Top Ten Writing Hints

  1. Spell Check. Especially the names of canon characters you aren't sure how to spell. Readers who do know how it should be spelled will not be happy.
  2. Proof Read. Catch all those annoying typos that spell check won't catch. Make sure you are using the correct "to, too, or two" and other common mistakes.
  3. Show, Don't Tell. Physical descriptions are great, as are seeing what the character is doing at the time he is doing it rather than hearing about it later. Facial expressions, grunts, and mutters when used well are a million times better than "he felt..."
  4. Don't Let Your Prose Get Purple. Don't dwell on feelings, and don't be repetitive with them. Try to keep telling what the characters feel to a minimum - show, don't tell.
  5. Be Concise.
  6. Don't Skimp on Description. Seems to go directly against the previous point, I know, but physical description of a scene is necessary, and can be great foreshadowing. Don't describe the loft a million times, but do tell what the street Methos is walking at midnight looks and sounds like, especially as the buzz of another immortal hits him.
  7. Know your Characters. Whether it be your character or a canon character, you need to know as much about them as possible. How would he/she react in a given situation, and why? If it is a character Duncan will be killing, what kind of sword does he use, how old is he, where is he from originally, where is he from now, and what is his problem with Duncan? You should know the answers to these questions and many more, even if you don't tell the readers about their history. It will make the character the better for it.
  8. Research. If you don't know something, look it up - don't make it up. Don't assume that things in the country you set the story in are the same as in your country, and especially don't assume things today are like they were hundreds or thousands of years ago. Even if you make up your own nomadic tribe for Methos to wander with you should know when he might have done so, where they'd likely be traveling to, and what the conditions they would be living under would be. If you have your character using a weapon - know its weight, how it is held, and how it is used.
  9. Get a Beta. Or at least someone to read through it before you post it or send it to be archived. There might be something you missed, something big. At the very least, by sending it to someone first, you will be able to make sure the formatting isn't screwed up.
  10. Have Fun. All these hints are meaningless if they make you not want to write. Enjoy yourself, before anything else. Take these hints as well as anything else with a grain of salt, nothing is ever absolute. Enjoy yourself. =)

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