For New Writers

If you love to write, it is a journey of self-discovery. You, and your favorite writing device, alone in your room. Or, on a bus. Or, in the car as someone else drives! You create characters, conversation, or just write beautiful, poetic phrases. You call it junk. But, others might just think it's great!

The first barrier to writing is you. Your thoughts about what you write. If you think you're a genius and don't need to proofread, you think too much of yourself. But, if you think you have no talent, you are probably wrong! You have to build up your self-confidence, somehow. If you like your writing, there is a chance that others will like it, too. 

But, to convey all that talent, you need to know your English from high school. I'm serious! Grammar and spelling are the basics. I'm not too much on literature education these days because no one can decide on exactly what makes great writing. Many agree that good writing has certain qualities. Knowing your native grammar and spelling is absolutely necessary, and you will make mistakes. That's okay. If you need to brush up, the Internet is full of good grammar and spelling advice.

To know a great story, you should read one. My favorite author is Susan S. Kyle, my sister, and her Morcai Battalion series. My favorite classical author is Louisa May Alcott. Remember Little Women? I love Hospital Sketches and Work.  I cannot define great writing; I will let the experts debate. But, I know what makes a good story, and try to practice it:

A good story is entertaining. Makes you want to turn the next page. Transports you to a different place while you read. You don't want to put it down.

How do you write a good story? Well, how do you tell a good story? You start out with a place, a problem, and a character. If you can inject a little humor in appropriate places, that helps to break up a hopeless or depressing mood, before the answer comes. Description is vital, but too much, or too little, is disastrous. Too much, and you bore your reader. Too little, and the reader hasn't got a clue what it is you see in your head! Don't be predictable.

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Your reader will think less of you if you don't spell well. If you don't believe me, check out the books in your grocery store. Do they have lots of spelling errors? Look though your favorite books at home. They won't have many, if at all. The more you read and edit your story, the less likely the spelling and grammar errors. Use your word processor's spell checking function. But, know that some words are in the dictionary but you may have used a spelling that means something else. Or you may have used it wrong. Don't always believe the grammar-checker, either. Sometimes, it is wrong!

Write a little every day. Don't worry about formatting for now. Got a pretty place in mind for a story? Describe it. Want to put a character in but don't know what she will say? Describe her. Do you hear the dialogue but can't picture the speakers? Write the dialogue! Got an idea? Carry a pen and pad with you, or an iPad, or some way to write. Jot it down! Staring at the blank screen but don't know what to write about? That's writer's block. Don't worry about it. Think of things that inspire you to write. A place you'd like to live. A fantasy or science fiction setting. A countryside waiting for a stroll. A dark, scary alley. Story material is all around you. In the grocery store? People meet in stores and things happen. Write about everyday things. Simple things spawn stories. Train those around you to not interrupt when you're rushing to write down your scene! One interruption can lose you that scene you've been planning all day! Non-writers don't know this. If you make up stories, you are a writer, even if you've never sold a story!

I will be adding to this page from time to time. Enjoy!