Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things I Try To Remember

When writing fiction:

  • Every scene needs to move the plot forward, needs to accomplish something
  • Every scene page needs tension
  • Don't be passive! Make things happen to your main character, not through a third party
  • Ask yourself if this could be dramatized
  • Be lenient with adverbs (she admonished, gravely)
  • "Substitute the word 'damn' every time you are inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and your writing will be as it should." - Mark Twain
  • When writing an action scene, don't slow it down with descriptions
These are just a few things I keep in mind when writing, most of them have been drilled into my head by my lovely Sisters. I'm sure there's more, but these are probably my most important. I try to keep them in mind with every line I write.

Do you have any little rules you try to write by?


  1. I don't think you mean lenient, lol. That would mean feel free to use adverbs all the time! Great post though! The every page needs tension is SO hard!

  2. Love this! Especially the tip about each page needing tension. If I'm skimming the page during revisions, I know readers will want to do the same.

  3. I need to replace every 'just' with 'damn.' I'd get rid of half my word count, lol. The 'lenient' made me laugh--Stephen King would shake his head at that. :)

  4. Thanks for the awesome quote... would have tweeted it but it wouldn't fit with an @ back to you.

  5. Well, Valerie and Kristi, I don't want to say NEVER use them! But yeah, Stephen King is finger wagging me right now.

    Thanks, Lale!


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