grocery store would make a great supporting character, if you only gave her the chance!
    • Try reading some of your favorite books in another language, if you know one. The perspective and language use will surprise you and quite possibly give you ideas for beautifully worded prose.
    • Do crosswords to flex your language muscles. Language continues to change and evolve, keep up with it. Subscribe to the word of the day at various different sites. Keep expanding your vocabulary.
    • Have beta readers you can trust, but be sure to have enough confidence in your own writing before you hand it out. Occasionally, 5 betas will say 5 different things. You need to know your work so that you can decide who to listen to.
    • Hydrate! Nothing worse than a cranky writer.
    • Enjoy the process.


    Guest Additions:

    Courtesy of the Grand Master CC: Remember that "write what you know" isn't just about knowing the proper name of the widget your psycho-killer uses to slice out his victim's spleen, it's about emotions too, which is every bit as important if not more so.
    Last edited by Sarita; 03-25-2008 at 03:17 AM.


    ~Sara

    "There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." ~ Hugo

  2. #2
    Happy to be here kristie911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saritams8 View Post

    Hydrate! Nothing worse than a cranky writer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saritams8 View Post

    Enjoy the process.

    Drink alcohol. It makes enjoying the process much easier.

    Great advice, Sara...thanks for sharing!
    Last edited by kristie911; 03-22-2008 at 10:49 PM. Reason: Ugh...screwed up the formatting!
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  3. #3
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saritams8 View Post
    • Read. Read. Read. In a variety of genres and styles. Fiction writers can learn from everyone, fiction and nonfiction alike.
    I think I've learned as much from books I thought were terrible as I have from books I thought were fantastic. It's rarely a waste of time, reading. Although I'm finally getting to a point where if a book is seriously annoying me, I no longer feel compelled to finish it.

    That's either maturity or age-induced irritability.

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saritams8 View Post
    Here you go! Read it and learn! LOL.

    • Read. Read. Read. In a variety of genres and styles. Fiction writers can learn from everyone, fiction and nonfiction alike.

    I read a lot but tend to do it more as a reader for enjoyment rather than as a writer so this is something I do need to do more. Some great advice

  5. #5
    Blood Elves FTW BlueLucario's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Blood Elves FTW BlueLucario's Avatar
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    Oh wait. This is a DARE?!
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  7. #7
    Come on you stranger, you legend, Devil Ledbetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueLucario View Post
    Oh wait. This is a DARE?!
    Yes, it was. But the advice is no less valuable for it.

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  8. #8
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saritams8 View Post
    Hydrate! Nothing worse than a cranky writer.
    You mean moisturize. Estee Lauder has a fabulous face cream...

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
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  9. #9
    Protecting Teddy with all my might. Leah J. Utas's Avatar
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    Excellent tips. And a good dare, too.
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  10. #10
    carpe noctem Sarita's Avatar
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    You mean moisturize. Estee Lauder has a fabulous face cream...
    Of course, moisturizer is just as important. I prefer Aveda. Tourmaline charged face cream is a gift from the gods!
    Quote Originally Posted by Suirattigas View Post
    Excellent tips. And a good dare, too.
    Thank Jason. He inspires me to greatness


    And I'm wondering if anyone else has some great tips to add? I'll edit the original post to include them if you'd like!


    ~Sara

    "There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." ~ Hugo

  11. #11
    It's hard being green ChunkyC's Avatar
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    I like this thread, Sara.
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  12. #12
    AW Addict CH1's Avatar
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    Good tips

  13. #13
    figuring it all out
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    Right

    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    I think I've learned as much from books I thought were terrible as I have from books I thought were fantastic. It's rarely a waste of time, reading. Although I'm finally getting to a point where if a book is seriously annoying me, I no longer feel compelled to finish it.

    That's either maturity or age-induced irritability.
    There are too many books to finish one you don't like. My rule - I'll read fifty pages, if I still can't get into it, I'm out of it.

  14. #14
    And thus we begin the edits melaniehoo's Avatar
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    Great suggestions!
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  15. #15
    loves elves and fairies :)
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    And I'm wondering if anyone else has some great tips to add?
    I don't really know if you want to call this another tip to add to the list, exactly, but I've always found it helpful to share my writing ideas with a friend or relative who shares my frame of mind and my interests in the subject I'm writing on. Conversational feedback almost always pushes me another step foreward.

  16. #16
    good stuff, sara.
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  17. #17
    Mr Mojo Risin... DWSTXS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristie911 View Post
    Drink alcohol. It makes enjoying the process much easier.

    Great advice, Sara...thanks for sharing!

    So, Kristie, let me get this straight, you are the naked novelist, and you're drinking alcohol.

    Hmmm, well, in my world, that makes you the perfect woman!


    Yes Sara, good stuff !
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  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW
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    Read and read and read and if you’ll still have some free time left, well, read some more.
    Once, long time ago (about forty years,… wow, how times flies), a Romanian literature professor told me; “My boy, read the masterpieces, for you must, but don’t put aside those crappy, worthless books, read them too, for they’ll act as purgatives, they’ll clean your system and clear your mind, so you’ll be able to appreciate, even more the next great book.”

  19. #19
    Poet. Veteran. Comic Book Maker jst5150's Avatar
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    Wow. This thread still has legs. That was quite a dare. I'd suggest getting others to post their 10 writing tips and maybe culling them altogether.

    But, you know, who am I to blow against the wind.
    “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” -- Maxwell

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  20. #20
    carpe noctem Sarita's Avatar
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    Okay, Jason. I'll volunteer to compile them if you start by sending me yours


    ~Sara

    "There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." ~ Hugo

  21. #21
    Poet. Veteran. Comic Book Maker jst5150's Avatar
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    Sent.
    “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” -- Maxwell

    I write and draw a printed space opera/scifi comic book, "Vorpal": http://headshrinkerspress.com/vorpal

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin atabscooler's Avatar
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    Hi SaritaM,
    Hydrate! is definitely the right advice. Have you heard about Masaru Emoto, A Japanese writer who researches water? He has written very interesting stuff.
    atabscooler

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin atabscooler's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Was overwhelmed, will read again to get my breath back later. Maybe leave a sensible comment too.
    atabscooler

  24. #24
    Moderator AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Some More?

    How flattering to be asked! You'd think I could, you know, actually write or something. Maybe on my best days.
    • Eavesdrop. Whether you listen to people in stores and restaurants, or visit chats and don’t say much, you’ll still find a wealth of ways people express themselves, and hear some great ideas you can work into your writing.
    • Follow the screenwriting wisdom: enter each scene as late as you can, and leave early. Don’t waste your reader’s time describing your character looking up a phone number, dialing, saying hello and asking to speak to so-and-so. Instead, jump into the conversation when it’s already gotten interesting.
    • Have a master plan for your first work, and maybe the second one, too. Think through the whole story, script, or article and organize it in a fixed form, whether it’s a synopsis, index cards, storyboards, detailed outline, or whatever else works for you. You’ll never write yourself into a corner, or completely lose direction, if you have a road map. If a brilliant detour or a better destination presents itself, great--but prepare a new plan before going down that road.
    • Make it as good as you possibly can before you let anyone else read it. Print it out and read it--you’ll see things you didn’t notice on the screen. Read it out loud, as if you had an avid audience. Never ask someone to ignore spelling and grammar mistakes. Fix them.
    • Give yourself thinking time when you’re unlikely to fall asleep. Go for a walk, turn off the music in the car on the way to work, sweep the kitchen or perform some other mindless task, skip the crappy sitcom... Find time for your mind to play with your story and characters. Rein it in if your thoughts stray.
    • Don’t seek feedback from family or dear friends. Acquaintances well-read in your genre, especially if they also write in the genre, are best qualified to give you meaningful critique. If you only want praise or reassurance, ask your mom or best friend.
    • Give yourself permission to write utter crap. Hey, you’re going to rewrite it at least once start to finish anyway, so why not complete a first draft quickly? It’s sweet typing The End on anything.
    • Learn the weak verbs and avoid them when you can: look, see, have, get, go, start, begin, try, make, play, take, wonder, seem, appear, and the ever-popular is/was/were. A great verb totally makes a sentence.
    • Find one telling detail, provide it to the readers, and let their imaginations fill in the rest. A blue car with a white door tells the reader plenty about both the car and the person who owns it. So do the muddy workboots of the foreman crossing his boss’ Aubusson rug.
    • Delete adverbs that muscle their way into your work, as well as any other words that don’t carry their weight: very, much, more, somewhat, somehow, quite, rather, particularly, specially, spectacularly, actually, really, totally, absolutely, completely, continually, constantly, continuously, literally, unfortunately, ironically, incredibly, hopefully, finally, in fact, even.


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  25. #25
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Great thread with very good advice! For once I have nothing to add.

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