Distraction is the worst enemy of any writer, but we all succumb to it. Set yourself a schedule, including breaks. Force yourself to stick to it for at least the first few days. If it doesn’t work, tweak the schedule and try again.
When developing characters, it’s important to have the right name. Baby name books are a brilliant resource for characters names. So too are name generators. Programs like Scrivener have name generators built in that take advantage of multiple cultures.
Most writers are happy to write about sights and sounds, but what about taste, smell and tactile sensations? We have five senses at our disposal. Use them.
A large portion of the population are visual people, where sights around us invoke thoughts are emotions. When writing, take advantage of this trait by having a picture of your character or your setting next to you to draw inspiration from. When it’s for personal use, the internet is a treasure trove of inspirational images.
Life happens around us, sometimes faster than we can keep up. Tragedy is always waiting around the corner, preparing to pounce when we least expect it. Take note of your emotions and the sensations that you’re experiencing as a result of that tragedy. Use it in your writing. Pour everything you are into that small snippet of story. You will be drained as a result, but you won’t regret it. While the narrative might need to be edited, the emotions will leap off the page to assault the reader. They will follow your journey with you, and maybe join you […]
Within the standard manuscript format, the first line of each paragraph should be indented by 0.5 inch. However, the number of writers who manually indent the first line of paragraphs using a tab is astounding. Writers should use the built-in first-line indentation for paragraphing. As paragraphs are moved around, first lines are automatically dealt with. In addition, any tab marks need to be removed during typesetting phases, as they add issues when dealing with eBook files. Why make more work for yourself, if you don’t have to?
If you are using real landmarks or cities in your writing, do your homework to describe the locations accurately. Google Earth is a writer’s friend, as most places you can visit using the street view. It adds something special if you can accurately describe the structure of any landmark or building.
There was a time when it was standard to put two space characters after each sentence before beginning the next. This was how I was taught to type, and I’m only in my early-40s. However, this is no longer the practice. The introduction of modern typesetting and justification algorithms mean that two spaces can result in gaps that are too large between sentences. Industry professionals now specify that we use only one space between sentences.
Retraining the brain to do this has taken me many long years, but there is a simple solution that will work every time, even when you forget. Run a search-and-replace, hunting out all the places where you use two space characters, and replace them with only one space character. All word-processing programs have the search-and-replace feature, so why not use it. (I do this as a matter of habit before I send a manuscript out the door.)
Every time you take a little break from your writing, even a toileting break, when you sit down again, reread what you had just written (at least the last paragraph). If there are any obvious, glaring errors that you can’t resist the urge to edit, then do so, but don’t dwell on them. Rereading your work during initial drafting is not for editing purposes, but rather to help you get back into the train of thought so you can carry on writing.