Wednesday Writing: Writing tips anybody?
As an unpublished novelist, I avoid handing out writing tips—purely because I don’t think I’m qualified. I can only parrot things other writers have said better, like:
- Instead of using adverbs, try using a stronger word. For example, “sprint” instead of “run quickly”
- Decide in advance, what point of view you want for your novel, and why. This should be a conscious decision, not a default.
- And, in the category of Things I Had To Learn the Hard Way . . . 200,000 words is far, far too long for a debut author in any genre. If your manuscript is headed that way, drag on the reins and decide: are you writing one book and just meandering around, or are you writing two books? Google agent blogs on wordcount, and you’ll get a better idea for where to set your target.
That last tip brings me to something I am qualified to write about: shortening novels. If you have written a 200,000+ word behemoth, and if you want to publish it (not everyone wants that, I know), then something must be done. You may be tempted to split it into two novels (and that might be the right choice) but before you do, consider shortening it.
I know that means cutting the equivalent of one entire book (at least 100,000 words) out of your novel, but before you throw your keyboard/iPad/phone at me, consider this: I wrote a 220,000 word novel before I discovered that 100,000 words is the appropriate length for debut fantasy novels. On my own, I managed to cut it down to 130,000 words. A fantastic writing partner helped me cut out the other 30,000, so it is now down to 100,000 words–and it is a far, far better novel because of that.
Next Wednesday, I’ll tell you how I did it.