“Happy Fiftieth Birthday Karen Lin!” Tribute: Fifty Nifty Tips On Writing and the Writing Life Collected From Our Beloved Inkpot Over Twenty Years
The Second Ten Tips On Writing and the Writing Life From Karen Lin
11. Don’t remove the power from your words or ideas with modifiers such as “a bit” or “a little.” Just say it, without minimizing, for clarity and effortless reading.
12. Avoid using the word “looked,” but don’t go overboard with overly elaborate synonyms.
13. When you comment on a friend’s manuscript, make big smiley faces every time you like something. Then they’re less likely to bang their heads against the wall when you need to make a constructive criticism.
14. If at first you write a novel and it doesn’t get published, write, write, write again.
15. Never, ever stop submitting for publication: the only way you can be sure to fail is if you stop trying to get published. Keep a notebook of submissions and responses.
16. Avoid “was.” Whenever you see it in your writing, use it as a warning and be on the lookout for passive or otherwise dead prose.
17. When you merge scenes or drafts written at different times, read for and correct any distracting style changes.
18. Avoid the construction, “will be arriving [or any other verb].” It clutters and complicates.
19. If you ever write by hand, use yellow legal pads. Yellow stimulates creativity.
20. Then, when you type in your “shirty first draft” (a phrase modified by a Sister of the Quill from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones) from the yellow pad, your draft gets an automatic first edit.