Leave Them Out – Essential Writers Tips

Leave Boring Parts, Writing Project, Writers Tips, Essential Writers Tips, Good Story,

Leave Those Boring Parts

As an aspiring writer working on that anticipated bestseller of yours, a vital writing tip is not to start writing a story simply because you think that the genre would sell or for the sake of other odd reasons that leaves you struggling to fill the pages with thick, unnecessary prose that would bore your readers to sleep.




As you work on your writing project, make your book one that you would equally find exciting to read. Think of those books that you loved reading. Those one’s you got lost in, then compare them to those novels that you skipped out chunky parts of the book.

What are those parts that you skipped when you read the novels – those paragraphs that had too many words and didn’t add much to the story except more pages? Pay attention to such details and avoid adding such parts to yours.

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Write What You Don’t Know – Essential Writers Tips

Writing What You Don’t Know

Writing What You Don't Know, Writing, Writers, Writing Tips, Research

Most times, a budding writer is advised explicitly or implicitly to ‘write what you know.’ I’m not sure which writing guru started selling this idea, but you know what, in my honest opinion, writing just what you know is the most stifling sort of encouragement that I can think of and here’s why I think so.

  • Writing what you know’ works, but if you are seeking to grow as a writer, you would find out soon enough that it’s self-limiting.
  • The biggest part of the fun in writing is making things up. Learning new things. Approaching an unknown terrain and finding the truth in the unknown.
  • Writing the unknown is not easy and comfortable, but it would challenge you. It could probably scare you and you may not even know where you are heading with the story, but the journey into the unknown is always worth it because it builds the backbone of the writer in you.

 

Pushing Your Boundaries

You may not know everything, but you do know a lot of things. Of course, it is essential to take inspiration where you can find it, however, your experiences should liberate your imagination and not restrict it.

Set your imagination loose. If your personal experience constrains a story to the point of it becoming lackluster, then you must emancipate your imagination and sharpen it. That’s your job as a writer to keep your imagination relevantly sharpened.

A lot of times, a writers discomfort stems from subjects about sexuality, race, gender or class. The writer feels ill-equipped to write on such subjects because they are not familiar, they don’t resemble him, so he automatically keeps to writing what he knows and sticks to safer grounds.

When a writer finds a subject intimidating, that’s precisely when the writer should explore it. Write what pushes your boundary. Write what fascinates you. Write what you can’t stop thinking about even if it’s not a safe subject.

Tips to help write what you don’t know

Organize your work

You need to devise an effective means of organizing the material that you get from your research. There are a lot of mediums and software programs such as Scrivener, yWrite, Bibisco, Plume creator, Manuskript used to organize information.

However, you need to choose and stick to one for your project in order not to waste unnecessary time switching back and forth. I have used Scrivener. It’s inexpensive and well supported by its makers.

Be Prepared to Dig Deeper

Don’t rely solely on online research. Plug into Amazon and get a list of relevant books. Look beyond your local library and check out University libraries. You may have to spend a bit to get some specific materials. Listen to local channels or international channels that talk about your interest, read, read and read some more. Check out documentaries relevant to your search and don’t shy away from contacting a publisher or writer directly to double-check information.

Research the source and background. 

Before spending valuable time or money on any material, take the time to research the author and the work on the Internet. Look out for reviews and abstracts of their work, check out their social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or website. Your findings would help you decide well ahead of time if the author has the perspective that serves your purpose.

Take note of the little details

You are writing about Africa or India, but you need to know more than the books and articles that you are reading is telling you, use image searches on Google, on YouTube, documentaries and other sources you can lay your hands on. Magnify and freeze-frame the images where possible and study them carefully, the paths, roads, nature, etc. Take note of the date of these images and videos as well as all the publication that you refer to, to avoid attributing something to a period to which it does not belong.

Make your own contacts and tap into others

Google search for related clubs around you and contact them. Consider visiting the place and talk to people. Start asking questions even before you know what exactly you are narrowing down to. People love to talk and they’ll tell you things you could not have possibly imagined. People love talking about their lives, professions, passions and sometimes even their unique stories. This is a free medium that’s fun and offers firsthand unexpected results.




Become an online eavesdropper

Dig into personal blogs, online groups, organizations’ websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, etc. For a fiction writer, these are powerful resources, however, always cross check critical facts.

Ask for help from far and wide

Don’t restrict yourself to asking for research information from only people you know. Local tour companies and guides are a well of information about a particular place that you are writing about and you can write an email requesting information about the area or better still a phone call conversation could answer a puzzling question even as far as New Zealand.

In Conclusion

When you want to break out of a writing rut, remember to take a closer look at your past work. Are your characters typically the same? What of the plotlines, time periods and setting? Are they similar?

If you often find yourself writing about characters who are just like you with plotlines narrowed down to your experiences – though there’s nothing wrong with that –  open your mind to discover something new, fresh and fun.

You just might surprise yourself by pushing your pen beyond the edge.

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Apply The Mini-Skirt Rule – Essential Writers Tips

Using The Mini-Skirt Rule in Writing

Mini skirt rule, writing tips, keep short, cover everything, writers, Golden rule

One of the golden rules of writing is the ‘mini-skirt rule.’ Using the mini-skirt rule can certainly make your prose sexier and vibrant; if you get my drift.

The rule indicates that you should ‘keep your prose long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting for your readers.’

Don’t have your writing dressed up like a Victorian lady trussed up in a ball gown with girdles and multi-layered petticoats, topped off with a jacket and a bountiful hat of peacock feathers and flowers. Phew! That is literally exhausting to think of.




It’s a fine art to write in a strategic manner and to create a balance between keeping the bare necessities with some flesh to the bones and over spilling the prose with excesses.

For writers of fiction, don’t waste your words and bore your readers to such tears that your story or your book ends up in the dust gathering pile of books that went unread.

When it comes to length, follow this rule in keeping your story short and engrossing and work at making your book ‘unputdownable.’

‘Cut. Cut. Cut.’

  • Cut words, like those unnecessary adverbs.
  • Cut sentences
  • Cut pages
  • Cut paragraphs
  • Keep it short and simple

Things to consider when editing.

  • Does your writing cover everything that your story needs?
  • Question the purpose of the words that you use.
  • Is it too long? Has it ceased being interesting? Are there bits that don’t add much value to the story?
  • Could your draft benefit by cutting off 10% from it?

If your writing is for an online audience, bear in mind that the readers’ attention span online is less than what is obtainable offline.

Keep your blog posts straight to the point. Have your readers engaged with your first fifty to sixty words.

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20 Tips to Overcome Your Writer cum Bloggers’ Block.

Argh! The Writers’ Block

There are days that you would find yourself scribbling and tapping away with much zeal and then the following day you wake up to a blank mind that stretches from one day to the other, then weeks…months…and you are waiting for the inspiration to ignite. You’ve just been visited by the gremlin that blocks creativity aka writers’ block.

Writers Block, Writing, Tips, Solutions, Writers, Avoid Editing

Writers’ block can last for as long as it chooses if you let it. It’s a common malaise that every writer struggles with now and again, but the most important thing is what you do when faced with it.

Writing is an art that takes a lot of brain power, creative energy, focus and mental acuity each time. It’s not a science that has a ‘Eureka formula fix’ as such, we have to approach its solution with that in mind.

Igniting that inspiration is not going to happen unless you take it in hand and having been writing for a while, here are some of the prescribed methods I use to doctor my creative constipation to enable easier passage of inspiration.




Finding The Culprit

  • The Sly One called Distraction: We are all busy people and in the midst of creating space for our writing passion, life certainly gets in the way. It requires diligent scheduling and great discipline on our part to balance our various interests and be freer of distractions.
  • The Passion Thief: You started off with lots of zest hammering away at the words, then, gulp, your passionate inspiring sizzle dwindles down from that lustful chemical burst to a barely there romantic kindling. This could be due to boredom and not necessarily loss of zeal. You’ve probably obsessed and nitpicked the writing too many times that your mind and eyes are bored. Give it a break – a couple of days, while you immerse yourself in other stimulating things. Avoid editing your work till you get to the end of your first draft.
  • The Burnout Bummer: There’s so much going on in your present life that you are simply exhausted in the bid to balance everything else in your busy life. It’s not a block but a mental cry for a mini-rest. Take hours off in between hectic schedule and do other things that have absolutely nothing to do with your writing. Take a mini-vacation/staycation.
  • Mr Analysis Paralysis: You are constantly analysing your content, thinking that it’s lacking in some aspect to the point of OCD. This is counterproductive. In as much as it’s recommended to do your best work, taking hours on end just to critique every minutiae detail before doing the real writing is time spent in reverse.
  • The Empty Motivation Tanks: Yes indeed, there are those days that we are simply not motivated to do anything even the writing that we love so much ‘cue in Bruno Mars song today I don’t feel doing anything.’ Well, this is the time to dig into your motivation list. What gets your adrenaline revving to go? Indulge and wake up the juice.
  • Chief Indiscipline: The timing never seems right hence you procrastinate for as long as ever. Discipline is a key to getting any writing done.
  • Runaway Characters: You’ve created these interesting characters, and now after having written dozens of pages your characters have literally veered off in unexpected directions that you are struggling to get a grip of what direction to take the story. Take a day a two and give your brain a challenge to think of bigger plots and picture.
  • The Doubting Thomas: Many writers struggle with self-doubt. They don’t trust their ideas or putting it out there for others to see. Self-doubt and fear are major reasons some would-be excellent writers never get to become that writer that they dream of.

Simple Solutions to Takedown The Enemy

  1. Freewrite – write anything you can. What ‘s on your mind? Write it.
  2. Read some affirmative and inspiring quotes to motivate you.
  3. Take a walk – nature not only rejuvenates but brings forth inspiration.
  4. Eliminate distractions and focus on writing. Use your distraction free writing mode for your blog: Shift + Alt + W or Omniwriter. Turn off other distracting gadgets like your phone.
  5. Change your font family, size and colour. Sometimes little tweaks do the trick.
  6. Sweat it out. Do something to get your blood pumping faster, like exercising.
  7. Block out your writing time and make it a routine to write daily.
  8. Change your scenery. On days that I’m stuck, I go to the café, library, park or somewhere that catches my fancy.
  9. Find an exciting read, kick back and just soak in the penmanship of other authors.
  10. Listening to music works for me. I enjoy a medley of tunes and depending on the writing genre I go from classical to jazz to afro, pop, dance hall…
  11. Set it aside for a couple of days and meditate.
  12. Source for interesting writing prompts.
  13. Pretend that you are talking to someone and just let it flow.
  14. Spend time with someone who makes you feel good.
  15. Have a random chat with a stranger.
  16. Do more research, brainstorm your ideas.
  17. Indulge in other creative outlets.
  18. If the start of the passage is proving tough, start from the middle, the beginning will fall into place.
  19. Avoid editing while you write.
  20. By all means, leave perfectionism out of it.

Writers’ block is not insurmountable. Your possibilities are endless, but your action is critical for any solution to work. Once you kick-start a solution heading towards resolution keep a steady momentum and take off from there.

Even if your writing is about your shopping list or your writers’ block, just write. You’ve got this.

Do you have solutions that could be added to this list? What works best for you?  Check this link for essential Writer’s tips.


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Essential Writers Tips – Go Easy on The Punctuations

Exclamation Points, Punctuation Rules, Punctuation Usage, essential writers tips, emotion

Curb the exclamations!

Guilty as charged. I am one of those writers who loves to emphasize words with punctuations and I believe there are a lot of us. It’s a no-no.

As much as you would love to make that emphasis, avoid using a lot of exclamation marks or using them with a question mark to tell a reader how important something is.

Minimal use of exclaiming punctuations serves as an opportunity to explore your descriptive capabilities as a writer.

Exclamation Point

  • The Exclamation point (!):  Added to show yelling (in a dialogue ) or extreme emotion (in a narrative).

Don’t use more than one (!!), and avoid using it with a question mark (!?).

Most editors discourage its usage, the rule of thumb is not more than two or three exclamation points in an entire manuscript.

This is because overuse of the exclamation point creates room for weaker writing when the writer uses it consistently to show emotion. Instead, a writer should use a stronger dialog or narrative that will better convey that emotion.

Question Mark

  • The Question mark (?): Is used to punctuate a question. Need not be more than one (??) and not used with an exclamation point (?!).

Check this link for essential writers tips.

Keep your writing error-free use Grammarly.

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Become a writer – transform your inspiration into words.

Transforming inspiration, Writing aspirations, grab readers attention, writing, structure your story, keep it simple, Writing POV

Ways to transform your inspiration into words – Part 2

Many times I’ve met people who express their wish to become a writer, but they haven’t been able to transition into taking their writing passion seriously due to other pressing exigencies, thus their wish to write keeps taking the back burner.

Important lessons that I’ve learned about writing is – that there will never be the right time to get started because life keeps happening and secondly, you have to treat your writing like a job; whether it’s started paying or not.

Your writing is not something done in a haphazard way if you truly want to make some meaning out of it.

I suggest that you take a look at Part 1 of this series on how to become a writer to help you merge both series.

Write what you know about

When you are familiar with something or a topic, it’s far easier to write about it in more depth and details. The realism of your story shows in your words and ultimately translates to a better read. There might be times that you want to dabble into a not so well-known topic, you would need to do enough research to comfortably express your thoughts.

Grab your reader’s attention

Help your readers to see through your eyes right from the beginning because a readers’ minds could be very selective. You’ve got to give them a reason to pay attention to what you are saying. To do this, there are some techniques that you could use:

  1. Start with an opening that arouses curiosity to know more.
  2. Use the emotional and sensory approach. Our experiences and perception of things are through our senses and your words should draw on the sense of visual, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and emotions which will often compel your readers’ own imagination as they vicariously experience what you are writing.
  3. Add concrete details that would help to give a sense of understanding of what is happening in the writing. Instead of using generalist terms to describe an image – a man in a white shirt, be more specific – the tall man in a white shirt with a limp in his steps.

Structure your story

Sometimes achieving the natural progression of your story by writing chapter after chapter in a linear structure of beginning, middle and end, may not be as easy to do as we would like, but you could take up your story from its climax – if that comes easier – and then backtrack to flesh it out as you go on.

Choose a point of view

The point of view you decide to use is largely dependent on the information that you seek to communicate. There are various POV’s that could be used in writing. Let’s take a brief look at them.

  1. The First person POV could be used when your main character is telling the story. Here you use an ‘I’ narrator and your readers’ experience of the story is through the eyes of the narrator. The first person POV could equally be in the plural form ‘we’ when there’s a collective number of narrators. The first person POV could be a detached narrator who might be a supporting character in the story.
  2. The Second person POV. This is most often used for instructional writing which it told from the perspective of ‘you.’
  3. The Third person POV is the most commonly used point of view in writing. The third person uses ‘he/she or it’ narrator and your narrator is not a character in the story.  The third person POV has three main types:

The third person limited POV which limits the point of view to one character. The narrator is only privy to what the character knows, therefore the vision would get smaller and limited.

The third person multiple. Here the narrator can follow multiple characters in the story by using he/she/it, but the onus lies on you to make sure that your reader knows when you are switching from one character to the next one.

The third person omniscient. This point of view offers the narrator a free rein in the story where the narrator knows everything and is not limited by what one character knows. Your narrator in this point of view could even know things that others are not aware of.

Keep it Simple

Starting with simple sentences is the best approach. Yes, your vocabulary might be extensive and you love to toss those fancy words into the mix, the usage of bogus words right from the onset throws readers off-balance. Your need to give every reader who comes across your writing an opportunity to understand and appreciate the information.

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To Be a Writer. 9 Simple Ways to Start.

Writing, Writer, Taking Notes, To be a writer, Simple ways to start writing, Visual word artist,

9 Simple ways to start writing – Part 1

To be a writer is a longstanding ambition that you’ve entertained but you don’t know how and where to start from. First of all, you should know that you are not alone. Even those who write as professionals still struggle with this fine art of visual word expressions, but there are simple ways that you can start writing.

My advice on this matter is an old one. I am not recommending solutions that are new and untested, but simple solutions that work for me as well as most new writers.

  • What motivates you? Determine what motivates your writing interest, what you want to write about and how much time you are willing to create to accommodate your ambition.
  • Create a routine and write regularly. At the beginning, the hardest part is devoting time to writing. Creating a writing routine will help and train the creative side of your brain to working at such time. Try to start writing in regular bits even if it’s for ten minutes each day, then increase your time slot for writing. This might need adjusting your schedule for other things, like getting up earlier or taking that half an hour during your break time to get some quiet time and writing done. Writing is a skill that could  be learnt and developed like many other acquired skills and the more you write the easier and better it becomes.
  • Read a lot. Reading as much as possible helps you to learn the different types of writing that are possible. Read within the genres that you like as well as outside your favourite genres. Read magazines, comics, fantasy, varied types of publication and find the voices that you like. Try to understand what makes them effective; what you like or don’t like about them. Reading diversely helps you to learn from other people’s writing and it serves as sources of inspiration.
  • Write what you would want to read and get personal. Use your passion to an advantage and start with writing what you know. Injecting your passion and bringing your experience to bear will likely resonate better with your readers and hold their interest. Be willing to explore and don’t limit yourself to just one field or genre of writing.
  • Keep your eyes open and notice the things that go on around you. Those observations of ordinary or unusual things going on around you are material that could be used for your writing. They could help make your writing more compelling, interesting and realistic.
  • Keep a writing journal. Take note of spontaneous ideas that pop into your mind. Jot down those things that inspire you. Things you see or hear. A simple phrase, a dream, a photo, a meet with a stranger could trigger a storyline and at your writing time, you can flesh out the thought or revisit your note to jog your creative juice.
  • Start a writing project. This is the most important and difficult aspect of writing. Some may struggle with not knowing what to write, or having an idea of what they want to write about but unsure how to begin. It might take writing and discarding several drafts before you can articulate your thoughts, just keep writing. Write all the disjointed thoughts floating through your head to your fingers. Leave the editing part for later. Sometimes, you can help your creativity with a number of activities. A long walk through nature and relative quietness. Go somewhere with high human traffic and noise and use your senses of sight, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting. Take note of your perceptions. Take photos, eavesdrop on conversations, become a sleuth, imagine the character of a stranger and add some background to the stranger. Explore all options as the need arises.
  • Complete your project. The real challenge of starting a project is the ability to stick to it and finish it. It might prove difficult to get to the end of your goal, but fruition only comes with completion and you just have to keep going at it.
  • Join like-minded communities and forums. Be open to the idea of joining other writing clubs either online or in your neighbourhood. Most new writers are self-conscious and don’t feel comfortable sharing their work with others and I daresay all writers are not keen on criticism, however, think of the potential idea that being around others who are also aspiring writers or accomplished writers might serve as a source of inspiration and well as constructive feedback that could help you to become a better writer.

I hope that this article will help you to kickstart your writing aspirations. If you find it helpful, we would love to hear from you and what you are writing about.

 

 

 

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