Friday, May 8, 2009

Writing tips, winding down, preview of new feature coming

Hi WestCoastWriters blog readers,
There are only a few more postings of writing tips coming up, and after that I am planning to post some interviews with writers about writing for you. If you want to suggest people I should interview (including yourself) please post a comment and I will contact you if your idea works for the blog.

More writing tips:

Keep your blog posts short: say what you have to say crisply, then stop. Use lists, and keep the formatting clean. For those who want to read further, include links to more detailed articles. More tips at "Blogging Tips & Techniques" From Jonathan Lockwood Huie

“For fiction: Take inspiration from your life, especially for comedic writing. There is nothing more absurd than reality! Listen to the conversations of friends, family, and strangers. Some of my most successful pieces have been written after overhearing a snippet of conversation!” From Andi Enns

“As for blog tips, linking to other people’s blogs and/or articles is a great way to cross-promote and get traffic you might not otherwise get. Anytime I am published elsewhere or quoted elsewhere, I put up a blog posting about it, linking back to the other website/ blog/ article.” From Caroline Ceniza-Levine,/

Assume your reader won’t read: Online reading is different than print. People skim, skip ahead, and generally avoid the “reading” aspect of reading. People often DON’T scroll down. Put the most pertinent info at the top, and keep your entries to about a page (single-spaced) or less. With your website’s margins, pictures, etc, that one page will look long enough. Be interactive: I hate when bloggers/online magazines basically just post print online. A good blog is interactive, it has helpful links that enable the reader to learn more (a la Wikipedia). It should have pictures or video, if you can and it makes sense. It is not static. A good blog references other blogs. Robin Levinson

My own best tips:
1) Schedule your writing time. Mark it in your calendar just as you would a dentist appointment or regular trips to the gym.
2) Network, network, network. You never know where your next good contact or story lead will come from.” From Flo Selfman President, Independent Writers of Southern California (

Draw! No matter if you're not an artist. Do a quick line drawing of your setting: a living room or restaurant where action takes place, the streets of the town, the configuration of a dresser or significant piece of furniture. This will accomplish at least two things: first, the sketch serves as a "bookkeeping" tool so you won't make an error when you refer to the item/place again. Second, the act of drawing often inspires further description in the book and or more action.” From Camille Minichino/aka Margaret Grace, author of eight books in the Periodic Table mysteries and three in the Miniature Mysteries.

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