Over the past two (almost three) years here on www.ShannonAThompson.com, I’ve shared numerous writing tips. I love writing tips. Even though everyone’s approach to writing is different, I think there is a lot to be benefitted from exploring new options by seeing how someone else does it. That is why I am so excited to have author Inge Saunders on today. She’s sharing her favorite writing tips, and you can share yours too! We all know there are some great ones out there. And some bad ones. Feel free to discuss them both, but be sure to welcome Inge Saunders!
Writing Tips: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly by Inge Saunders
My name is Inge Saunders and . . . I`m an author. ::waves:: Now that my AA-like intro is done, I`m going to jump right into it, because let`s be honest, you didn`t come here for the coffee. ::wink:: You want some writing tips. And I have to add, these tips I go to every time I`m in the process of starting a new story or am in the self-editing phase.
I`m a romance writer, so a lot of my writing tips I got from the different groups I form part of, like ROSA (Romance writers’ Organization of South Africa), my Facebook Hearts on Paper group (we formed after all of us entered Harlequin`s SYTYCW), Marketing for Romance Writers, and my publisher (Decadent Publishing).
One of my favourite tips for writing is this: #1. Read. Read EVERYTHING. The good, the bad, the ugly. ::laughs:: Not only will you start to recognise what`s good but you`ll also know what doesn’t work. And hopefully, what`s working for you and against you in your writing. Study the books as you read. I`m the youngest of three, and according to psychology, I learn best through hands-on mentorship. Which means, if you`re going to teach me something, show me how it`s not done and how it should be done. So this principle works for me. I`m naturally inclined to understand it, and I hope this tip works for you too. ::smile::
In January, I did an interview on writing for beginners on a fellow ROSA`s blog Ylette Pearson and she asked me, “If you have to choose only one element (setting/character development/structure/conflict/ etc.) that is absolutely essential to every novel you’ve written, what would it be? Why?” I chose conflict. Why? This brings me to #2. Conflict makes the story interesting, keeps you and the reader interested. When there`s no conflict or it can be solved with a simple conversation, it`s not enough. I`ve dropped many a project because there wasn`t enough conflict. Suspense is power. Use it, enjoy it!
I love what Christina Dodd said, and it`s my #3. “Torture your hero early and often; it develops his character, sort of like roasting nuts brings out the flavour”. I don`t think this quote needs anything added. ::wink::
I have a WIP I completed during NaNoWriMo last year, Elastic Heart. There was a moment where I struggled writing my main characters and I discovered this nifty tip from WritersWrite.com #4. Write 20 things your reader will never know about your character. This will naturally bleed into your writing and provide richness even though you don`t share the detail. Another bonus is this; your characters will become alive to you. They`ll literally breathe on the page. When you meet someone for the first time you don`t know their back-story, but you know they have one. The same principle counts here.
The next tip I always, as in always, apply because if I don`t I might as well give up writing #5. Write from the heart and write the story you would want to read. Both my novels at Decadent Publishing are stories that came from ‘selfishly’ writing stories/characters I wanted to read more about. It`s not vanity. It`s not saying, “Hey, only I can write a story that involves ‘this’ and ‘that’.” Uh . . . no. You are the first audience you’re writing to; why are you writing, if you yourself aren`t interested in it? See where I`m going with this? ::smile:: I`m sure when you`re done, someone else would want to read that story too.
And last but certainly not least is this wonderful quote I found #6. Don`t worry. You`ll figure it out—you always do. Just keep writing. Which if you really think about it as a dedicated writer, you really do figure it out. Even if it means calling that friend up to chat through a plot, stepping out of your writing cave to breathe in the autumn air (here in SA) or doing some research on the internet. You do figure it out and you do keep on writing.
Thank you, Shannon, for having me today, and thank you for allowing me into your head space for a moment. ::waves goodbye::
Inge Saunders fell in love with books when she started reading romance novels with her grandmother. Intrigued by the worlds books unlocked, it was inevitable that she would take pen to paper.
At age fourteen she wrote her first novel that wasn`t such a roaring success according to her brother. Not discouraged she realized something fundamental. As a writer you can only write about what interest you, a principal she still upholds in adulthood.
With a Honors degree in Community Development and Learning Support, she`s a former high school teacher who now`s a partner in a small décor business. And for someone who never thought they would ever wear the ‘label’ entrepreneur, she`s proud to be known as one. She`s active in her community-involved with local NGO`s – and her church. When she`s not writing she`s reading, spending time with friends and family, taking long-long walks in her town`s Botanical Garden (Karoo Park) and losing herself in a storyline.
You can find Inge`s latest release, Falling for Mr. Unexpected, here:
Decadent Publishing, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo
Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 thoughts on “#MondayBlogs: Writing Tips: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly”
Thank you for having me today Shannon 🙂
Thank you for coming on today, Inge!
Your first tip is my absolute favorite. I was a journalist for 10 years, and whenever new reporters would ask how to craft their writing, I’d tell them the same thing. Read. Read everything. Read the books of people you love. Read the books of people you despise. Make notes in the margins. Keep a notebook where you write down sentences or phrases you love. Keep track of techniques to try. Read. Read. Read like your life depends on it. Because, if you’re a writer, it does. (BTW, first time to the blog! LOVE it!)
(I love being here too 🙂 ) “Keep a notebook where you write down sentences or phrases you love. Keep track of techniques to try.” I love this! It’s something I do constantly. Nice to meet you Helleanor!
It’s always great to read from fellow writers who share what works for them.
I couldn’t agree more with tips 1,5&6. Tip 2 definitely has my thumbs mainly because I kind of write along those lines too.
For me, I employ conflicts (all sorts)- from inner turmoil of the character or conflicts between characters, pain etc. The latter being my biggest muse.
I’m quite enthused about trying tip 3&4. It sounds exciting!
“For me, I employ conflicts (all sorts)- from inner turmoil of the character or conflicts between characters, pain etc. The latter being my biggest muse.” Yes, to me it’s one of powerful tools we have in our arsenal. What’s going to keep these characters from finding a resolution? Or in romance, a HEA (or a reasonable HEA). Nice to meet you Naa Takia 🙂
Pleasure is all mine Inge. I should follow this blog. I have a lot to learn 🙂