Top Ten Tips for Writers
I’m a little leery of offering my top ten tips. I’m a debut author after all, and I usually find myself in need of writing advice rather than dispensing it. At the risk of being repetitious, I’ll put for the ones that have helped me the most.
1. Just finish the book: I really needed this one. For years I would write three chapters, get stuck, and give up. Then I would start a new book and repeat the process. It’s also possible to get caught in the “endless edit.” Look, it’s never going to be perfect. You can always edit later.
2. Join a writers group: Writing well in isolation is really difficult. Join a group or find a critique partner, but do something where you can get feedback on your work. It’s indispensable.
3. Enter a contest: This can be rough because a contest judge has no reason whatsoever to soften the blow. The first contest I entered, I had one judge basically tell me, “Don’t ever quit your day job.” Wow, did that hurt, but after I got through grieving, I went back and looked, really looked, at what they were saying.
4. Be disciplined: Ooh, I hate this. Discipline in any shape is not my thing. The problem is if I don’t enter my story world every day, I start to forget the details and nuances of it that make it real. If a go a week? Forget it, it will take me days just to get back in the groove.
5. Choose craft over marketing: All the publicity in the world won’t sell a bad book. Of course, as soon as I say that, everyone goes, “Well, what about…?” And they’re right. There are some horrendously bad books (the temptation here to mention some of them by name is almost overwhelming) that have sold well. But, by and large, good books sell well and bad books don’t. Write a good one. Learn your craft.
6. Live a big life: Try everything. Never danced before? Take a lesson or three. Don’t know how it feels to get hit with a practice sword? Find out, but stay away from the head. Ouch. Play music, sing songs, go on hikes. As a writer, it’s your responsibility to take these experiences and breath them onto the page. Nothing is ever wasted. I’ve blown out my knees several times playing sports. I wish I hadn’t , but you can bet my intimate familiarity with pain has made it into my writing.
7. Observe: The writer’s biggest tools are his senses. Life is made up of sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and textures. Bring them all to your writing. I’ve spent a bit of time on farms. I know what cow manure smells like. Just how I know makes for a pretty disgusting story, but the experience, the smell, made it to the first line of my first book.
8. Be ruthless: Your skin must grow as thick as buffalo hide. Find your worst critic and use them to make your writing better. Don’t make excuses for a boring passage. If it bores you, it’s bound to bore your reader. I’m blessed. My editor at Bethany House is wonderfully sweet and supportive, but she works my manuscript with a fine-toothed comb.
9. Know the requirements of your genre: Writing a romance? Great, but if you’re a first time writer, don’t even think about submitting a 200k word manuscript. Don’t keep your heroine and hero apart at the end. Writing a fantasy? Awesome, but once you’ve built the rules for your world, don’t break them. The reader will never forgive you.
10. Read: Read the great stories of your genre. If you love fantasy, then make sure you’ve gone through Tolkien with a fine-toothed comb, not only for what he does better than anyone, but where he could have done better. Romance? Great. Take a couple of turns through “Pride and Prejudice.” These are the rods you will be measured against. No, we’ll probably never get there, but it’s our job to try.
Wow! Thank you so much for stopping by, Reviewing Shelf, Mr. Patrick. They are one of the most simple and practical top ten writing list I have ever seen. Love them. Very resourceful.
Blurb: An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone’s search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.
Author Patrick W. Carr
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.
Blog Tour Giveaway
$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
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