Writing Tips


  WRITING TIPS  by Donald Scott



First decide between past or present tense (past is much more popular and is usually best for beginners).  Next—choose a point of view (POV): First Person – Third Person Limited – Third Person Omniscient (head-hopping is okay in this one, and not really an evil deed when done properly). Read More...



In general, a story should begin slow, gradually gain momentum until coming to a climax, and end in resolution.

Don’t push the reader into the story, lure them in. Read More...



Structure a story properly and it will flow like a stream, and at the right times—like a raging river!  Every scene, every chapter, and the book itself should have a beginning, a middle, and an end (unless you are deliberately creating ambiguity or preparing a surprise).  Read More...



Successive sentence, paragraphs, or chapters that begin with the same word.  The clustering of any letter, word, phrase, or sound.

Adverbs that reiterate the verb or adjective (The rabbit raced quickly across the yard). Read More...



Unless the speaker is referring to a past situation, dialogue is always written in present tense.

Dialogue tags are often necessary to let a reader know who’s speaking.  They can also be used to balance sentence structure, break up lengthy dialogue into digestible pieces, as well as to convey action, emotion, description, and additional information. Read More...



USE ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS SPARINGLY (especially adverbs ending in “ly”).  Overusing them will make your writing seem awkward and mark you as an amateur.  This guideline doesn’t apply quite as much in a highly dramatic scene.


SHOW? and  TELL?

Showing paints a picture in the reader’s mind  (Joe screamed out in agony as blood spurted from his artery), while telling is merely an exchange of information  (Joe felt a sharp pain in his foot when a knife fell on it). Read More...



Adding humor can help endear the reader to a character and balance out a story.

Descriptions of odors, sounds, and sensations can help bring a scene to life.

It is natural for people to root for an underdog.  Treat a character unjustly, and the reader will rally to their side. Read More...



If I can’t seem to make something work, I remove it—even if I’ve fallen in love with it.  While it was at first difficult to toss aside these wonderful literary morsels, I eventually became used to doing so. Read More...



After making a thorough spell-check, highlight the entire manuscript and make it double spaced with the proper font.  Next, type two blank spaces into the find & replace bar and replace all accidental double-spaces with a single space. Read More...



Have the manuscript copyrighted for about $35 at the U.S. Copyright Office

Create a meta-data page: blurb, back-cover matter (bio etc.)

Create a cover, hire someone to create a cover, or purchase a pre-made cover online. Read More...



Formatting: Use black 12pt Courier New font, double-spaced lines, and 1” margins.  Tab the first the start of each paragraph five spaces (1/2 inch), except the first line of each chapter and chapter break.  Put chapter numbers about 1/3 of the way down the page. Read More...


Take a break between drafts—weeks or months


In the end, you should only be concerned with what makes a story work

Copyright © 2017  by  Donald Scott


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