By Joan Bird, author of TUMBLEWEED HEIGHTS
Write, write and re-write.
Read aloud and listen to the text. Errors in grammar, redundancy in word choices, pacing, etc., often come to light.
Try printing out your pages and then editing. As much as we are glued to our word processor programs, things do look different in print.
Join a writing group. Not just a few friends eating chips and gabbing, but a 'committed' group. This means setting goals. Try twenty-to thirty pages each week. Done. Shipped. If you are in a group, be firm but kind. You can challenge yet remain open-minded to another's style and genre.
For example, though you don't much care for explicit sex or blood and guts in your writing, doesn't mean you can't appreciate, critique or point out modifications to another writer on important elements. E.g., whether the action even makes sense for the character or its placement is wrong. [Would Little Bo Beep really disembowel the Big Bad Wolf? Even if the answer is 'yes', would she do it on page one?]
Brave a contest or two in your genre. In my experience the judges are helpful in pointing out bad habits of which a writer may not even be aware. Furthermore, often you are given good feedback as to characters, the story itself or your writing skills. Positive affirmation goes a long way for the unpublished author with no other resources to act as a sounding board.
Purchase a respected grammar guide. Read it.
Spellcheque? Spellchek? (Right).
Peruse the bookstore for writers on writing. A single chapter on character development might rock your world. Examples of things done correctly and incorrectly could alleviate a problem you don't even recognize. If this embarrasses you, wear a disguise.
Read published writers in your genre.
Last but not least. Keep a towel handy. When the world comes crashing in, throw it. Then take a walk.
Joan Bird has been telling stories for years. In her first incarnation she was a singer/song writer with a rock band (yes, her Fender guitars are awesome), then she started writing books, mostly for herself.
Joan’s storytelling is legendary amongst her family and friends. For years she’s been including short stories with her holiday greetings each December and for years her friends and family have been encouraging her to write a book. Little did they know she had a storehouse of novels just waiting to be read by more than just her mailing list.
A couple of years ago she began working on polishing the stories she had already written, which sparked new ideas that led to writing more novels. Tumbleweed Heights is her first published book, but there are more on the way and she can’t wait for you to read them.
Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Tumbleweed Heights.Facebook | Amazon Kindle Store | Smashwords | Boroughs Publishing Group