Amanda Hocking

Amanda's Blog Post

Writing Tips That I Enjoy

November 24th, 2009 by
This post currently has 5 comments

Over the course of the past year, I have spent a good deal of time reading popular writing tips, many of which have either helped me improve my writing, or at the very least, let me know when I am on the right path. While I am not a dazzling successful published author (yet), I’ve decided to compile a list of things I’ve learned that I find most valuable:

-Use any forms of “to be” as minimally as possibly (e.g. was, were, am, be, been)
-The word “said” reads better than flashier words like “vowed, grumbled, declared”
-Never start a book with too much backstory, a phone ringing, or someone waking up
-Describe things that only need description – if its not relevant, move on
-Adverbs are not your friend
-Topical ideas and pop culture are fun, but they date your book and make it stale
-Be consistent – if your protaganist has brown hair on page 1, make sure it isn’t blond on page 100
-Outlines are vital
-Do not query until you’re revised your manuscript, then revised it again, and again
-When revising, ask yourself “does this need to be here? does it move the story along? develop a character? build tension?” every line, and if it doesn’t, then cut it out
-Over 100,000 words is probably too much (unless your writing fantasy) and under 70,000 words probably isn’t enough (unless your writing children’s)
-Dialogue is important, but make sure it’s necessary, and give you unique speech patterns to each character, without being cliched, repetitive, or over the top
-Never use a longer word when a smaller one will do

-When revising, watch out for modifiers, including “very,” “pretty,” “rarely,” “usually”
-Use the least amount of words as possible – if a sentence can be shortened, shorten it
-Proper editing is a vital skill

-Look at examples of query letters and make sure you read and understand the agents submissions guidelines

-Read constantly, especially in the genre you are writing, but don’t limit yourself to that
-Utelize feedback and don’t take criticism personally – having a thick skin is essential

-Read agents blogs – they’re the most useful resources out there
-Use twitter and blogs to connect with other writers – search for #pubtip and #writetip on twitter
-Don’t ever give up. Constantly write, edit, and read, and don’t constrict yourself to one book or genre. 

I know there are millions more, but these are just some that I found most helpful.

Leave a Reply

  • OOooh! I love these!
    The said versus growled, grumbled etc. one is so true!

    – Cheyenne Lynnae
    Teen, writer of YA novels, non-conformist, libertarian, radical idealist.

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  • Gwen Hankins says:

    Congratulations on your success! Thanks for sharing your blog archives with us–so we can identify and make the trip with you. You are correct that most of us are never going to be best selling authors–but you did it! And I, and I know others are too–very proud of you! Congratulations!

  • This was extremely helpful. I have been writing just as a hobby – something I do to de-stress or when the day needs filling – and I have been lacking the motivation to write a new story because I feel like I haven’t learnt anything from the other 6 or so stories I have written in the last 4 years (and these aren’t short stories either in any way shape or form). So these tips have come in handy not only for motivating me, but for givingme a platform to which I can progress with both editing and writing in the future.