Last summer, I wrote a couple of posts about the DO’s of creative writing and the DON’Ts of writing. I thought I’d come back to that concept with a series of posts about more “creative writing DO’s.” Before, though, I wanted to write a brief introduction post about all of them. In the coming days, I’ll elaborate more on each one of these: so make sure to stay tuned and come back!
With these tips, you’ll not only finish your novel, but you’ll find it one with tons of potential when you do!
- DO listen to how people speak. When’s the last time you kind of listened in to a conversation that you were taking part in and noted how people honestly talk? This is a great experiment to run from time to time, to help develop your dialogue skills. Maybe even (with permission), have friends let you listen in on a conversation they’re having.
- DO be master of your own plot. Maybe you have a GREAT idea for a scene coming up. Maybe you base an entire book around it. And maybe, just maybe, by the time it comes to write it, it doesn’t fit the characters. They just wouldn’t act that way. As painful as it is, you’re much better not forcing them to do things out of character.
- DO break the rules (knowingly). Grammar rules can certainly be broken from time to time, for emphasis, for all kinds of reasons. But you want to break them knowing you’re breaking them. It should always be deliberate. You have no excuse for not knowing grammar if you call yourself a writer of any kind. If it’s a weak point, take the time to reinforce it. There are tons of free resources to help you do just that.
- DO remember every writer needs distance. I love how Stephen King in “On Writing” suggests waiting TWO MONTHS before editing a draft, and not letting yourself even open the file. Have I tried this? Yes. Have I actually made it that long? Nope. Whatever you need to do to ensure emotional distance from your work, do it. It’s critical. You have to approach your work with as unbiased an eye as possible.
- DO maintain a healthy balance between recognizing where you need improvement, and letting that discourage you to an unreasonable degree. While it’s always frustrating to realize something isn’t right in your story, or that one thing or another is a particular weakness of yours, never consider that other than a GOOD SIGN. That frustration is a growing pain. After all, you have to recognize what doesn’t work to be able to fix it, don’t you? Otherwise you’ll just rot in stagnation.