Here are a few writing tips I’d like to share with fellow authors and aspiring writers:
I find Google Images invaluable for helping me to picture scenes in my mind. For example, if I had a character who lives in squalid conditions, and I was trying to describe his surroundings, I would do a search for ‘neglected living room’ in Google Images.
It also helps with things like describing the fashions for the year in which your book is set. Try entering 1990s fashions, for example, and see what you come up with.
If I am trying to describe certain facial expressions I will look into the mirror and try to recreate them. For example, furrowing the brow, sticking the bottom lip out etc.
I also use the mirror for certain moves so that I can see how they work in practicality. This is helpful for action scenes to make sure that what you’re creating is believable in terms of how far your characters’ limbs will reach, for example.
It’s fortunate that I have blinds at the windows of my office so that people can’t see me carrying out all these strange moves and facial expressions.
Shut your Eyes
It’s amazing how shutting your eyes can help you to visualise a scene because it cuts off your surroundings and enables you to focus solely on what you are trying to create in your imagination.
Google for Names
When I am creating characters, I like to give them names that suit them and that are age appropriate. I therefore enter ‘girls name + (the year)’ in Google, which enables me to see a list of the most popular girls’ or boys’ names for the year in which my character was born.
When I first started writing novels, one of the things I struggled with was finding contacts who could help me with my research. Gradually I have come across people who I have met through friends etc. However, at first, I was keeping a separate list of contacts for each novel.
Recently I amalgamated the list and created a separate folder specifically for research contacts. It saves me time in having to wade through several files if I am looking for help from the same contact in the future.
Whenever I start writing for the day, I always go over the previous scene I have written. This has two benefits. The first is that it enables me to edit the previous day’s writing with a fresh mind.
The second benefit is that it puts me into the right frame of mind to start my writing day. Often, by reading the previous scene I will be fired up with ideas of where I want to take the novel next.
If you’re anything like me, I’m a massive procrastinator so this method helps to give me a push.
Notes re Plot Development
On a good writing day my thoughts can run away with me and sometimes they come to me faster than I can type them. I therefore find it helpful to pause the actual scene I’m writing while I jot the ideas down in note form. I use a different colour font for this and italics so it’s obvious they’re notes rather than forming part of the text.
This method is also useful at the end of the day when you want to finish work, but the ideas are still flowing. It’s great to sit at the PC the following morning and find that you’ve already got the bare bones of a chapter on screen and you just have to flesh it out.
Although we all have our own writing techniques, I hope that some of these ideas might prove useful to you.