12 Writing Tips to Get you Started

courtesy of https://shortstops.info/2018/09/08/12-writing-tips-to-get-you-started:

As Anne Frank poignantly wrote: “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” Writing can be an incredible outlet, but sometimes there are stumbling blocks along the way.

Which is why the team at READ Foundation has put together a list of 12 Writing Tips to Get You Started.

Children writing in a classroom

READ is an education charity which builds schools and enables children from poverty-stricken backgrounds to access schooling. We’re currently running a writing competition (closed for 2018, will reopen this year) for short stories, poems and personal essays which will inspire children in their educational path. Scroll down for more details on how to enter.

The charity has gathered the best tips from well-known writers, blogs and the wider web to help writers in their pursuit of the perfect prose.

  1. Write from the heart. A book without a pulse is like a person without a spirit. – Linda F Rad
  2. We love the tips in this Guardian article on the Top 10 Writers’ Tips on Writing. Particularly this one from Katherine Mansfield: “Looking back I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was too. But better far write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.”
  3. Enter competitions, send off examples to agents, read up on literacy festivals to attend, join writing clubs either locally or online – research as many places as you can which can help you on your writing journey, whether the aim is to get published, receive feedback, or simply learn more about the writing process from the people who do it professionally.
  4. Write on a computer which is disconnected from the internet (after you’ve finished reading this blog, obviously). It’s a distraction you can do without.
  5. The “show don’t tell” mentality is well-known for a good reason: it’s true. As fiction author Anton Chekhov put it: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
  6. Oxford Dictionaries has some excellent general advice on better writing, whether it’s a letter, speech, email or something more creative. We like the tip “guide readers through what you write”. The advice is to “help readers understand your message quickly and precisely. To do this, it is necessary to show them clearly how the different parts relate to each other.”
  7. How about a writing tip from a Nobel winning author? Alice Munro, who was given the Nobel for Literature in 2013, has spent most of her writing life focussing on short stories. She said: “Usually I have a lot of acquaintance with the story before I start writing it….stories would just be working in my head for so long that when I started to write I was deep into them.”
  8. Proofread proofread proofread. It’s relly obviously when a sentennce has speling errors in it. If you’re entering a writing competition, judges may penalise you for the errors and it could mean the difference between winning or losing a contest.
  9. Write, even when you don’t feel like it. Get into the habit of writing on a regular basis. If you can commit to writing for a certain amount of time each day, for 30 days, it’ll soon become second nature. About 30-40 days is all you need to make a new habit stick.
  10. Recognise it’s not just your characters that are human – you are too! So if you have periods of struggle, you’re not alone. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  11. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Julie Duffy, founder of Story a Day, says “Don’t wait to write until you’re older/wiser/invited to the party. Don’t wait until you have something ‘important’ to say.” Other experts have revealed their best writing tips for beginners.
  12. Enjoy the process! It’s a journey you’ll be proud you’ve taken. Good luck!

SADM 2018 – Day 30: Change your Point of View

http://storyaday.org/day-30-change-your-point-of-view

Julie says: After setting you free yesterday, I’m putting a few more limits on you again today.

The prompt: Take a story that you wrote earlier this month, and tell it from a different point of view

The point of this prompt is to show you that sometimes a story benefits from being told in a different way. Noir stories work in first person because that’s what we’re used to. Something set in a Victorian era works well in Third Person Omniscient because that’s how Dickens wrote–it’s what we’re used to.

Use this prompt as an excuse to play with a story and make it richer, through voice.

Go!

And me? Sadly, I’m not doing the challenge this year (too busy) but do leave a comment below to let me know how you do.

SADM 2018 – Day 29: The Story You’ve Been Waiting To Write

Not a lot of today left… sorry about that!

http://storyaday.org/day-29-the-story-youve-been-waiting-to-write

Julie says: I know you have stories you want to tell, that the world needs to hear.

Your experiences, your outlook, your way of expressing yourself, are unique in the history of the world and I’m so glad you’ve come this far, and you’re still writing.

And I know you’re going to continue to write, because you’ve come this far.

Today I’m giving you a prompt that might seem a little lazy from me, but there’s a reason.

The Prompt: Write the story that you’ve been hungering to write.

I’ve been very proscriptive this month, telling you what you write, and you’ve been writing for four weeks. You’ve got stories in your head that are nipping at your brain, whispering “tell me!”, so today I’m setting you free.

Tell one of those stories.

Go!

And me? Sadly, I’m not doing the challenge this year (too busy) but do leave a comment below to let me know how you do.

SADM 2018 – Day 28: Use These Words

http://storyaday.org/day-28-use-these-words

Julie says: This is the kind of writing prompt that puts so many limits on your story that you can’t worry about making the story good. Sometimes you end up with a good story, but the silliness of the prompt removes all pretension and blocks.

The Prompt: Your story must include these words; ink, previously, work, breeze, seven, run, delicious, example, spontaneous, barb.

Go!

And me? Sadly, I’m not doing the challenge this year (too busy) but do leave a comment below to let me know how you do.

SADM 2018 – Day 27: Start at the End

http://storyaday.org/day-27-start-at-the-end

Julie says: Start a story that begins with the ending, then immediately jumps back in time.

e.g. “It all started 12 hours ago.”

Think of this as the way someone might shoot a heist movie: a character is being led out in handcuffs and a voiceover says, “It all started 12 weeks ago.”

(In a short story you probably need to keep the scale in hours as this means you don’t have too many scenes.)

Don’t worry too much about getting this perfect. Feel free to be cheesy. Just have fun. Leave a comment to let us know how you got on!

Go!

And me? Sadly, I’m not doing the challenge this year (too busy) but do leave a comment below to let me know how you do.

SADM 2018 – Day 26: The Sale

http://storyaday.org/day-26-the-sale

Julie says: Today’s prompt lets you practice your dialogue and thinking about communicating your characters’ motivations to the reader.

One character is trying to sell something to another character. .

This could be metaphorical: they are trying to sell them an idea.

It could be literal: they’re trying to sell them a car.

Go!

Sadly, I’m not doing the challenge this year (too busy) but do leave a comment below to let me know how you do.