Here are my top fifty easy tips you should keep in mind as you write your next page-turning bestseller:
TIP #1. Remember you’re writing from your character’s POV. No need for “he/she thought.”
TIP #2. Don’t add a comma before the word “too” at the end of a sentence.
TIP #3. Blond is an adjective to describe a person. Blonde is a noun.
TIP #4. Don’t do an information dump all at once about a character. Spread it out and share it through dialogue if possible.
TIP #5. Try not to use “it”, “that” or “this” excessively. Describe what “it” is.
TIP #6. Go ahead and use contractions. It sounds better.
TIP #7. When in a character’s POV, that character shouldn’t describe himself/herself.
TIP #8. Don’t over use dashes and don’t put a space before or after it.
TIP #9. Try not to start paragraphs with time. For example: The next day… That is telling not showing.
TIP #10. Use only one space after punctuation. If you learned like me to add two spaces, do a “find and replace” when you are done with the book.
TIP #11. Use ellipses to show hesitation or omitted words. For example: “You… you don’t mean he…?”
TIP #12. Use an em dash to indicate interruption in dialogue. For example: “I’m going to-”
TIP #13. Use a dash for stammering. For example: “I-I-I didn’t know you were here.”
TIP #14. Don’t use weak words. For example: Her eyes were “really pretty.” Instead say: Her eyes sparkled an emerald green. In the first example, you are also telling rather than showing.
TIP #15. Break up really long sentences and paragraphs for easy readability.
TIP #16. Avoid “ly” words, but you don’t have to eliminate them entirely.
TIP #17. If you are writing in Third Person and in a character’s POV, don’t suddenly change and become omniscient. Example: She picked up the letter opener. She didn’t know that David had used it kill his brother.
TIP #18. Write in an active voice as if story is currently happening. Backstory can be added, but make sure dialogue and actions are showing and not telling.
TIP #19. Don’t head-hop during a scene. If you need to describe how the other person feels, reconsider writing from their POV or start the next scene with their POV.
TIP #20. Use strong words. Try to avoid: sort of, a lot, seemed, slightly, almost, etc. Be definite.
TIP #21. Vary your words so you don’t keep repeating the same word or phrase.
TIP #22. Make sure your sentences make sense. For example: While he kissed her, he lit a match. Very hard to do both at the same time. Instead write: He kissed her, and then he lit a match.
TIP #23. Be careful of words you use instead of “said”. For example: “Don’t do that,” he grimaced. You can’t grimace words. Instead say: “Don’t do that,” he said, grimacing.
TIP #24. Search your document for the word “that” and make sure you’ve used it correctly. You might need to substitute with “which” or “who” or eliminate the word all together.