Start Today, No Matter What #IWSG #nevergiveup #Writetip
[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
There’ something very exciting you should know. Check out our IWSG homepage. Find out the news on the theme of the next anthology. I’m terribly excited! And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂
When you begin something new and different, it’s a silent mystery …
… unknown stories and characters unfold and develop across your page.
You set first deadlines. You’re excited when you meet them. Then before you know it you’ve done what you’ve set out to do so then what?
This month’s IWSG question asks: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?
Back in 2008, I made plenty of mistakes. You know what? I don’t regret a thing in the writing process. I do have one wish, and a wish isn’t really a regret, right? In any case, I wish I’d been armed with more information about the industry and today, it’s easier then ever to find out what works and what expectations publishers have for submissions. So here’s a list of my five top tips, and I must say I am by no means an editor.
- Genre word count.
Over a year ago, I attended a writing workshop and an agent mentioned my story synopsis was interesting, then she asked me if I knew what the standard word count for Young Adult was. I had no idea a cap existed and my word count would have sent a flurry of query rejections being 10,000 words over acceptable submissions.
- Wordiness Hurts more then Helps.
Be careful about describing a place or character too many times. Unless of course something changes drastically to change the mood or hint at the growth. Also combine setting with character action with the use of strong verbs and adjectives relative to the character.For Example from Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song:
- “Still humming, Kate returned to the liquor cabinet on the pew and uncorked the various bottles, anointing the seats, row after row, trying to make the contents last. She saved Mother Alice’s whiskey for the wooden podium at the front. A Bible sat open on top, and in the moment of superstition, Kate spared the book. Lobbing it out the open front door and onto the grass. When she stepped back inside, the damp, sweet smell of alcohol assaulted her senses. “
- In this example, we see not only strong verbs and adjectives, but they match with the character’s superstitious nature and a hint of where she’s been. Religious boarding school. And she’s trying as hard as she can to get out.
- Telling and Showing Action Scenes
I can’t begin to explain how difficult this task was as I started writing. So many people told me about it, but I couldn’t see it. Not until a fellow writing and author friend took my story and shared examples from it with me, then gave me a showing way to write the sentence. Finally, I got it.
- Effective Use of Dialogue Tags
Said and asked are correct dialogue tags to use. They’re natural transitions and become invisible to the reader:
“Sara’s head dipped for a fast moment in class, but she caught herself. She pinched her arm and willed her eyes open larger, up and down to stay awake.
“Rough night?” Betsy asked, gripping the back of Sara’s chair.
Sara elbowed her back and sat up straight. “Understatement of the year,” she said.
- Misplaced Modifiers
I learned about modifiers in a corporate writing training class. There are things called dangling modifiers and even misplaced modifiers. Be aware. The use or absence of them clouds the clarity of your writing.
So that’s it for today. Wow! A lot, I know, my head is spinning 🙂
The important thing to note is you have to do what you love. Write. Set deadlines. Write some more because you love it. Because you need to do something for you, even if it’s only 5 minutes a day 🙂
Happy IWSG day everyone! I’ll be jumping around visiting you too 🙂
P.S. The article I used for tips: