Here are some writing tips from guest contributor Jessica Marie. These are aimed at those skilled, budding authors out there. Remember, you’re not alone!
- Finish what you start. If you can’t think of an ending, a middle or even a beginning, make it bad. At least it will be finished, and then you’ll have something to bounce off and improve.
- Don’t wait for perfection. It doesn’t strike, but is crafted. You have to push through all the less great ideas/words/characters/settings/images and refine. If you’re waiting for that inspiration that hasn’t struck yet, do something useful in the meantime and write anyway. It’s good practice.
- Develop your narrative voice. For me, I go for a poetic-come-philosophical narrative voice/style, with a view of the horizon as well as an anchor in the present that emerges from the past. Go for mundane details, then polish them into something with a flavour of the narrator that interweaves perspective, opinion and observation.
- Make use of imagery. Make me see everything.
- Think about your own reaction. If you’re bored, the reader will be bored.
- Look around you at the world, take note of things. Your characters can then take notice of these things. Take notice of people. Your characters can become more real. Perhaps sit in a cafe to write: people-watching really is good inspiration.
- Use Enneagram/Myers-Briggs Type Indicator/any credible personality typing system to flesh out character.
- Take time out. Leave it for a bit and then come back to it.
- Make time for writing. Even just fifteen minutes a day is a good habit to get into.
- Put your heart into it. Put your self into it
- Have confidence – dream big, be fierce, and also be a sensitive storyteller. Look for examples of this kind of story-telling in films and books.
- Create beautiful scenes which you would like to be in, live out, feel out.
- Enlighten. Tell the reader things they already know but have not yet found the words to express themselves.
- Know what excites people.
- Move away from speech. Dialogue and setting are great, but scenes with no dialogue – that incorporate action and movement instead – have complementary charm. The keywords are: wittiness, action, emotion, revelations, growth, philosophy, mistakes, fallibility, heart.
- Show people your work, get feedback, and listen to some of it. Ask them to put smiley faces next to bits they like, which will become good indicators of what to keep in during the editing process.
- Write with others. Perhaps start a weekly writing club with a friend that takes place in a favourite spot.
- Work through night if inspiration strikes.
- Find a cheap way of printing drafts. Work is a good place. Don’t leave copies lying around the printer, though – it might raise awkward questions.
- Read books that are like those you want to write. Read books that are different. Read about writing.
- Imagine. Imagine people reading your book. Imagine the whole process from writing to dissemination. Imagine people telling you they’ve really enjoyed it and that they’re dying to read another one of your novels!
Jessica Marie is an aspiring novelist living in London. She’s inspired by new experiences, ideas and music.
We hope these tips are in some way helpful and inspire you to start (or keep) writing. Now, have a read of some poetry.