This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
1. Love your story. If you’re not feeling inspired or passionate or moved by your writing, then the chances are readers won’t either. Never lose sight of why you love writing, and why your story is important to you.
2. Make plans. Although it’s tempting to dive right into your book, if you do some planning first you can be free to write like the wind. I have character profiles with ages, physical features, likes and dislikes, and I also make a list of key dates in the timeline of the novel, and also in my characters’ pasts. If you get that all straight beforehand, you won’t get stuck on whether a date is right or your heroine’s eye colour is consistent, because you can quickly check in your notes and keep going.
3. Keep an eye on habit words. When I read over a first draft of my writing, I always find that I’ve used ‘just’ and ‘really’ about a million times, and that all my characters are constantly saying ‘Oh’, ‘wow’, or ‘well.’ Everyone has habit words they use too often, and which don’t add anything to the story, and I always try and do an edit where my main focus is getting rid of those words. They will always creep in, but it’s worth going through and taking them out. (I’m quickly checking these tips to see how many times I’ve used ‘just’ – only once, and I’ve just (argh) hit the delete button).
4. Make a space. In order to have the mental space to write, I like to sort out my physical space – with my laptop, coffee and music in the background. Whether it’s an office, a corner of the sofa, or sitting on the bed with the pillows up, make sure the place where you write is comfy, so you feel completely at home and can put all your energy into your words.
5. Read a lot! One of the best things about being a writer is that reading becomes part of your job. You can learn so much from how other writers do it – read different genres and styles, and even when you’re not consciously thinking about exactly how someone’s done something so well, you’ll be learning.
A Christmas Tail by Cressida McLaughlin is out now.