Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hopefully Helpful Hints

10. Give yourself permission to "write ugly". Remember the story of the ugly duckling.

9. Don't ask for criticism unless you're ready to receive it.

8. If an idea is keeping you up at night, or knocking on the door of your imagination while you're busy doing other things, it's an idea worth paying attention to.

7. Never forget the funny.

6. Remember some days will be more productive than others.

5. Never assume your characters are finished surprising you.

4. There is such a thing as a too-complicated plot.

3. Love your characters' flaws - perfection can be really boring.

2. Your third chapter might be your first chapter in disguise.

1. Be aware of your facial expressions when you're writing. If you're smiling, you're onto a good thing.

K.M. Weiland, the author of the wonderful blog Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors and an author of historical and speculative fiction, is releasing an instructional CD entitled Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration on October 1st. I'll be posting my review of the CD on Monday, October 4th.


  1. Elspeth - I really like this advice! #8 reminded me of something Agatha Christie said: "The best time to plan a novel is when you're doing the dishes." In fact, I had an epiphany yesterday about my WIP while I was putting on my makeup. POW - totally unexpected, but will make the novel much better.

  2. These are great! Thanks for this.


  3. Margot; Good for you! I do hope the POW didn't happen while you were putting on your mascara. That could have been painful.

    Clarissa; You're so welcome! I love your blog by the way and read it daily!

  4. I love this. I'm forever adjusting because I tend to always be guilty of #4.

  5. Carol; My most troublesome one used to be #10. Now I'm fearing #3 is true.

  6. I just love no 1! I have laughed my way through my current WIP, and when I see the reactions (lots of smilies) from my beta-readers, I laugh again.

  7. as for number 1. it is worth remembering that if you are crying you may also be on to a good thing.
    As long as they are not tears of frustration ;-)

  8. I've got to disagree with #1. Sometimes a disturbing or thrilling scene gets an appropriate expression.

    Looking forward to your review on Friday, Elspeth!


  9. These are all good, but I especially like #5. Some characters are especially annoying and hard to control. :)

  10. Dorte; Laughter and smiles are always good!

    Al; That's very true - but the tears are usually followed by a smile of accomplishment.

    Michele; I guess I'm odd; even when I'm writing a danger-filled scene, I find I have an expression of enjoyment. I suppose I like putting my characters in difficult situations and a smile means I feel I'm writing it well.

    Pat; Aren't some characters a pain? I've had more than one come up with something completely unexpected which has forced major rewrites. It's annoying when they're right and I'm wrong.

  11. #10 is so encouraging! Love it! And #4 is good to remember when planning my stories.

  12. Laura; #10 was (honestly) the hardest one for me to learn and I still grapple with it every day. #4 I usually discover AFTER I've written something. Ah well.

  13. Oh, yes #5! But that's what makes them interesting, no?

  14. Laura; Interesting? Of course. Also maddening, frustrating, etc.

  15. Great points. Can't wait for your review.

  16. Mary; Thanks! I'll be posting it Monday. It's my first review, so I'm quite nervous.

  17. I particularly liked # 1.
    If you smile, you will make the reader smile.


Please leave a comment as I love to hear from you!