Archive | Writing Tips

Why you should deviate, from Beth Mende Conny

Why you should deviate

My husband and I are making a cake. Open before us is the bible for lost souls: the Joy of Cooking. Across the countertop are the requisite ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, eggs and salt) and various implements of destruction (measuring cups and spoons). The Joy (ha!) of Cooking makes clear the precise measurements and order of ingredients. It states, “Deviation brings disaster.”

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Author Beth Mende Conny of Write Directions shares profiles of Ernest Hemingway, Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates, as listed in Daily Rituals: How artists work by Mason Currey. So, what is your daily routine?

Famous writers and their daily routines

  I turn to Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How artists work when I need inspiration and a reminder that while the writing process isn’t easy, writing regularly makes it easier. Rituals, like weight-lifting, build muscle, and we writers need strength to finish our projects. Ernest Hemingway’s ritual was to begin writing at dawn, when no one would disturb him. He would read what he had previously written and wouldn’t stop until he knew what would happen next. According […]

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query-letters-that-rock

Why editors accept or reject query letters

When you submit a query to an editor, the editor will respond in one of three ways: yes, no, maybe. The editor says “yes” for these four reasons: Your idea your article appeals to her publication’s audience. That publication could be an off- or online magazine, newspaper or newsletter, among others. Your idea is solid. It has depth, scope and significance. Your writing is stellar. It’s engaging and succinct and, as should go without saying, […]

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Memoir vs. novel - which one should you write?

Memoir vs. novel — Which one should you write?

As a book coach, I estimate that half of my writers want to write a memoir. They may not call it that per se. It could, indeed, be more of a self-help, travel or genre book, or, simply, a collection of reflections. Such books are considered nonfiction, because they are based on facts and personal experiences. Theoretically. As a memoirist, it’s your right to choose what to include or exclude from your book — within […]

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Whitney Yount, proofreader

Do I need a proofreader?

I recently asked my colleague, proofreader Whitney Yount, if I really needed a proofreader. After all, I review everything I write several times. Here’s what Whitney had to say: As a writer, you have undoubtedly put a great deal of time and effort into your work. This commitment is essential in making your manuscript the best that it can be, but at the same time, your closeness to the project may prevent you from seeing […]

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How do you find time to write? Image of a wall of clocks

Ask the coach: What’s the most creative time of day to write?

The depends on you. Your schedule, biorhythms, energy level, etc., will determine where, when and how you work. For example, I’m an early riser. I do my best work before lunch. After lunch, I start fading; after dinner, I’m a goner. Because I don’t expect to be creative after 2 p.m., I switch to writing tasks that don’t require lots of mental exertion. I’ll do some online research, organize my files, buy toner, etc.. The […]

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Tips for choosing the right words

Tips for Choosing the Right Words

  Words, like body language, reveal who you are, and in seconds. It’s critical, therefore, that you choose your words carefully, not just in conversation but in writing. Here, let’s concentrate on the latter. Some pointers: Identify your purpose All of us write for a purpose, be it to inform, entertain, persuade or express. Identify your goal and you will be able to choose words that help achieve it; you will recruit readers to your […]

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New Twists on Old Clichés

New twists on old clichés

Note: I wrote this piece a while back for Lifenicity.com, which is my site for personal writings. I am posting it here to give you an example of how you can give a twist to something commonplace — in this case something very commonplace. Review your stable of writings. Are there any that could benefit from a new twist? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again — and then blame others. What goes up must […]

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Beth Mende Conny of Write Directions and Lifenicity shares a funny store about a professor and the assignment two of his students turned in.

The creative writing assignment

This is offered by an English professor from the University of Colorado as an actual class assignment: The Creative Writing professor told his class one day: “Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting next to his or her desk. “As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail […]

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