A friend asked for advice about getting started writing. Whew—where to begin. So much to learn, yet so many helps. This topic seems appropriate for National Novel Writing Month. Many are frantically setting their fingers to keyboards in efforts to reach 50,000 words in a month. They deserve applause and encouragement, but don’t forget they each had to start somewhere. My personal NaNoWriMo goal is to completely revise my novel. Now back to my friend and other beginners. I’m offering a few starter tips:
1. Write. Set aside (find doesn’t work) time to write every day (if possible) or weekends. Anything worth doing takes practice. It can be in a journal or scene by scene toward your future masterpiece.
2. Read with a writer’s eye. Mark or analyze passages you love or hate, figuring out why. Notice the effects of using dialogue or narrative, or why you became emotionally invested in a character.
3. Join a critique group. The right group can give you motivation, new ideas for where your story might go, and instruction along the way. My group trained me until I became an equal. They were my single biggest push toward improvement. Connect with a non-relative or group that will show you the ropes and give helpful feedback. Seek a happy medium with both praise and specific suggestions/constructive criticism.
4. Learn. After some experience, you’ll likely benefit from classes, conferences, or how-to books. You’ll either know what specific areas need your focus or you’ll enjoy soaking up anything and everything to make you a better writer.
Please check back for more writing tips. Next Monday I’m posting a book review for Stephanie Black’s latest book Rearview Mirror. The week after that I’ll feature beginning plot ideas. There are some necessary elements all beginners should know so don’t miss out!