"Writing should be like clothing - long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep things interesting!"    

                      - Unknown

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Tom's Tips for Writers

A continually updated source of information for anyone interested in writing

Comparison - Good or Bad?

March 15, 2018

As a writer, I've often compared myself to other writers and thought "I'll never be as good as them!" Let me tell you now, that's a good way to throw your self-esteem, and possible writing career, right out the window. You are you, and only you can tell your story. Of course authors who have been at this for years and years will be good at the craft, they've been studying and honing their skills for decades. If you're just starting out, learn from your favorite authors, especially if you're wanting to enter into the same genre. Read their books, and even those of authors you haven't heard of, you never know what jewel you may stumble upon. The best reason for this is to see how authors have crafted their stories and characters, and to see how their writing has evolved over the years. Their writing style may be similar, but I guarantee, if you pick up the first and latest book they've written, you'll notice the style has changed. It's because they've made the only GOOD comparison there is, the one between when they first started and where they are at the moment. I beg you, DO NOT compare yourself to someone who has been writing since before they could walk and has dozens of books on the best-seller list, it'll do you more harm than good! You will NEVER be them...you weren't meant to be, you were meant to be you, and only you. If you want to get on the best-seller list, it all begins with good writing and persistence. And I don't mean finishing your first manuscript thinking you've struck gold, and submitting it to every agent and publisher you can find, that'll only get you rejected over and over, and you'll want to run head first into a wall. Save your skull the agony, your first draft is crap. Yes, I know, those are harsh words, but very true. So do something about it...edit and compare! Finish a second and third draft. I put so much time and effort into the first draft, did he really just say that? Yes, I did! And every professional will tell you the same thing. But believe me, it's well worth it in the end. Let the first set of editing eyes be yours, then once you've made your corrections, find someone you trust to give you an honest opinion, maybe even someone you're only acquainted with and doesn't know your style, to look over your work. They may find some things you missed or even let you know if a particular part isn't working for the story. Make the corrections and compare to your first draft, you'll be impressed with how far you've come!  

Go for Broke!

March 15, 2018

Most people, when they have an idea, it never takes flight. Its either because they think there's no merit to it, they think they could never sit and write a short story, novella, or even a novel. However, I'm here to tell you to take a leap of faith and follow that idea wherever it leads. Sometimes, it all begins with a leap of faith. If you have an idea for a book, story, article, what have you, just start writing, sometimes that's all it takes. No one ever got anywhere by doing nothing. Do you think all those famous authors just woke up one day, said "I feel like being an author", grabbed a pen and paper, and plopped down at their desk just like that? No, of course not, it all started with an idea for a story, and they wanted to get to know the characters, get involved with their lives, and find out what happened to them. It's a journey they took together, myself included. Richard Castle (not the real name of the author of those books, but still a series I would highly recommend, especially if you like the show!) followed Niki Heat through perilous danger fighting crime to find out the identity of her mother's killer. James Patterson walked many a haunted hall with his leading men and women. Nicholas Sparks fought through thick and thin to find the love his characters didn't know they were searching for. Cassandra Claire fights alongside Shadowhunters, J.K. Rowling learned magic and fought evil with Harry Potter and his friends! Are you seeing a trend? No one knew what was going to happen until they followed that idea! What I want to encourage you to do is: when something comes your way that sparks a story in your head - chase it - chase it with everything you have, and don't let go until you've learned everything possible and your characters have trusted you with all their secrets! Don't ever doubt yourself, thinking you'll never be able to do it, because you are the ONLY one who will EVER be able to write the story given to you! 

Quality over Quantity

August 12,2018

Let's start off with this - FORGET THE WORD COUNT!! If all you're wanting to do is write a long bok, you might as well not even start, you're in the wrong business. Book-length will develop with the story. Don't get me wrong, novels are a certain length, over 40,000 words, and while that is important, it's not everything. You could have the longest book in the world, but if it's not good, you've got nothing. I was once told there are about 2.6 million books published every year, and about 2.1 million of them are crap. Want to know why? People are more concerned with the amount of words rather than what they are trying to say. Happens more often than you think. And you better be able to organize your ideas. This also falls under Quality. Organization is key. You don't want to be taking someone through a breathtaking, heart-pounding, adrenaline-filled, horror scene, and right in the middle when someone is about to walk through that door or lose their head, take the reader on a tangent about the character playing with puppies, believe me, it will kill the ambiance you're working to create. The best way to organize is to make yourself an outline, this will also attribute to good quality because you can list what you want to say and how you want to say it, then if something doesn't make sense, move it or lose it. The thing that contributes the absolute most to quality is, you guessed it, TALENT! And like anything else, writing takes practice, and practice will develop talent. Pro ball players didn't get that good overnight, it took years of practice and discouragement to finally achieve success. It's the same with all those famous writers. And by the way, not all of them went to college to obtain a literary degree, and they're doing great. Believe me, when I say - you can be that good too! So forget the numbers game and work on writing a good story.