6 Tips that will change the way you write

What is your Best Unconventional Writing Advice?

It has nothing to do with grammar, or the English language, or what sells or doesn’t sell. I follow a few simple rules.

  1. I think I read this in Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott) “You have to stop writing as if your mother is reading over your shoulder!” I paraphrased, but you get the idea. Tell it like you see it and feel it. Be true to your thoughts, heart, and feelings.
  2. Develop a thick skin—armor. You’re going to need it. Bite your tongue at the critics. Remember if everyone loved the same things, there’d be no fashion industry or book genres, or millions of songs on the market. We are all different. Your readers will be from different walks of life and you will get reviews that hurt. Forget about them. Focus on the ones that think your work is great.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up about your writing. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a writer, but after agonizing over a novel you can’t seem to get it finished. It’s three years and still, it’s incomplete. It’s not from lack of time, writing might not be for you. If it’s not, let it go. When I was younger I took ballet. I loved it, but I couldn’t follow the line. I’m a good actress, I love to perform. But I can’t memorize a sentence! Hah, I could never make a career of acting! Let the dream go and enjoy reading instead.
  4. Editors and first readers will want you to write a certain way. One of my best friends enjoys giving me plot ideas. Recently I went crazy for about 6 weeks, trying to work with a plot idea that wasn’t right for me. You have to let that stuff go. It’s your story, book, novel, blog, whatever. It’s yours to write any way you want. I struggled to read my first Bukowski book last summer—Women. It was horrendous. Yes, he’s brilliant. But the plot was about an alcoholic loser writer and all the women he used and threw away. Really? And yet he’s considered a great author. I finished the book… I don’t know if I bothered to review it.
  5. Sometimes you have to turn off Grammerly or whatever editing program you are using. You will have a style. Not everyone will like it. Get over yourself. Think about it this way: Some will, some won’t. Next reader coming right up.
  6. Last, as an author if you are looking for someone to motivate you, forget it. Writing is a solitary career. You literally turn off the outside world and go into the one you have created in your mind. You’re the only one who sees the pictures you have created. And you are the only one who can pull those ideas away from the invisible muse and get them down on paper. You are unique. And you have to find that voice inside of you and believe that you can do this. You have to become your very own cheerleader.

Now stop hanging out on Quora (Lynda) and get working on book 7 in the Code Raven Series!

Reprinted from Author Lynda Filler on Quora

BY THE WAY, I almost forgot!! Book 2 in the Code Raven Series, ABDUCTED IS FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW!

What things should one be good at in order to become a good writer?

Lynda Filler
Lynda Filler, Top Quora Writer 2018 Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

Be Brave. You have to be able to open your heart and pour out your feelings. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re in. Let it flow. Be Brave.

Be Bulletproof. Some people choose not to read their reviews. I read them and on Goodreads thank the writers. But I still remember words used to describe my first JET, an action ex-Mossad female assassin. A reader said I’d turned her into a “horny slut.” Today I laugh, then, it wasn’t funny. I thought I “humanized” her. Don’t let the haters get inside your head.

Be Curious. It doesn’t matter what. It’s curiosity that has kept me traveling the world in my stories. I LOVE taking my characters to different places in my work whether it’s action or contemporary romance. They live in my mind and I live in their worlds. It’s great fun and takes me to places I didn’t know exist. My current WIP starts off in Kyrgyzstan, moves to Paris, then the Maldives… and on and on. Research, photos, travel, it’s all part of my curiosity about people, places, and issues.

Be Passionate. Don’t write it if you aren’t enjoying the words and the process. A friend recently told me he trashed 87 chapters. Now for me, that would be 100k but for him, it could be 250–300k words. That’s a lot of work and love to decide it’s not worthy of finishing.

Be Gentle. Writing is not for the faint of heart. Believe in yourself. Love what you do. Let no one be a bully to your talent or your belief in you. Self-talk is key in any work/game/sport/job.

And most of all, remember the Little Engine That Could, if you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t…you’re probably right.

On how to improve your writing skills

 

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I’ve been asked on Quora how I improve my writing skills. A good question don’t you think?

 

  1. Writing is learned by reading—and writing. So the first thing to do would be to read more. This month I will produce a 25000-word novella—I’m at 8000 words today, and I will probably have read 6 novels or more before year-end.
  2. I have over 650,000 views on my Quora answers. I started writing on here a few months ago, I think in the summer. I always write my answer on this page, then copy/paste to Word to check grammar and spelling. As an author I have certain mistakes I make over and over again—a stubborn slow learner. Then I correct the essay and copy/paste back. In these last few months, my organizational skills have improved, my sentence structure and grammar have advanced. Now I can write an answer and if I’m in a hurry, I post. Quora has definitely helped me work on my writing skills.
  3. If you have a style like I do, or your writing has been compared to certain authors, hone your style and do so by reading everything the other mentor/authors have written. For example, with the release of my first novel I was compared to Lee Childs, David Baldacci, and Clive Cussler. Not too shabby. I read the latest Childs and Baldacci books over the past two weeks. So find your style and get better and better at it.
  4. If you are published as I am on Amazon.com: Lynda Filler: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle read your reviews. And not just the good ones. I struggled with an aspect of one of my books, the readers picked up on the same challenge. So although my reviews are high 4.4/5 I recognized an issue and I eliminated it in the next book. So fans may love your message but are quick to let you know where you can improve. They will let you know what you do right and what you do wrong. They offer invaluable feedback.

How do you handle writer’s​ block?

 

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Take a break. Go out, have lunch, take some photos, read a book—clear your head. You might be pushing too hard.

I read gossip columns, go to Huffington Post, Netflix—watch something totally unlike anything I’m working on. The idea is to trick your muse into thinking he/she is no longer working. Then go back to it.

Think of it like training in the gym or playing any kind of sport, or running a business. You have to take breaks to let the muscles—mind, body, creative juices—grow and flow.

I’ve published quite a few books/novellas since the summer of 2015. After the first novella JET: EXPOSED (Kindle Worlds Novella) (JET WORLD Book 1) I was lucky to have a mentor in the creator of the JET series. I learned from Russell Blake how to plot. So I plot. I don’t get stuck on the writing because the story is plotted out on Excel or any spreadsheet before I start to write. Do things change along the way? Absolutely. Are there surprise characters? Sure, that’s where the fun starts. That’s why they are called action/mystery/suspense novellas! Remember, if it is too easy to write, depending on the genre, it might run the risk of being predictable to the reader. And that’s not good.

When I decided to write a memoir on my healing journey LOVE The Beat Goes On I really struggled. How do you write the story or your life? And did I really want to do that? The answer was no. I wanted to focus on my diagnosis in 2008. The doctors told me to get my affairs in order, I had maybe 6 months to live. So writing this story I did the same thing as in my novels. I worked with a spreadsheet and found everything fell neatly into place. The first half is background up to my panic at the idea of dying. The second half is “what I did, what works, and what I continue to do.”

Think of your writing as a business and handle roadblocks the same way any major corporation would handle a problem. Take a break, let it all go for a few hours or less, then come back to it with a fresh approach.

And most of all enjoy your roadblocks. They are part of the process and will help you end up with amazing results!

Have you got what it takes to write a novel? NaNoWriMo

 

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You start with an idea. Where you proceed from there depends on the genre you wish to write. For example, JET: EXPOSED (Kindle Worlds Novella) (JET WORLD Book 1) is a series of Action/Suspense/Thriller novellas (fan fiction) that require lots of plot, the original characters from Russell Blake’s super successful JET series, and my original subplots. So for that type of story, I use a spreadsheet. I need to plot out my story before I write even one word.

This afternoon I was looking for something and came across TextEdit notes on my computer for book 3 of my “in the Sun” series, Book one wasn’t plotted at all Target In The Sun (Carlos & Mia Book 1) but because the fans loved it and wanted to know what happened to the main characters, I needed to come up with a convincing second story. I hadn’t planned on a series. Again, I used a spreadsheet to list my characters, their main qualities, looks, background and then down the page I would write chapter 1, 2, 3 and fill in the ideas. Book two went much faster. And now this is how I’ve started book 3:

“I’ve found her boss.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Kill her!!”

“Are you loco? What if he finds out?”

“I said kill her!”

Silence at the other end of the cell phone, and then the connection was broken.

I already had what I thought was chapter one, but I was wrong!! My muse is taking over—and that’s exactly what you want.

My basic literary tools go like this:

  1. Ideas—you can find them anywhere
  2. Discipline to write—that comes from your burning desire to be an author
  3. Structure—you need organization
  4. Flexibility—you must remember that stories come through us. We don’t own them, our muse comes out to play and can be as annoying as a sibling. Your muse will interrupt you WIP with something totally unexpected. It’s called magic.
  5. Belief—you must believe that your stories are meant to be written and read. If you don’t have belief, you will give up too soon.
  6. Determination—if you have #5 then the guts to work through a lousy review and tons of different types of rejection is a literary tool that you will need to have in your toolbox
  7. Team—you will find that you can’t/don’t want to do everything yourself. So the team that works with you need to understand your vision. Editors, cover artist, advertising groups, your FB fan base and your first readers
  8. Marketing—in today’s world anyone can write a book. Learn to market. It’s the part I least like and yet it allows me to connect directly with my readers. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you will have fans like mine who love my work and leave reviews that take my breath away.

 

My current Work in Progress   Lie to Me: an exposé on sex for money

 

Layla Duncan has an insatiable curiosity about Mexico’s other tourism, men who sell steamy sexual encounters to vacationing women. She infiltrates the organized underworld of male prostitution, interviews several men and writes an exposé of their lives. The lines between Layla’s personal life and professional assignment quickly become blurred, and she finds herself questioning her value system in an exciting yet disturbing way.