Daily Writing Tip 63 of 100, Don’t Make Excuses

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – Don’t Make Excuses

Source – The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes by Jack Bickham

If you are serious about the craft of fiction, you must never make excuses for yourself. You simply cannot allow yourself to:

  • Say you’re too tired.
  • Postpone work until “later.”
  • Fail to work because you’re too busy right now.
  • Wait for inspiration
  • Plan to get right at it “tomorrow.”
  • Give up because (editors) (agents) (readers) (critics) are unfair. (Fill in as many as you want.)
  • Tell yourself you’re too old (or too young) to start.
  • Blame others in your family for your lack of free time.
  • Say your job is too demanding to allow you any other activity.
  • Tell yourself that your story idea isn’t good enough.

Or any of a host of other excuses you may dream up for yourself.

No. Let’s get this straight right away: Writers write; everyone else makes excuses.

Jeebus… I think I’ve used all of these excuses in a single day.

Daily Writing Tip 62 of 100, Conflict: Coming Soon To a Scene Near You

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – Conflict: Coming Soon To a Scene Near You

Source Beginnings, Middles & Ends, by Nancy Kress

The point to remember about conflict is that it arises because something is not going as expected. Your readers should suspect that as early as your first few paragraphs.

Calling for conflict in the opening few paragraphs of a story doesn’t mean that your first sentence must feature a body hurtling past a sixth-story window (although it might).

Yeah… that’s the ticket. A body hurtling past a window. Better get writing.

Daily Writing Tip 61 of 100, Final Words On Creating Realistic Characters

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – Final Words On Creating Realistic Characters

Source – Mastering Point of View by Sherry Szeman

Liking your characters, allowing them to live their own lives, endowing them with good and bad characteristics, the skillful use of unreliable narrators – these are all valuable tools for creating realistic characters in any point of view. Observing human nature and becoming conscious of the techniques other skillful writers use will also help you develop your own characters, especially if you become aware of the techniques authors use in different points of view.

Tip

If your readers talk about your characters as if they were real people, e.g., Asking things like, why on earth that doesn’t Bill leave Marion? Then that’s an indication that you’ve created realistic, round characters who have psychological depth and complexity.

Yes… I think it’s very important that you like your characters. If you don’t like them it’s very hard to make them round, full, and complete.

But just because you like your characters… especially because you like them – it doesn’t mean you should be afraid to kill them. Go ahead, kill the hell out of them… kill them in some particularly horrific way.

Have some fun.

Daily Writing Tip 60 of 100, The First Draft As Generation

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – The First Draft As Generation

Source – The Passionate, Accurate Story by Carol Bly

Some writing classes start, using pure critiquing – a mixed bag at best – helping one another organize even before the author has discovered the true heart of the story. In the first draft, the author should still be brooding, maundering around the material – treating it like a hypothetical first draft. It is a great mistake at that point to start applying writing skills or anything like.

Again and again and again I come across the same advice for writing first drafts. The advice is to turn off the inner editor and freely write whatever comes to mind. Only then, later, through the process of editing, this is shaped into something useful.

It’s really hard to do. Our entire lives we have had editors hovering over us critiquing what we do, critiquing what we think, critiquing… Everything.

These voices are always there – welling up from our subconscious – harping on us. Getting them to shut up is almost impossible… like nailing jello to a tree.