From Hook to Book

A Bakers Dozen Writing Tips

When one of my blog commenters, a new writer, asked me a couple of posts ago what tips did I have for new writers, I thought why not share them in a blog post too.

  1. Write every day
  2. Read widely – the masters, classics, short stories, poetry and contemporary fiction. Learn to read as a writer. Ask how did the writer make this work? What techniques is the writer using? How does the writer achieve this effect?
  3. Write the story you want to write; the story you believe in; write from the heart. This is the kind of story that will reach out from the page: touch your heart or grip you by the throat. (Maybe not in the first draft, but if the essence is there, and the writer’s passion, the rest can be redrafted, edited, polished to brilliance.)
  4. Seek feedback – find a critique buddy. Utilise what resonates. Mull the opinions before discarding any not in tune with your intention for your story. What may sting at first can be found to be gold a few days later.
  5. Write because you love it as your first priority. Publication is a bonus, but aim for it. (If you have a story worth telling, you want it to be read.)
  6. Experiment: try different styles of writing, don’t stick to just what you know or the way/style you always write.
  7. Up the stakes/conflict: Always ask, have I gone far enough?
  8. Play with language/Experiment with voice
  9. Sign up for a short course through your state/local writers’ centre: some expert guidance and ground rules can save years of trial and error and frustration.
  10. Redraft/edit/proofread diligently
  11. Put your work away for a week (or better several). Fresh eyes see many jolts and jars and inconsistencies in the writing.
  12. Submit – get your work out there to be read  OR Enter competitions – gain writing credits and confidence.
  13. Persevere and Persist: the essential Ps and two most important attributes for writers. These can win out over raw talent. Meanwhile you’re learning your craft. It’s the apprenticeship.

Enjoy the roller coaster. It’s a really scary ride, but worth it if you hold your nerve.

Love to know if any writers reading this have any tips they’d like to share or what do you wish you’d known when you started out?

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8 thoughts on “A Bakers Dozen Writing Tips

  1. Great pointers Chris. I agree with all of them.

  2. zita cheek on said:

    Hi Chris , Thankyou for those tips , they are very good , If I ever get round to giving writing a go !!

  3. Hi Chris,
    Great tips, but I’m a bit of a dud at #1, but excellent at #2.
    Do emails count?
    Actually because I regard writing as my work now, I feel better for having a break now and then or else I would never emerge from the writer’s rabbit hole that you jump down to start creating.
    Good luck with your latest work and unleashing it on the world!

    • Hi Alison
      Because you are so prolific and work so consistently hard when you’re on deadlines or new projects, I think you can be forgiven the occasional time-out.
      I agree it’s very good to emerge from the rabbit hole, a necessity too as I think it’s easy to forget to when we work from home and our work is always in the next room.
      Thank you for your good wishes and enthusiasm. Getting there.

      🙂
      Chris

  4. Great tips, Chris:)

    You seem to have all bases covered.

    Dee

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