This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
1. Go somewhere without the internet! Research facts and figures can be filled in later, but the temptation to check your Twitter interactions or rankings on Amazon every 3 minutes is the source of all my evil procrastination.
2. If you’re struggling with an emotional scene (or a seasonal one for that matter; I wrote a Christmas book through the summer) take a break and listen to some appropriate music. Let your headphones transport you right into the middle of a breakup, or a new love, or a lost one, and when you’re left feeling the emotions your characters are feeling, the words will flow along with your empathy.
3. Trust your instincts. If you feel a paragraph isn’t working or some dialogue sounds too cheesy, those are invariably what your Editor will come back and ask you to change. You might love a certain line, but if it’s just not working in the situation, you’ll know it, and it’s not worth trying to push it through because it’ll only lead to rewrites.
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4. Increase the dialogue, decrease the ‘she stirred her coffee’, ‘she rubbed her eyes’ etc. Because who cares exactly what minor gesticulations your characters are doing? You wouldn’t have that level of detail in a script, you’d leave it to the actors to conjure up the imagery, and your readers will do that too depending on the mood and the chatter. That was a HUGE thing I learnt whilst writing The Twelve Dates of Christmas!
5. I read a great analogy once about finishing chapters, about how they should end on the edge of the cliff and not the side of the road; they shouldn’t be a comfortable place to pull over and have a break. This absolutely made me rethink how I was ending chapters, and was especially important while writing Twelve Dates, which depends on people wanting to purchase the next instalment.
Lisa’s first novel, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, is published on 12th November.