Friday, March 7, 2014

10 Tips for the Writing Novice

The best laid plans for blogging regularly have been way laid by life. Most everything is good, though: there's an upcoming wedding (mine!), a high school graduation (oldest daughter's), college visits, tons of concerts/recitals (my kids' and my students') and, finally, a real start on my WIP. In the latest contest I entered, #midgrademadness, part of the submission requirement was a seven sentence bio about the entrant's writing journey. If I make it into the top ten, you can read that entry next Thursday, but condensing my writer bio into such a short paragraph has made me reflect on what my writing experience has taught me.

Since I finished the first draft of my first book, The Princess Who Was Not, I have learned so much. Here are my top 10 tips for the writing novice:

1) The first draft is easy.
2) Revision is when the (seemingly) never-ending work begins. :D
3) Studying the craft of writing through books, classes, and conferences is essential.
4) Social media, especially twitter and blogs, provides a wealth of resources.
5) Plan your writing time if you want it to happen.
6) A rough outline is a great roadmap for staying on track with your plot.
7) Filling out a character worksheet between outlining and beginning to write helps flesh out your plot and (bonus!) find that elusive "voice."
8) Mary Kole's Emotional Plot* is a great supplement to the three act structure.
9) Critique partners improve your writing immeasurably.
10) Perseverance is a writer's most important virtue!

*I got this from Kole's excellent book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers and she isn't kidding about the subtitle-its the most invaluable writing craft book I've  read this year.

Okay, most of these tips are at least a blog post topic by themselves, and I will try to follow up, but please don't hesitate to ask questions in the comments!

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