I am a member of the local chapter of the League of Utah Writers. Due to circumstances outside my control I was not able to attend the February or March meetings. So this month I finally got to go again. Yea!
We got some really great advice from our chapter president from his college level writing class. Note: I am jealous of the knowledge he is gaining - but not of having to go to school.
Here are some of my favorite points from our discussion:
- You learn more when you fail
- Use your words more effectively
- Adjectives don't make your writing good - active verbs do
- Learn to write to appeal to all five sense (a note on this below)
- If you don't know grammar - learn it!
- Have a consistent writing schedule - that involves writing multiple times a week
- Find people who hate your writing - and listen (a note on this below)
- Make time to read the good stuff - it will make your writing better
- Don't get tied up in all the rules during your first draft
A note on learning to write to appeal to all five senses: I used to think that you had to describe with all three sense. Sight, and so on. I was reading the work of a fellow writer and one of his characters sniffed the air. I was like - what the?! It seemed weird to me. Then again - I don't have the best sense of smell.
But in our discussions our chapter president suggested a different way of doing this - choose words that invoke more than one sense. For example: the word rattle - you can see it, here it, even feel it. This is something I am going to experiment with in my own writing.
A note on finding people who hate your writing - Okay - so I took a little poetic license with this one. And I don't really mean literally. But the point is that if all the people who are critiquing for you are giving you positive feedback - you are learning or growing. Also, it was mentioned that having critique-rs that don't usually read your genre can point out things that others will miss and make your story stronger.
Do you have any other writing nuggets of gold? Did any of these make you stop and think?