Are you an aspiring author?
Do you feel like you have a book in you?
Well if you’ve answered yes to the questions above, I will love to welcome you. Your search for answers on writing ends here.
Before we begin, I will like to tell you why I wrote this post.
When I began writing, I had no idea what I was doing, I knew I had stories in me to tell, but I wish then, that I had a mentor, someone to show me the ropes. Suffice to say, I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but the more I wrote the better I became at my craft. So it got me thinking that just like I was then, someone might be in need of some basic, simple advice to get started with their dream book. Therefore, I decided to write an article and titled it, writing tips for the novice.
I have researched a list of 5 good books with great reviews to help you on your way. On top of that, I have added my own two pence, giving you simple tips and advice that has helped me successfully write all my books. For the novices out there eager to begin their first book, please read on, and for the prolific writers who have horned their craft, I pray you also read on as your pearls of wisdom are welcome here. You may leave ideas that has served you well in the comment session.
Before we get into it, here are 5 books that will help perfect your writing. Sink your teeth into this great books and you may learn a thing or two.
The Elements of Style Fourth edition. by Pearson £6.99
On Writing by Stephen King £7.69
Structuring Your Novel: by PenForASword £8.30
Okay, here we go.
Writing Tips and Advice.
So you finally decided that you have found your path in life and its writing whether as a hobby or you see writing as a career, but you don’t know how to go about it. Where to begin, all the details you should include what you should leave out or how to pace your story. Well, don’t panic, writing is a craft that is polished with every attempt, the more you write, the better you become. It doesn’t matter if you are not an English major; as long as you have a story to tell and you want the world to take notice, I advise you keep reading.
Where do we begin?
Imagine for a minute you experienced something that terrified you or interested you. It could be for instance, you had a good or bad experience in a restaurant, a Hotel, or something picked your interest while on a vacation or at work. It could be something that happened to you, a new diet you tried or a programme you watched that excited you. Basically, it can be anything because ideas spring from all aspects of life. The most important thing is to establish what you want to talk about and how to get it out so your message is received.
I am going to assume for the sake of this writing that you already have something in mind. Now that you know what you want to talk about, you wonder how to best share it with your friends or shout it to the world so they stay with you through the duration. You want to tell your story, so they understand what you sensed, the emotions you felt, the surroundings where the event took place, the people involved, how they acted or reacted, their body language, their facial expressions etc.
That is all well and good, but for anyone other than your mother or siblings (They may have no choice but to listen because of family loyalty.) to listen, you need to first grab their attention. First you need a unique headline that invites their curiosity so they want more. Let’s assume you already came up with a unique and specific headline, the next challenge is to lead them into your story with the first line. How would you begin your story? The first line of any story you tell will decide if the story is worth anyone’s time. Tell it right and your audience will want more, tell it wrong and you’ve lost them before you’ve even begun.
Start with a line, a killer line that will charm or attract your listeners into wanting more.
To keep your audience, you should try to connect with their emotions, so they are interested and intrigued but keep it short. You don’t want to paint the whole picture in one sentence otherwise why will they bother to listen to the rest of your story. Spike their curiosity with an action that will make it impossible for them not to want to hear the story from the beginning to the end. You want to make sure that you don’t bore your listeners that you only mention things about the event that are relevant to the story.
If you over describe, you may lose your audience.
Ask yourself what makes this story unique, even if it’s just a regular story find that angle the one that spiked your curiosity and made you interested in it in the first place. Now think about your listeners as your readers and begin to write.
Imagine the characters of the story playing out in front of you, their personalities, only mention it if important to the story. If a character is lazy, and you mentioned it, then I as a reader I would expect that description to come out later when you are building the story. I want to know how the character’s laziness affected the plot along the way. Be suspenseful but don’t get too carried away, develop your characters by telling a back-story. Explain why they are the way they are if it’s needed, but, do not stay in the past too long. Always find a way to connect the past with the present. Alternate if you must until you have made your point. Expand the story with other characters that helped shape the life of the main character, only include them if vital to the story it will help amplify your story. Write all you can, omit nothing then come back and read it again, and cut out anything that is not needed, rewrite and read again. Call a friend, your spouse or someone that supports what you are doing and read it out loud. Hearing it again, will help you decide if you are on course or if you need to rewrite but most important of all have fun.
Story telling is artful but fun, enjoy creating stories from ideas that have formed in your mind, keep mental notes of every idea that pops in your mind and write it down every opportunity you get. Be yourself and be true to your art, take criticism but only constructive ones that will make your writing better. Let your imagination run wild and the sky as they say will be your limit.
2Write what you know.
One of the few reasons I think can cause a writer to have a block is when the writer decides to write about something they haven’t thought through.
So you have a story in your mind, it is at the early stage, have you decided what the plot would be? Why you want to write that story? What would happen at the beginning, the middle and how you think it should end? Where the story takes place? The time and the period, the setting of the environment in which your story will unfold. Whose story are you telling? Understand your main characters and why it is important to tell their story. Decide how you want to write, from a witness point of view(Omniscient (Third person)) or a narrative (First person). Think about what would happen at each important stages of the plot and how they develop into a deeper plot line.
All this, you should know before you begin writing. Write it all down, it may only fit into one page but then you have a base to work from, a direction so to speak. You have formed the frame of your work, the best is yet to come, I call it adding the meat to the skeleton. Read what you have written so far, as you read more ideas about what the character will do, say or act will pop into your mind. As you write down what your character is saying to another character, you will find that you are also writing their thoughts down, their reactions to each other. You decide if you want to make their true feelings known or keep it hidden. Perhaps keeping their true feelings hidden and then letting it out later in the story might have an impact on how the rest of the story will go.
What you decide to do will depend on how your story is shaping, if it will enhance or deplete your characters relationships. Whichever trajectory you decide to follow, let it be true to where you need to be as the story and the characters develops further. As you read what you have written so far, you connect your characters to the time, period and environment and let your readers see why your characters are a product of their environment or not, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, which is why creative writing is fun.
These tips are not set in stone; as can see, there are many books out there, all with great ideas that will help you become better. These are tips that I use and they are just here to help you understand that when you know what you want to write, it is easier to flow. You write until you are tired and come back and write some more because you have cared to understand what your story is about. The plot may change at any time, it is your prerogative but you will find that you will not be blocked because you have created for yourself a direction. And all you have to do is follow the directions in your plots through the many paths it will take you until you have fully developed your story and brought it to the end. If you don’t have an in-depth knowledge on what you want to write about, it is important to do some researching so that what you write is believable.
3 Don’t give up, Ideas will always come.
Writing of any kind can sometimes seem tedious. Even when you know what you want to write, finding the time to actually do it can sometimes prove troublesome, not to talk of writing yourself into a corner because you are short on ideas. Everyday stuff that you do, can meaningfully take over your time so that we have no time to commit to writing. For example, a great idea pops into your mind, you reach for your laptop and you just want to write but then before you begin, you decide you want to check your email. You open your email, you see an update from Facebook or Goodreads, a message you can’t ignore.
You tell yourself you only want to reply to the emails or write a comment on Facebook, which can lead you into taking other actions that has actually driven you away from the main reason you grabbed your laptop. Before you know it, you have spent an hour surfing the net and doing other stuff except committing to writing your book. Then you remember you have to write, you begin but that idea you had, is not has fresh in your mind like it was an hour ago when you had it. Even if you can remember, you may have lost something crucial to that idea that made it unique. These situations most of the time elongates the length of time you spend writing.
To avoid these situations, always carry a pen and a paper, ideas will always pop in your mind especially if you have been thinking about something or a direction you want for your book. Most of the time when we start thinking, the answers do not come immediately but unconsciously, your mind and your brain will continue to work on the possible answers and when you least expect, the solution will come but if you can’t mentally note it down or write it down, it will disappear as fast as it came. That is why it would be nice to have a way to remember these ideas. A lot of ideas will come to you, you just keep writing them down and then you must make the time to sort out all the ideas you have written down.
Then comes the decision time, determining which one applies and reflects exactly what you want to say in your writing, which one to discard and which to keep for another project. Giving up time that you spend doing other things that are not as productive and putting the time towards your writing will help with progression. With all your ideas that you have written down in hand, you will always have something to write. Ideas usually bread more ideas; the trick is not to let any of your ideas waste by not noting them and documenting each of your thoughts that you deem important. In conclusion, make time to think about what you want, and your mind will go to work but when your brain starts to spew ideas, make sure to catch all of it and then make the time to choose the best fit and write them all up. Look out for more tips and advice in a world of writing.
4 Read! read! read!
You can’t be much of a writer, if you do not love reading, check out books of authors you love and read them. The general idea for anyone taking writing as a serious career will be to be better than, or as good as those you look up to. If you do not have such aim, then perhaps you do not aim for greatness as a writer, that is okay too. However, for those who want to become great writers, you must read as much as you write. Reading broadens your mind, do not stick to subjects and genres you love, dare to venture out of your comfort zone, we are still learning in life and you may find that you learned a thing or two in the process.
5 When you have completed the first draft, write it all over again.
It sounds crazy but often times, we rejoice after completing the first draft of a book, for me that is when the real work and fun begins. What I have found is that each time I think I have completed a book, the next time I revisit the it, I hate half the stuff I wrote at first. I discard a lot of stuff that I once thought were great, and better ideas come to mind sub-consciously that help strengthen the story. Rewriting makes my work better and I can see it with fresh eyes after leaving it for a few months to simmer. So don’t be afraid to critic your own work, if it means abandoning the first draft completely and starting all over, then that is what you must do. Your aim should always be to produce great books, mediocrity should not be part of your thinking.
Yeah! I said 5, I will save the rest for another post, I hope these tips will help you all become great writers.
Look out for more tips and advice on my next section and follow me on, twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Check out my official website for my latest books: Sebastian Vampire romance Saga: or find them on Amazon.
Sebastian 3:Conquest of power. Coming soon! Pre-order now on Amazon.