I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My A-Z of Writing Tips: Rules. Well, guidelines at least

Don’t follow the rules as though they’re the only formula for getting published. Know the rules, but use them as guidelines. Always be prepared to break them if it makes your writing better.

Here are some other "R" writing tips:
  • Resist the urge to explain
  • Read your writing out loud. It helps you pick up inconsistencies, and improve your dialogue and the pacing of your writing
  • Read what you want to write, and write what you want to read
  • Read in the genre you write. This is SO important - you'll learn what has been done before, things that have worked, the "conventions" and requirements for writing in that genre, things that haven't worked, as well as much more

How about you: What's your take on following the “rules”? Are there any other "R" writing tips you can add to the above list?

Crusader Challenge Heads-up

I'll be holding my final Crusader Challenge on Friday, April 22nd. The theme of the Challenge will be related to the letter S (it has to be "Show not Tell" of course!), so A-Z Challenge entrants can combine both posts if they wish to enter my Crusader Challenge as well. Those who aren't Crusaders are very welcome to take part. This month's Challenge is just for fun, so there won't be any judging or prizes.

I've posted the Challenge below, so you have the next day to come up with your entry. All entries should be posted on Friday, April 22nd. As soon as you've posted, pop back to Rach Writes... and leave the direct link to your entry in the Linky Link tool, which I'll include in my April 22nd post.

Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge: In 300 words or less, write a passage (it can be an excerpt from your WIP, flash fiction, a poem, or any other writing) that shows (rather than tells) the following:
  • you're scared and hungry
  • it's dusk
  • you think someone is following you
  • and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance, and salt.
Can't wait to see what you come up with on April 22nd! 


mooderino said...

My first rule, before I tweak and edit stuff, is 'Is it interesting?' Not much point spending time to hone it if it isn't.

Moody Writing

Laura Pauling said...

And reading out of genre too because sometimes we can pull aspects from say literary works to make out commercial story better.

Rachel Morgan said...

Ooh, "the resiste the urge to explain" one is good. I've recently started writing something for a younger (more MG) audience and so I've felt the need to explain things more. Then I went back and deleted whatever I thought was an "explanation sentence". I mean, come on, kids aren't stupid either, right? ;-)

Ann said...

I fight the urge to explain as well and reading out loud is a tremendous help in editing. You find all sorts you didn’t notice until you read aloud.

NiaRaie said...

All excellent tips. Don't think I have much to add except, I'll be back. Thanks for sharing :)

phyllis sweetwater said...

How about "remove adverbs"
I always think I'm doing so good at this until I reread and count them up. I'll never escape my instinctive adverb habit!

Michael Offutt said...

I saw that your blog post today was rated-R. I'm happy that I was old enough to read it.

Jess said...

Love your "R" writing tips, especially reading in your genre. I'm torn sometimes with whether to use free time for reading or writing, but there's no way my writing can improve without reading, so I fit both in :)

Zan Marie said...

Resist the urge to edit before you write it. ; ) I'm forever stopping myself for even beginning for fear of not doing the Rough draft well enough.

Cheree said...

Fantastic rules. I totally agree with reading in the same genre. It really does help improve the writing, but also to see what's out in the market as well.

Deana said...

I am really enjoying your Crusader idea! I can't wait till the next one and hopefully be a part of it:)

Natasha Hanova said...

Great tips. I especially like read out loud. It really helps because sometimes things look find on paper, but when you hear them…not so much.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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