You’ve nailed a concept, plot, character or dilemma and formed a vision of a beautiful story in your mind. You have it planned, or perhaps are waiting to unleash it without planning anything. I want you to finish your story and enjoy the process. From my own writing I’ve found five essential writing tips that will considerably improve your story writing skills!
- BE OPEN TO CHANGE – Just because you’ve planned a story it does not mean you cannot change the plot, characters or direction. Being open to change is really the number 1 tip you must take on board when creating fiction! Always be open to change, and feel free to change your story or the elements. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a chapter confused as to where to take the story because your planning hasn’t worked out, or the story simply went another way!
- REVIEW YOUR CHARACTERS AND EVENTS REGULARLY – Be sure that you have understood your characters and what happens to them to make sure that inconsistencies don’t exist; such as Jane with blonde hair turning into a red headed man called John. Don’t be afraid of taking time to comb through a chapter for these little cracks in story either, it may save you the confusing editing process where you discover someone has grown several feet or has managed to teleport across country with no explanation whatsoever.
- HAVE THE END GOAL IN MIND – Always, when writing, be in review of your ultimate end goals or climax. Are you working toward that? Are you getting side tracked and possibly creating a completely different story? If you have a clear end goal – which comes from good planning – then you will write your plot, characters and story in that direction. Sure you might improvise elements of the story or a chapter or two away from the central plot, but at the end of the day distraction shows you lack direction in your own story. I should know.
- WRITE FOR YOURSELF – Ideally always. Many writers and published authors will say write to the market or for a particular audience, but this will cause you to quickly lose your honesty and soul. You’ll find it harder. Write the story how you want, for you. Worry about the opinion of others later.
- EDIT YOUR STORY MULTIPLE TIMES – This will give you the chance to do multiple rewrites if needed, to comb out mistakes and such and to actually review your own story in full. After a first initial draft you should aim to go through to do the initial rewriting followed by a copy edit of the manuscript. You can pay an editor to do this for you, and then work with their suggestions. Reviewing and editing allows you sometimes to take a great story and make it shine like gold. It really can make the difference, allowing you to smooth out sentences and such for easier reading. You might find you delete a lot too. Ideally you’d go through two to three times minimum.*
*A point on the editing; writers tend to go for a developmental edit followed by the line edit, followed by a spelling and punctuation check last. After that they get a proof read.* This is by no means something you have to pay for. You can do all of it yourself, and plenty of resources exist to find beta-readers etc. that can help the process considerably.
Thank you for reading this short, important post. I’d love to hear if you have any tips you’d share yourself. Of course one unwritten rule is that you should have fun. So create the story and enjoy writing it!