1. Show, don't tell.
- demonstrate don't say.
2. Evoke. Evoke. Evoke.
- Use description, appeal to the senses and really bring a reader into the picture or scene. Evoke emotion and feeling in your reader. Think of all the words or images you might use to evoke the feeling of the scene your writing. Then, without overdoing it, use as many of those words and images as you can. Remember, every action your character makes gives you an opportunity to describe, to add another piece to the overall picture and to give depth to your world, your character, your story.
3. Writers notice the particular.
- Margaret Atwood said this one. It's not enough to say 'the car, the masked bandit, the tree', You need to be exact. Which car? Which masked bandit? Which Tree? After all, not all cars/masked bandits/trees are created equal. They usually have distinguishing marks that make them individual, special, or noticeable. So notice them, bring them to our attention. Note the particular.
4. Impatience is fatal.
- Enjoy each moment of your story. If you don't, no one else will.
5. A story is a surprise.
- A story is a surprise among other things. In a good story, every chapter is a surprise, every paragraph is a surprise, every sentence is a surprise. Create expectations. Defy expectations. Surprise creates wonder. Wonder is what we're all really after when we read a story.
6. Never give up!
- Never give in! Never Surrender. Onward, onward through the impossible!
7. Say the important things three times.
- Say the important things you want or need the reader to know three times in your story. The first so they read it. The second time so that they see it. The final time so that the get it.
8. Finish what you start.
- Writing is a commitment. Never start anything you aren't 100% sure you're going to see through to the finish. Perhaps the last few chapters are the most grueling you've ever written. Perhaps the story is absolutely terrible at the end. It doesn't matter. Finish what you start. If you only write when you feel like it, if you start a bunch of things that you don't finish, you'll only end up with words. If you see things through to a close, then you'll have a story. Then you can improve your craft. Then you can have the satisfaction of having accomplished something and learned something. When you are finally writing your masterpiece you know you'll be able to complete it.
9. Always be a bit too honest.
- This one's from Neil Gaiman. Always be a bit too honest when your writing. Be so honest that it makes you a bit uncomfortable. That's when you start to get good writing. A story is a fictionalized narrative of a truth. Draw on experiences you've had in life, truths you've observed, and put them in your writing and be honest.
10. Be your biggest fan.
- Don't be arrogant to the end of not being able to learn or be taught, but remember if you don't enjoy what your writing, no one else will. You will be rejected. It is absolute, undeniable, and unavoidable. You can't let that stop you. Love what you write, keep trying, and just as inevitably as your rejection letters you'll also find someone who loves what you write too.
Bonus Advice: I borrowed this from Muriel Sparks. Take heed of it at your own discretion.
11. Get a Cat.
- If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially on some piece of writing, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle under the desk lamp. The light from a lamp … gives the cat great satisfaction. The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquillity of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impeded your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, and very mysterious.’
Until next time dear readers. Happiness and good health to you!