Wednesday, August 5, 2015

5 Very Useful Writing Tips

{This is a companion post to Victoria's post on Outlining!}

So, before I begin today's post, I have to thank you. YOU, my readers, for sticking with me through all the years of Julia's Journal, since I began blogging in June of 2008. I missed celebrating my blog-iversary this year, but yesterday I had to go through and remove a bunch of images on past posts I'd used from Google due to possible copyright issues (learn from my mistake, dear ones, and just use your own pictures and photographs, or ones that are in the public domain!)...

In the process, I skimmed through years of my writing. Blogging blossomed my writing into something that felt as natural as breathing, and I loved seeing the overall bird's-eye-view of how friendships formed through this platform.

Facebook has stolen some of the shine (and definitely heaping amounts of my free time) and left behind the glory days of blogging, when we participated in ENDLESS "tags" and swapped blog awards and we actually commented back and forth with amazing frequency. But I'm not going anywhere, and maybe, if I am very consistent, I can grow my blog back to the way it once was.

This month, my darling friend Victoria and I are doing a series of matching blog posts, and this week the topic is WRITING.

So here are Five Very Useful Writing Tips, if you go in for that sort of thing. :D

"Don't tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass." 
-Anton Chekov
This is so crucial! Your story will be bland and lifeless if you lay everything out for the reader like a game of hopscotch. Steps 1 through 12, there you have it. Yawn! Give us the details of the surroundings, the sights, smells, tastes, feelings, aura, atmosphere. Plunge us INTO that story until it's more vivid than a movie could ever hope to be. 

For a great explanation of this, check out this really awesome post by K. M. Weiland.

This one is sort of two-part. Part one: if you happen to have a wondrous idea that strikes you breathless, do yourself a favor and write it down RIGHT AWAY. Do not be embarrassed if you need to dash out of the room and find some paper and a pen. If you're in the shower, keep repeating it to yourself until you can dry off and grab a pencil in your still-damp fingers. :D You may think you'll remember it until later, but 90% of the time... NOPE-A-RAMA. Brains are silly things. So take copious notes, dear. Fill up notebooks with your ideas.

Part two: You must write to get writing done. Profound, I know. Ha. (Preaching sternly to myself on this one) If you never sit your fanny IN that chair (sidenote: make your writing space organized and welcoming, it will energize your writing life) and actually WRITE, nothing happens. One page at a time adds up. Do it.


I don't know how many books I've started that had stale, insipid, ordinary, boring characters in them. They lacked life, they had no detail, they had no flaws or quirks and were about as personable as a mannequin in a shop window. Yuck.
Love your story and your characters enough to really dream up every detail about them. Write down their backstory - but don't use it in the book. Let it bleed through into your tale and give it untold richness. Ask yourself how you can make this character DIFFERENT from all the other people in the world. What do they love/hate/enjoy/long for? Steal quirks from people you know! (but not all at once. Pick and choose like you're shopping for produce in the grocery store.) :D

Also read this inspiring post. So much goodness there.

You've heard the expression "write what you know", right? If you haven't, you just did... :D I believe this saying was invented before Google and Wikipedia, but it holds true. If you have been somewhere and soaked up the essence of a place, you'll be able to write it in a way that your readers can fully grasp the feeling of it. But the next best thing is dedicated research. 

For a TON of information on that, read this. :) Oh and also this. Basically, you need to read Kristen's blog, She's Novel, because it's stellar. End of story. (Haha - but there are always more stories!) 

[insert fifty million exclamation points] I cannot stress how important this is. Victoria's post today is all about her experience with Outlining and how it's changed her writing for the better. I know it's certainly rocked my world and made my books so much better. DIAMOND was way easier to write (especially in the dreaded middle) than ASHBURN and my other previous novels - which shall remain hidden until I can blow off the dust and bring them back to life - and it is making Smoky Mountain Serenade a breeze. Every time I sit down to write on it, I know exactly where I am in the plot. It practically writes itself! :)

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Outlining Your Novel, by K. M. Weiland. SO worth the price.

But for a wonderful, comprehensive, slightly-less-about-why you should be outlining-take on the subject, a condensed version... read Kristen's blog post here, for free. :D

That's all for today! Chime in below in the comments section! :)


  1. Awesome Post Julia! Really helpful! Thank you for all of the resources! I am link happy! You inspire me in more ways that you know!
    By His Grace,

    1. Thank you, Victoria dear! You are a sweetheart. So glad I inspire you, because you surely do the same for me! Enjoy the links! <3


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