Awesome tips! c:
Here’s some of mine (I’m not a professional, but I’m semi-experienced as I’ve been improving my writing over the last six years).
- You don’t need validation.
Basically, you need to work on your own, without the need of having someone there to give you a thumbs up. Yes, yes. It’s nice to get people reading our work that tells us to move on. But do you really need it? No. You don’t need it.
You want it because it allows you to know what you’re doing wrong (partially). But to be honest, you don’t need to ask someone to read your story for you just so you can get an “okay” to move on. Just go with your gut instinct. Write a story you would want to read and you’ll be fine. You won’t need the validation.
And if it’s about motivation, then screw it! Before the internet, writers were able to write and finish a story without needing to be told they’re good writers. In fact, they hardly ever had real readers. They either went to book clubs (or writer-like clubs), they asked friends and family, or they kept it to themselves.
- Learn about grammar and punctuation.
While it’s okay to not know of it, because obviously not everyone has English as their first language, it’s best if you do learn about it if you plan on writing stories in English. And yes, even those that have English as their first language still suck at writing because the majority of people don’t learn about the complicated grammar and punctuation rules when it comes down to creative writing. I know this from experience.
However, just because you were never taught it doesn’t mean you can’t learn about it more. You can buy grammar books from bookstores or borrow it from a library. And if you can’t, you have the entire internet at your advantage. Articles, blogs… whatever you need. It’s all on here. Learn about it and help yourself improve. There’s no excuse on not doing it. Honestly, it has helped me a lot, too.
On a side note: the more you understand the technical side of writing (grammar, punctuation, spelling), the easier it’ll be on you during the revising stages.
I constantly see people asking for character names or characters, or ideas on something or even plot ideas… and it’s gotten out of hand. This tends to be lazy writing because you should be coming up with these things on your own. That’s the whole point of writing.
Now yes, you can ask for opinions on it, but do understand that no one should tell you what you should and shouldn’t write because it’s your story! You have the final say!
- You can’t please everyone.
Stop trying to make everyone love your story. It can’t happen. Why? Because it’s impossible to please everyone. So write something you like, something you would read. Start there and continue on.
When it comes to critics, however, figure out which advice may be best suited for your story. You don’t have to change everything that everyone says. In fact, if you take a step back for a moment and think about a critic’s point of view, you might be able to see that they could be right or wrong. If you don’t agree with their advice, don’t change the story. But if multiple people bring up that same thing, it might be worth looking into.
But anyway, just know that it’s not the end of the world if someone doesn’t like your story.
Don’t worry about if your story is cliche or not. To be honest, every story is cliche. It’s all been done before. But the way you write it, the way it’s told, makes it original. So focus on making it different than the typical cliches within the genre. Instead of a bad boy story, make it all realistic. Guy who is misunderstood, no popularity, girl who is quirky but also misunderstood, so and so forth. Or just simply add tons of different twists and turns. By making it unpredictable, you’re making it more original. Instead of a love triangle, have the characters be in another love shape. A love hexagon. A love square or something else. Or maybe instead of a normal love triangle between love interests, add a different meaning to it. Ever heard of the song Love Triangle by RaeLynn? It’s about a little girl who has divorced parents; her parents hate each other, but love her and she describes it as “being stuck in a love triangle.”
- Forget greetings and introductions.
I often come across stories that start off with “Hi, my name is…” or some alarm clock scene where the character describes her life and her appearance and whatever. This isn’t just boring, but it’s also bad storytelling.
This is called info-dumping. It’s considered bad storytelling because we’re being given so much information that it becomes ridiculous. We can’t hold it all in at once.
So instead, the best way to tell your story—with this given information—is to sprinkle it around the story. And you can even use the “show, don’t tell” method. For example: instead of telling us her father works at a bank, show us. Have her walk into the bank and try to see her dad while he’s getting off work. Instead of telling us how her friend is nerdy, show us. Have her meet him at Comic-con where he’s dressed up as Superman. Instead of telling us how her brother is mean, show us. Have her brother yell at her for no reason, or abuse her even. Have him push her to the sound or slam his fist into her shoulder because she said something about his girlfriend. Instead of telling us that her parents are always working, show us. Have her come home from school to an empty house. And have her try to talk to her mom when her mom is constantly talking on the phone and her dad is always on his computer, wrapped up in some kind of deal he’s trying to make with another company.
The most common problem I see, especially with newer writers, is that they don’t outline and then they get stuck and wonder why.
Look, you can write without knowing a single thing about your book, but if you constantly get stuck and ask how you can get unstuck, you should probably just start planning. And no, it doesn’t have to be thorough. It doesn’t even have to be extremely detailed. It just has to be at a point where you know what’s going to happen next. And don’t worry, plans can—and do—change.
So plan your work! Understand what’s gonna happen and know where you’re gonna go with it. But, on the other hand, if you don’t want to take this advice…? Instead of asking people where it should go, ask yourself where it should go. What happened on the last chapter? Where could that lead? What else might happen? That’s all you’re trying to figure out.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
The last piece of advice I have is to get out of your comfort zone. I say this because learning about different things, writing in a new way, or simply writing something different can help you see clearer. It can help you write a more diverse cast, it can help you think about more genres to do, and so on. Constantly writing in a bubble, with little expansion, can be tiring and can make you feel like you’ve already written everything. So it’s good to spread your wings and think about other ways to write something. You can add on more genres or write in a different perspective. Plus, you could end up loving something you give a try at.
When I came on here, I wasn’t all for romance. I mean, I liked it… but it wasn’t on my mind day in and day out. Like most romance lovers. But one day, I had an idea about an army story. Well, it’s overly done and to be honest, I had no clue on how to write an army story with their “language.” I still don’t understand what the heck they’re saying in the movies. I’m just there for the fight scenes. But I was determined to write something similar and a romance idea popped into my head. What if I wrote a story about a woman who lost her fiance to war? I mean, it’s hardly ever done. Most stories are about war, not about the chick who stays home and waits for her lover to come back.
But like I said, there’s a tiny flaw in this idea. I didn’t like romance, not as much as the next person. I thought it was okay, and I had my “girlie” moments, but it was never something I saw myself reading, let alone writing. However, I was still determined to write this story because I thought it could help me in some sort of way. So I began reading some romance stories. I learned a little about the common ways to tell a romantic story, and, most of all, I realized why people liked them. It was an interesting journey when it came to falling in love with the love interest and wishing we were the main characters. And that’s where it clicked. I began loving the genre and that first novel wasn’t the last romance story I made.
Getting out of my comfort zone has helped me become a better writer and it helps with so many different things when it comes to storytelling. c:
Anyway, here are some videos that can help: