Dream, Intuition, and Love are three words always connected to my writing.
Dream about your writing, and follow your dreams.
Often parts of a story come to me when I go to bed or when I wake up. I always write them down. The WHIPEYE title came to me out of the blue when I was watching a movie. This happened after two weeks of thinking about the title.
When you get stuck in a story, ask yourself questions, and listen for the answers–they will come. You might not get an answer right away, but eventually it will be there, the aha! moment which makes problem solving in writing so much fun! Talking to others or a critique can help, too.
Intuition never fails you and will guide you along your truest path as a writer.
Your inner voice. Listen to your inner compass on what to write and how to write. Whenever you feel a niggling doubt or a tiny voice questioning what you’ve written, that’s a sign something isn’t quite right or doesn’t quite work.
If you doubt a word choice, sentence, or paragraph, or something a character said or did, it probably needs to be dropped or changed. This is how you become your own best editor. I ‘doubted’ the title of WHIPEYE for years. It finally came to me two weeks before I submitted it to my publisher.
Love what you write and write what you love.
If you write what you know best, or love the most, or value, it will show in your story and make it more powerful instead of becoming ‘just another story’. I love wildlife and WHIPEYE is filled with wild animals.
If you care deeply about your story, so will your readers. This includes loving all the characters in your story–heroes and villains. Villains have mothers and fathers, too, and want to be happy. If you share with the reader the villain’s dreams and what they care about, it will show in the final story and draw the reader in.
Unpredictable is one last word I’ll leave you with.
Readers love surprises. To keep a reader turning the page, you want to surprise them as much as possible. This means changing up sentence and paragraph length, and avoiding repetition of words. Use dialogue. I always use an online dictionary and thesaurus. ‘He walked…’ can be ‘He scampered…’
If your readers are kept off guard, and are unsure of what is coming next, in sentences, paragraphs, chapter lengths, or the story, it raises questions for them. They read to find the answers.