Now that everyone is home from RWA, and we've celebrated the 4th of July with lots of food and fireworks, it's time to put our noses to the grindstone. I've mentioned how I love notebooks. I plot in them, make notes in them, have them here and there and everywhere, so obviously being my undisplined self, I forget which notebook holds what. I was going through a stack of them the other day while looking for notes I may have misplaced on book three. I found a gold mine.
Not notes on book three, but writing tips I've jotted down. I wish I knew who to attribute them to. Some may have come from a workshop I took by Debra Dixon, some from other writers, and some from me, things I've picked up over the years. But it was so nice to run across them. We all know these tips, but no matter how long we've been writing, it always pays to stop and look at the basics. So I'm posting ten tips here and hope it inspires you the way it did me. This is Part One. I'll follow with more next week.
1. RUE: Resist the urge to explain everything. Less is more.
2. Allow readers to get to know your characters gradually. It's much more interesting.
3. Don't reveal too much too soon. Keep readers guessing.
4. Give readers only as much backstory as they need at that given time. Describing every detail limits readers imaginations.
5. Develop characters through dialog and action. It gives them dimension so they aren't cardboard cutouts.
6. Don't go overboard on emotions, especially ones you've already shown, or they'll lose their power.
7. Use setting carefully. It's powerful and can really solidify the atmosphere, but too much and you risk losing the reader.
8. Avoid cliches, unless it's the character speaking and it fits her or his personality.
9. Use strong verbs and watch the "ly" words. It's better to use a strong verb than one weak verb and one adverb.
10. Show don't tell. This is a basic but biggie that we all know, but it's easy to slip back into.