Dr Kim’s top writing tips

These are my top quick writing tips of all time that I think every writer should know. They represent, of course, my opinions, but I think you’ll find I’m always right. 😉
  • Look to your verbs. If you read a page back and it seems lifeless and flabby, find every verb on the page and see if you can improve it. Make a point of collecting great verbs every time you read or watch a movie or have a conversation. Verbs like gasp, surge, quiver, and drench work so hard. Verbs are the muscle of a sentence, and can punch up dull writing in a moment.
  • Chillax on chapter one. Easily the most common writing problem I see is the writer trying far too hard to impress in the first few pages of a story. Many stories warm up and get fantastic after page five, but by then the publisher has already put you on the “reject” pile. Often your first chapter is so overworked that it’s uncomfortable to read. My advice is to finish the book, then scrap the first chapter all together and write it again without looking at the original.
  • Don’t write all your fun scenes first. Write in order. If you give a child her custard first, she’s probably not going to be all that interested in her Brussels sprouts.
  • Be in a viewpoint, always. At the start of every scene make sure you know exactly whose viewpoint you are going to be in, and write the scene from inside their head. A story details a relationship between characters and events. The most impact is always achieved from describing that relationship from the inside.
  • Plan your story in advance, even if it’s only loosely. It will save you so much time and heartache and, contrary to popular belief, it’s actually MORE fun to do it this way. When you know that an exciting turning point is approaching, the scene and the ones around it can play out in your mind over and over as you think them through, becoming richer the more you anticipate it.
  • Most important of all: keep going. This is a tough craft, and it’s an even tougher business. Dream big if you want, but your dreams can’t sustain you on a day-to-day basis. The only thing that can sustain you is the work. Do it because you love it; because not to write hurts. Do it because you are mad about your story and obsessed with your characters. Don’t make it another chore to fit into your busy day: make it the special place you go when your day has been rubbish. Keep going and keep going, and then keep going some more.

Posted on April 14, 2012, in Dr Kim. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Love this advice! It has certainly worked well for me 😀

  2. Great tips Kim – especially the verb purge! 😀

  3. Reblogged this on Cauldrons and Cupcakes and commented:

    A great post on writing tips that work for new and experienced writers alike.

  4. Reblogged this on Words by Workman and commented:
    Great tips from a great — and hardworking — writer.

  5. Thanks Kim, great advice and tips, thanks to Miss Nicole from Cauldrons and Cupcakes for the share!

  6. I love this; especially about the verbs. I’m always adding to my list.

  7. Thank you one million times. This is the first blog I read on help regarding being an author. I have reread it several times and get something new each time. Incredibly written. Powerful and dynamic words and today I thought — wtf- start again and get those verbs more powerful and write more from the voice of the characters…. much more fun doing it with a little guidance to reflect on a thick head character, me, writing about a thick head character in WIP.

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