Write well. Write often. Edit wisely.
Don’t apologize for your characters or try to hide or downplay the kind of people they are. Write characters and story events without hesitation.
Many writers have a “something other” that makes their writing style and their stories stand out. Explore your own something other and learn to play it up to create memorable fiction.
Help your readers by learning the rules. Sometimes even big publishers don’t edit as they should—therefore you’ve got to do it yourself. Bad grammar and punctuation can turn away even the most determined reader.
Links to useful articles on grammar, punctuation, and writing fiction, especially helpful for students and educators beginning a new school year.
Entertain the reader by telling a good story. Make readers want to read what you write.
When you’re in a position to tell writers that a story needs more work before it’s published, tell them. Don’t let writers strut proudly around thinking they’ve mastered storytelling techniques, the fiction elements, and grammar if they haven’t. Share your knowledge.
Any word or line of text in a fiction manuscript can be changed. There are no golden sentences or sacred utterings that should stand unchallenged as you rewrite and edit. Writers should expect that the first draft will need extensive changes.
It’s not a waste of time to finish a first novel, to practice your writing skills with that first novel manuscript, even if it will never be published. But know that the first novel will not be a masterpiece.
Readers don’t have to write books to know a lot about them—and writers would do well to respect the reader’s knowledge and expectations.
There’s a lot of conflicting advice that tells writers to never use words that end in -ing or to not use -ing words under certain conditions. Explore both the advice and the rationale behind it.