I had this post in my head, and it was distracting me from my work so I figured I would just get it out of my system. I didn’t actually realise that I knew so much about writing, though as I’ve said before, I am always learning.
On with the list then:
Show, Don’t Tell
When you’re describing something, try to make use of all the senses. This helps the reader to really get into and experience the scene you are trying to convey. For example, when describing a summers’ day don’t just say that it’s hot and sunny; try explaining how warm air feels on the skin, how bright the sun is and what sounds and smells you might experience on such a day.
Less is More
Especially with character description but also, I suppose with all forms of description, just give what is needed for the reader to get a good picture of the scene in their head. I know for me personally, when I’m reading, I hate to build an image of a character in my mind only to have that image shattered by a long description. I usually give the basics such as hair colour and length, maybe eye colour and a quick reference to the face shape. Other than that I try to leave it to the reader to fill in what’s missing. As with everything else, however, this is just my personal preference. Everything in life is subjective and different for each individual.
The Info Dump
The best advice here is simply, don’t do it. Or at least try your best. Particularly at the very beginning of your story. I am guilty of this myself occasionally, though it is something I am striving to be better at. Sometimes I just like to get it all out which, in a first draft is probably fine. A better way would be to scatter information such as backstory throughout your project, giving it only when needed.
I said in my post ‘More Writing Tips‘ that electronics are an enormous distraction, but there are others. Anything can become a distraction if you allow it to. For me, it’s more often than not, the TV, seeing as I write in my living room. It is easy to turn it off and write, but whenever I find that I’m struggling a little, I convince myself that I need a break. This isn’t a bad thing – the bad thing is that the little break turns into a five-hour Netflix binge, after which I feel guilty for not having accomplished what I’d set out to do.
Books are another form of distraction for me. I sometimes read for research, or to learn how others have structured their books and often, I’ll get lost in the novel or whatever I may have picked up and before I know it a couple of hours have gone by.
Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. You can find it anywhere if you keep your eyes and your mind open and actively seek it out.
Read anything and everything. This can help you to see how other writers have structured their stories or how they use such things as flashbacks, flashforwards or how others weave in backstory. Or even how plot devices such as Checkov’s gun have been used.
So here are another six tips on writing.
As always, thank you for reading!
Until next time,
© 2017 GLT