• Jolene Roehlkepartain

Helpful Writing Tips

“There are 3 rules for writing the writing of a novel,” said novelist W. Somerset Maugham to a class on English literature. “Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

Because I’ve been writing and studying the great writers for decades, I’ve discovered no secret rules—or even an easy set of standards to follow. Instead, I’ve learned a number of tips along the way that have been helpful, and I continue to find more ideas on how to create story arcs and write in ways the keep readers turning the pages.

1. Write what excites you. A lot of people say to write what you know, which is somewhat true, but that can get boring. Writing from your passion and curiosity, however, can keep you going through multiple drafts.

2. Keep writing. Every day. Some days will be easier than others, but it’s the discipline of writing that helps you hone your craft and discover your story.

3. Read. Read. Read. I read novels. Memoirs. History. Writing books. Children’s books. Nonfiction books. You learn how to write through reading.

4. Ask for feedback. Have someone read what you wrote (when you think it’s ready). Someone who knows how to provide a good critique will ask you lots of thought-provoking questions and tell you where you manuscript needs more development and where it’s getting bogged down. That said, be careful. Find trustworthy people to read your writing who inspire you instead of flatten you.

I give many writing tips on Twitter at @BooksJolene. Or check out my website at https://www.booksbyjolene.com/writing-tips. In many way, author Kurt Vonnegut summarized the writing process best: “Continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

So write. Jump. And fly.

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