Sunday, May 31, 2015

Advice for Novice Writers

If anyone has ever told you that there are no rules for telling a story, just tell it, disregard that horrid advice immediately. That's bullshit! There are a few simple rules everyone should follow in order to make your story more readable. Your story gets lost if you can't even follow basic rules of spelling, grammar and punctuation! So here are my simple suggestions for everyone who has a story to tell:
1. Use a program such as MS Word that will catch and point out your mistakes. It won't catch all of them, but for most of the common mistakes, it works fine.

2. If you are posting in any of the various online places such as Wattpad, you can cut and paste from writing programs, so do it. These websites do not have the features you need for correcting your errors.

3. Yes spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper paragraph formatting matter! If you can't write properly, your readers will get frustrated and give up. They will also tell their friends to avoid you because you lack a basic grasp of the written language.

4. NEVER PUBLISH ANYTHING THAT IS NOT YOUR BEST EFFORT!! I don't just mean a book, I mean on a free website too. Something riddled with errors is not your best effort!

5. For the love of all the gods in Asgard: PROOFREAD!! Do it yourself and have someone else do it for you! I'm dyslexic, I totally get that you don't always catch all of your own mistakes.

6. Don't jump on people who are trying to help you improve by pointing out your errors. You are the one who chose to publish it that way so don't get pissed when someone points it out!

7. Take a creative writing class at your local community college or any other writing course that will help you to improve your basic skills.

That is really all of the advice I have right now. It's not late, but I'm exhausted and cannot think of anything else at this time. Now if you're wondering what qualifies me to give this type of advice: I've been writing for thirty years and I made straight A's in all of my writing classes from elementary school through college. Teachers have kept my work to use as examples. I'm also a published Indie author. I may not have the greatest sales in the world, but I'm highly complimented by all of my readers.

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