This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Tanis Rideout's book Above All Things is a romantic historical novel based on British mountaineer George Mallory's fatal attempt to climb Everest, and his wife Ruth, who is left at home, waiting for him to return to her. Tanis popped over recently to give us her top five tips for writers.
1. Read. Read everything, all the time. Read widely and vigorously and critically. If you love something, figure out what the writer is doing and try it yourself. If you hate something, figure that out too.
2. Write. I don’t necessarily think you have to write every day like some people do, but you have to do it often enough to get consistent and build up your tolerance for it, same as exercise. The more you do it, the easier it will be. It won’t ever be easy, because you should keep pushing yourself, but you’ll get stronger.
3. Play. Try new things – try poetry, try screenplays, try structures, try voices. If it’s too comfortable, try something else.4. Read your work out loud. Better yet, have someone read it to you. It’s so easy to miss things in your own work. You know what you mean, you might even think you know what you’ve written. Reading your work aloud forces you to slow down and really read what’s on the page. If you have someone else read your work to you – then you really get to hear how it sounds to someone else, and that’s what really matters.
5. Ask questions and make choices. What do you want this scene to mean, what do you want this character to think? You’re in charge of the world you’re creating, ask yourself questions to clarify what it is you’re trying to get at, and then make clear and concise decisions. Writing is all question and answer.