Thursday, May 14, 2009

This is the next to the last batch of writing tips from HARO, Enjoy! Laura

“Don’t use dialogue to tell something that should be shown. It just makes the character who is speaking sound long winded. Putting quotation marks around exposition won’t draw readers into the scene or involve them more than if you’d left it part of the narrative.” From Patrika Vaughn,

“If I feel I’m having a bad writing day, I’ll re-read some things I’ve written in the past that I really like. Reading my own writing helps to put me in the “zone” I was in when I wrote it.” From Melissa A. Rothermel

“Create a style sheet to ensure you use the same spellings and refer to names the same way throughout. For example, numbers spelled out vs. numerals, and full names (e.g., "Laura L. Hoopes") vs. shorter versions (e.g., "Laura Hoopes").” From Linda Carlson

“My favorite tip for writers comes from author Graham Greene who wrote 500 words a day. NO MATTER WHAT. He was so compulsive about it he was known to stop with a “The” if that was his 500th word. I am a writing coach and workshop leader –– my book, BANG THE KEYS: Four Steps to a Lifelong Writing Practice comes out with Penguin this summer –– and this bit of advice has helped more of my clients than I can say. Additionally, for concentration-challenged 21st century writers, I would also recommend two software programs. One is called Macfreedom ( Right now it’s free, and it allows you to tell it to keep you off of the Internet for as many hours as you wish. Priceless! Writeroom is also wonderful. It allows you to write on a black screen with a green blinking cursor. Writeroom is also wonderful. It allows you to write on a black screen with a green blinking cursor.” From Jill Dearman

“Take at your blog posts over the past year or more; has your opinion changed or do you now hold a completely contrarian point-of-view? Those kinds of posts are great fodder for people afraid to say they’ve changed their mind. Another way to approach it is, even if you still agree with yourself, try to write a post from the opposite perspective. It’s a great way to get the juices flowing.”From Jennifer Lindsay,

“ 1. Identify the audience - visualize a typical reader sitting across from you and your task is to explain something so that they will understand the explanation 2. Define the purpose - What are you going to explain, and why do they need to know about it - or why should they even care 3. Prepare an outline: Tell 'em what you are going to tell 'em; Tell 'em; Tell 'em what you told 'em. 4. Write the piece 5. Review the piece against the purpose - does the piece achieve the purpose? 6. If a fairly extensive rewrite is needed - start over rather than correct or try to fix what is already written - it is very difficult to throw out your hard work, but often the results will be much better.” From Dr. William R. Osgood

“Anyone can take a good idea and give it shape and substance. Some can do it better than you, some not as well. But nobody can take the idea that sings to your soul and perform the kind of alchemy on it that you can. Only you can transform that idea into the one-of-a-kind gem it longs to be. Surrender to that right idea. Perform your magic on it. Let the right idea for you be the idea you write.” From Mark David Gerson

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Writing Tips

Here's another crop of HARO tips. We're seeing patches of the bottom of the barrel, only two more rounds and then we'll start some author interviews with their best ideas for writing.

“I've learned that there is one way to succeed in every part of blogging. Be authentic. Whether you're asking another blogger to look at a post (and hopefully link to it) or you're writing about a niche topic, authenticity is crucial.” From Thursday R. Bram

“The big problem with writer's block is getting started. If you stop by completing a thought, sentence, paragraph, page or chapter, then you are starting cold the next day. Starting up in the middle of a sentence is starting already warmed-up.” From Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. Author of The Un-Comfort Zone

For a blog, “…the writer must read, and must not write about oneself. There is nothing more boring to readers than stories purely about the writer. Analyze what you see and experience for the benefit of your readers. Show readers a different way of looking at something.” From Elizabeth Ross

“One of the ways I keep inspired about content for my blog is to continuously save things I come across online that I feel passionate about. I save them as PDF or Word files in a blog inspiration folder on my desktop and assign the files short names that remind me why I saved them.” From Karl Johnson

“Read something terrible. I have some favorites, but I feel like this may be more personal. For instance, if I really want to get myself riled up about the state of literature, I’ll skim The Da Vinci Code. The short chapters and constant cliffhangers make me giggle, and they also make me want to do a better job than good old best-selling Brown boy.” Sara Dobie,

“…the best tip I have to offer is to occasionally find ways to meet with your audience. I write non-fiction, so I offer an occasional class through community education, hire out a guest-speaker, appear as a guest expert on social networking sites, or speak at support groups. This puts me in touch with the very people I am trying to help, the very people with whom I am sharing ideas and hope. “ From Maureen McKay

“My tips: be tenacious, check your facts and always do quality work. Refresh your grammar skills. Believe in yourself.” From Joan Fitting Scott, Author of Skinning the Cat: A Baby Boomer's Guide to the New Retiree Lifestyles

“MAKE YOUR DEADLINES! or don't. Because I do. and I'll get all the assignments you drop. “ Brooke Kelley