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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Author's Tip: To-get-you started and keep-you-writing ideas by Joanna Aislinn

We’re talking craft and taking the time to go over a few tips! (Not looking to re-invent the wheel, just some basic, sure-to-get-you started and keep-you-writing ideas.)

Write what you know (rarely fallible, especially if you’re willing to tweak as needed :)

Get anything down on (virtual) paper: that’s exactly what first draft is for! Whatever doesn’t sound good can be fixed during revision/rewriting or (eek!) deleted if absolutely necessary. (Even what you delete can go into a ‘cuts’ file so you can revisit, maybe even use it later!)

Create a ‘scratch pad’ file. Use it to jot down ideas, dialogue, snippets of scenes that are just starting to formulate in your head. Review them periodically. Even chapters later, you’ll be able to go back for a detail; you can even check them off as you use them. (An alternate idea is to insert comments in the text as you go—under Insert, on your word-processing application’s toolbar—which you’ll see as you revise/rewrite your wip.) Or go formal: outline key points of your story.

Connect and network with other writers—they are out there. Find them in person (via a local writers’ group; some chain bookstores house a monthly group) or online (i.e., online critique groups, special interest writers’ loops, etc). You can use my links page as a springboard: and you don’t have to live in a given vicinity to join!

Visit your favorite authors’ websites and blogs. Writers love to share about craft! You’ll find tips, tutorials and/or workshops at many of them, or links to some of their preferred sites.

Set time aside to write. I love getting up early (and/or staying up late), grabbing a cup of coffee and spending anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours—depending on the day—working on my wip. That’s usually when the rest of my family is asleep and I can work with few/if any distractions.

Believe in your story and that you can do this. Write, revise, rewrite and persevere! Visualize what your cover may look like, what the blurb on the back will say. Picture yourself standing at your monthly writers’ meeting and announcing your wonderful news that you’ve been offered (or, even better, awarded) that first contract! Then go back and write some more!


  1. What an informative post. As a pre-published author it's nice to hear that attention to detail, community and perserverance pay off.

    The additional comment about visualizing "the dream" really sang to me. Thank you Suzanna at The Romance Alley for inviting Joanna to share her helpful hints!

  2. You are welcome Vikki! Joanna is a wonderful author.

  3. Thanks, Vikki and Suzannah! You both continue to inspire me!

  4. Congratulations on the publication of your novel. All the best.