Here are some things that I have learned through the years about writing and would like to pass on to you, in no particular order, just as they come to me…
Write First, Edit Later
There are different styles for different writers and you must find your own way of putting the 26 letters on the page. One way is not necessarily better than another however some of you may get bogged down on the editing part and it yanks the joy of the creative process out of your hands.
Get the words down on the paper and don’t worry about the editing process in your first draft. This is good advice for both fiction and non-fiction writers. Get the words on the page. Many times when I write, if I take too long stopping and starting on a work then I lose the intention that I want to get on the page; so get the thoughts out and edit later. You can go in later and put in or take out or correct what you don’t like, clean it up, embellish or delete. It’s okay. You may want to say: “But what about…” It’s okay, get the story or thoughts down and procrastinate on the clean-up.
If you need permission. Consider it granted!
Dialogue is the quickest way to move your story along without getting boring with a lot of description or backstory. Explanation in the mouths of characters is much more realistic than a couple of paragraphs of description. This hearkens to a time when all history was passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth out of the story-tellers, patriarchs and wise-men. Being able to write good dialogue is a key to letting an editor or agent realize you know what you are doing. Stilted dialogue comes, many times, from not listening to the way people interact and communicate with one another.
Here’s a nice exercise that you can try to help you improve your dialogue. This does presuppose that you can type or write rather fast but try it anyway and you’ll get the gist and have fun also.
Take your laptop or notebook into a restaurant, mall or public place and listen to the way that people speak to each other, their cadence, dialect, accents, inflection, reaction, tonality and rhythm. Jot down a few notes on the way they speak or make up some conversations that are similar (and don’t worry about getting the punctuation correct, remember, edit later). When you listen to conversations, you will understand how people speak to one another.