Five Book Writing Tips to Live By
The challenge is real. Writing a book requires commitment that might take as long as three to five years before our masterpiece is finally on store shelves on or offline. Not only are beginning authors competing with established veterans of the writing craft, every reader will judge the quality of their work.
Today I’m going to discuss five book writing tips beginning authors need to live by. These five tips were once upon a time my greatest weaknesses to the writing craft just last year. Today, I’ve conquered them and I want to give my audience a chance to do the same.
Tip One: Avoid Throat Clearing
When I first drafted Northern Knights chapters one and two consisted of endless throat clearing. Throat clearing is unnecessary backstory which can be avoided. Though such backstory may be necessary to the plot, it slows down the action.
Think of a heckler in an audience yelling, “just get on with it!” Every time you stall action in your novel for backstory, such a phrase should be running through your mind. Get on with the story and avoid unnecessary throat clearing that will motivate a reader put your book down in favor of something else. There are millions of books, people!
Instead, let backstory seep throughout the work. When I rewrote Northern Knights I unveiled backstory through conversation between my main character Cain and supporting characters.
I used beats to break endless dialogue, short paragraphs to keep enough white space in the text, and unique scenes every time I leaked backstory.
Utilize this technique and your reader will be interested throughout the work instead of skimming through pages to find the story.
Tip Two: Show, Don’t Tell
Phrases like ‘it was hot’ or ‘it was cold’ are boring and your readers’ heads will smack their books or kindles. Not just that, it’s lazy writing.
Not what a new author wants to do as it’s an immediate credibility killer.
Instead of stating it was hot, describe sweat pouring down your characters’ faces, insert the kind of clothes they’re wearing, and maybe even state they’re chugging water.
If it’s cold, state in the story how your character fastens their jackets and turns their face against the wind.
Here’s an action scene example. Don’t state Cain’s running down the field, show Cain in action. Finding a wide-open Savannah, Cain motioned to throw while two three-hundred pound defenders closed in’ sounds a lot better than ‘Cain threw to Savannah.’
Tip Three: Avoid clichés
Avoid clichés in your text most of the time. You might have a character who speaks in cliches, and that’s fine.
But when your text is full of redundant clichés, readers won’t be impressed. Clichés display a lack of originality in your writing.
If you’re unsure whether you’re writing clichés, I recommend using Pro Writing Aid’s Editing Tool. The basic tool is free to use with generous upgrades.
Almost any cliché can be spun into original content and being aware of clichés will allow you to display your originality, setting yourself apart from the sea of authors.
Tip Four: Omit Needless Words
Once upon a time, I thought more was better. More is never better. Less is more and to a reader, they will experience more action and fewer slowdowns.
Instead of stating ‘Cain was up at the break of dawn and slumbered to William-Morgan Hall so that he could eat his breakfast,’ you can rephrase this into ‘Cain strolled to William-Morgan Hall at dawn for breakfast.’
Fewer words equals more power. I could’ve kept the former phrase in Northern Knights and all identical phrases to it but fewer words moves the story, the action, and will keep the reader turning pages.
Tip Five: Avoid On-The-Nose Writing
Say your novel takes place at a college campus where much of Northern Knights is set.
Do we really need to describe such campuses in broad detail?
Better yet, do we need to describe what a dining hall looks like?
On-the-nose writing occurs when an author describes persons, places, or things that closely resemble real life.
I’m sitting in a library as I write this.
You, as the reader, can already picture me sitting in a library and writing this article about book writing tips.
I don’t have to describe the bookshelves, newspaper shelves, librarians, tables, patrons, and anything else that has to do with a library. By stating library, you have a firm picture in your mind what I’m talking about.
Book Writing Tips to Remember
There are numerous book writing tips out there and a good twenty-plus “rules” to the craft. I quote rules because they’re more unwritten rules, more as in, reader preferences.
Now, there are exception. Some readers love authors who are anti-minimalist but it’s a minute percentage. A cult following at that.
By implementing the five tips above, your readers will rave about your writing from cover to cover as you deliver well-written works to your target audience.
Apply These Tips
What are you waiting for?
Get to your manuscript that needs attention, dissect every page, use the Pro Writing Aid Editing Tool, and start working.
I recommend taking one tip at a time, mastering it, and moving onto another tip. Writing is a craft that requires practice and improvement won’t happen overnight.
Again, it took me a few months to gain a firm grasp on the above tips.
But, with continued practice, you too will work on becoming the master of the writing craft.
So, stop waiting and start doing! Master these book writing tips as I churn out more articles like this with the goal of turning you into a better writer.
Remember, when publishing a book to any outlet, you’re exposing your story to a global audience, so taking the time to master these tips will pay off for you.
You’ll gain a readership, a trusted tribe, and maybe even a few superfans.
I’d like to thank all writers and authors coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.