My 5 Best Pieces of Writing Advice


Ellie’s daily schedule:
  • Intend to blog
  • Disappear into the Void of the American Educational System
  • Reappear from the Void of the American Educational System
  • Write two sentences of a blog post
  • Disappear again

Oops?

SO. You already know where I’ve been, and you probably don’t care to learn anything more, but I’m going to ignore that last fact for the sake of my intro. So, “What have you been doing in the Void, Ellie?” you ask. “Many things, including reading and annotating lots of essays on how to write for AP English,” I say.

I continue, “And reading writing advice from people like Stephen King and Anne Lamott has gotten me thinking about what I think of their tips and what my own might be. I had to write a miniature essay on it, in fact. So today I’m coming at you with my five very best writing tips, gathered from seven years of writing.”

1. Don’t be afraid to put things aside and come back to them later. Sometimes, your skill level,
knowledge base, and current mental space won’t be right for you to write the story you want. That’s okay, y’all. I put aside pieces and come back to them all time. Always, they’re better when I do that than if I hadn’t. Giving your ideas more time to marinate and develop is better than forcing them before you’re ready.

2. Keep track of great tips and categorize them. I have a Pinterest board for this, but you can do it any way you want. If somebody gives you a piece of advice that makes you go, “Aha!” write it down somewhere. Sort these golden nuggets by topic – character, plot, etc. – so they’re easy to find and reference when you need them.

3. Conversely, don’t panic about following every piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard. Consider every piece of advice you hear, but you’ll get overwhelmed if you try to implement them all and think about them constantly. File away the advice that strikes you, but if you think something is wrong, have heard it before, or it doesn’t seem too helpful, don’t feel like you HAVE to follow it just because someone suggested it.

4. Read things outside the genre you write. When I only read fantasy, my fantasy inevitably ended up being cookie-cutter and bland. The only writing I was able to learn from were things that had already been done. As much as you may dislike doing this, you have to read lots of books in multiple genres outside the one you write. I write fantasy/paranormal, and while there’s nothing better than settling down with a good Tolkien book, I get so much more out of it when I read contemporary, nonfiction, and other genres. It will seem hard to find books you like at first, but consulting other lovers of your favorite genre for different types of books they enjoyed can really help!

5. Learn the rules, then don’t be afraid to break them. You don’t have to break grammar rules, of course, and this certainly isn’t permission to go without learning them. But if you think breaking them – writing a fragment here and there, using a run-on sentence when a character is panicking, etc. – would communicate your ideas better than adhering to every little rule of English, go for it!

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Let’s chat! What do you think of my advice? What would yours be? What are the best tips you’ve heard from others? Comment below, and have a wonderful day/week/century/however long it is until I speak to you again.

Namarië,
Ellie

1 comment:

  1. Great post! The advice here is really helpful. :)

    ~ Lilou
    http://lilouthereader.wordpress.com

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