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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bette Lee Crosby – 10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

by Bette Lee Crosby

1)      First and foremost, be yourself. Discover your own voice and never try to emulate someone else. Trying to be like another author because he or she sold a million copies of their book, will not work. Every author has originality in their soul. It’s what makes us want to be authors, so dig down and discover your own originality.

2)      If you follow in the footsteps of another author and start writing what you think readers will buy, your characters will sound shallow and superficial. If you remain true to yourself and work to develop your own voice it will ring loud and clear with believability.

3)      Create memorable characters. Before you write about them, get to know them. Understand how your characters think and how they will react to a given situation. If you don’t know and love (or hate) your character, neither will your reader.

4)      When your story takes a wrong turn and your character starts acting uncharacteristically, don’t balk at going back and chopping out that portion of your manuscript.  Yes, I know you loved those when you wrote them, and removing them is painful, but in the long run you will have a better story.

5)      Use beta readers to find the weak spots in your story. Do not expect them to edit your manuscript or correct typos.  Beta readers usually offer thoughts and suggestions that can help make your story better, listen to them but remember they are not proofreaders.

6)      If you aspire to be a professional author – use an editor. You cannot and should not edit or proofread your own work. It is virtually impossible to see your own mistakes, Even if you proofread the manuscript seventeen times, you will still only see what you think you wrote.

7)      Do not just upload your book to Kindle and Nook. Use a formatter and you will save yourself a huge number of headaches.

8)      Read often. Read in your genre and outside of it. The good books will teach you what works and the not-so-good books will teach you what doesn’t.

9)      Take a break. When you sit there looking at your computer screen and typing words that simply don’t work, get up and go for a walk. You’ll find as soon as you walk away from the computer you can see the story so much more clearly.

10)  Don’t expect to be an overnight success. It takes time and patience to develop your craft and you have to work at it. Everyday. You may hear stories about first novels being a bestseller, but what you don’t hear is that the author has drawers full of edits and rewrites. Be persistent and focus on refining your craft. If you do that, you won’t have to go looking for success, it will find you.

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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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