Monday 28 November 2011
MY TOP 10 WRITING TIPS
"Of course there are more than 10, but these should give you some food for thought – together with [Anna's] comments!
Number 1: think before you write. No, really, because if you don’t then you are storing up trouble later on. Give yourself the luxury of a ‘think tank’ all of your own before you ever put pen to paper.
Number 2: what do you want to write? I am talking form not content here. Short story, novel, play, radio drama, podcast, film? Each has a different approach so back to number 1 and think about it first – it’s not always your first thought of the appropriate medium that would suit your writing best.
Number 3: why do you want to write it? Creative fulfilment, to make money, to get clients, to enlighten and/or entertain? All of these are valid, and it helps to know what your focus is.
Number 4: who do you want to read it? Your ideal reader: are they a business person, a child, someone under 30 or over 60? It matters because you will use different language to reach different audiences.
Number 5: perspiration. Because writing is not for the fainthearted, you need to put some effort in – though not necessarily sweat your way to success!
Number 6: heart or head? You, and your reader, are you appealing to their intellect and sense of logic or tugging their heartstrings – or both?
Number 7: style and content. Always go with your natural style if at all possible because then it will be your authentic writing voice. Is that warm and chatty, cool and distant, short spiky sentences or long expositions? You can do both, but match the style to the content: for example, a love story written in academic language won’t stir many hearts and a manual on how to get out of debt will irritate the reader if the language is not direct, clear and from the heart.
Number 8: consistency. A natural follow on to number 5 because if you are applying yourself to your writing you must do it regularly and consistently. Block time out in your diary and make it sacred – it is.
Number 9; edit and review. However brilliant that first draft, it will be improved by your re-reading, editing and reviewing it – and then giving it to someone else to do see if it makes sense or could be improved. You do’t have to accept their ideas, but it’s a good idea to do a little testing to see if you have achieved what you set out to do.
Number 10: inspiration. Why is this last? Because for most writers it comes first, and they ignore the previous 9. Inspiration is necessary, but not always and not all the time. If you are waiting for it before you start writing then you will never get round to it. Apply rules 1-9 as if you had been inspired and you will find by the end that you probably have been."