“The people in the story (characters) shall be alive, except in the case of the corpses, and the reader should be able to tell the corpses from the others.”
Words can be so powerful, and finding just the right one for each sentence is an art. How a writer strings together that perfect set of sentences to come up with the perfectly written paragraph is very subjective. You must learn to be both teachable AND to write what you love, because there will always be critics.
If you, like me, are intrigued with the writing process: developing plot, characterization, coming up with character names, using setting as character, and all the little intricacies involved in building a novel, read on. These tips are for you!
- Read. Read everything you can. Read the kind of books you want to write.
- Write. Writers write. You don’t have to write anything for anyone. Write for yourself.
- Attend writer’s conferences. This is a great place to learn.
- Talk to writers, talk to readers and take creative writing classes.
- Know how to use a computer and the Internet
Books on the Craft of Writing
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
- Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
- Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
- The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
- Write Away by Elizabeth George
Great Writing Conferences
- Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference
- American Christian Fiction Writers Conference
- Romance Writers of America’s National Conference
- Local Writers Conferences
Online Writing Courses
- ACFW has free monthly courses for its members.
- Through Romance Writer’s of America you can learn a lot. I belong to the Mystery Writers and Suspense Kiss of Death Chapter that offers Killer Instincts, a chance for you to hone your craft.
- Writer’s University
Friends and Writing Mentors
- Mae Nunn
- Kathleen Morgan
- James Scott Bell
- Brandilyn Collins
- Colleen Coble
- Ruth Axtell Morran
- Marylu Tyndall
- Mary E. DeMuth
On Entering (and Not Placing in) Writing Contests
“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” -Henry Ford
Contests are subjective. Yes, it hurts when somebody doesn’t love our words the way we hope they will, but it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer. And it doesn’t mean you can’t learn something worthwhile from every critique.
We all want to win, but when it comes down to what others think of your writing, think about the movies. That’s right, the movies. Did you ever go to a movie and just love it and then a critic writes a review and gives it two stars and you wonder if they saw the same movie you did? Go figure. We’re all different. So the next time you don’t place or win a contest, don’t worry.
Now, go to your bookshelf, pull out Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul, get some chocolate and something yummy to drink and console yourself. After all, tomorrow is another day.