Tag Archives: writing tips

Why Chocolate Is Good For You AND Your Writing

This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

Books and chocolate

No really, chocolate is good for you. Dark chocolate can even help you lose weight!

But as with all good things, for the above to be true, chocolate should be eaten in small quantities. That means those small quantities had better be good.

The same can be said about writing.

A lot of excess words can help bulk out word count and make you feel good about your output. But it can also make your manuscript overweight, unwieldy and a hard slog for readers to get through.

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”-Stephen King, On Writing

Scenes, paragraphs, and sentences should be pared down and always be working to move the story forward in a flowing, logical manner. A good way for testing this with a piece of writing is to read it aloud. If it flows well while speaking it, then it should flow well while reading it.

I am not going to say that I am the perfect writer that does everything correctly, and never use too many words to get my point across. In fact I am the opposite (as can be seen from this post). I love words and like to use as many of them as possible wherever I can. But as with eating too much chocolate, I know that in the long run too many words will be a bad thing for the story (and this article).

“Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”-Stephen King, On Writing

Now, I am not going to tell you how to write like this, just as I am not going to tell you what chocolate to eat. That is up to each individual to decide. Everyone has their particular brand of chocolate, and everyone has their own particular writing style.

Ultimately it is up to you to decide what stays, what goes, and what chocolate to eat.

Happy chocolate munching!

-H.M. Clarke

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The Hardest Part Of Writing Is… Writing.


This article was originally published on Bookmarketingtools.com

Steve Coogan in Hamlet 2
Steve Coognan in “Hamlet 2”

I absolutely, positively, hate writing the last page and paragraph of a manuscript.

For me, ending a story is the hardest thing for me to do.

For others, just sitting down to put pen to paper and actually write is the hardest thing. Either from telling themselves that they just don’t have the time or from a fear of what others will think and say about their efforts.

Now I will admit that I did suffer from the second reason. But through age and sheer Australian ‘pig headedness’, I am now no longer scared about bad opinions of my work. If it is constructive criticism, I can use it to improve my writing. And if it is just meanness for meanness sake? I just put it aside and let the bad karma fairy sort them out later.

The main thing is, if you want to write, then write. It doesn’t matter if it is a recipe, biography, journaling your repressed feelings about the kid who picked on you at school, or writing the epic story that has been sitting inside your head for years. The thing that matters most is that you are WRITING. Every time you put anything down on paper (or on a keyboard or your phone), is taking you that one step closer to completing whatever writing goal you had set out to do.

Also, making a point to write something every day will help to form the ‘habit’ of writing. Just like making yourself jog everyday gets you into the ‘habit’ of exercising.

Even if you can only snatch ten minutes in a day to write, that will get you ten minutes closer to finishing your project than you would have been the day before.

Then after all of this writing, you get to the ‘Tale End’ of the story. The Finishing! I find this the hardest part of writing for the following reason.

You’ve just finished writing the epic scene where all your important story threads for the book get tied up nicely in a neat packaged, exciting finale… Then you have to write the section where you see how this dramatic scene has affected your characters in a neat and tidy wrap up.

Every time I write one it feels like a bit of a letdown. But it is needed to give your readers a chance to come down from your exciting finale and to see what ‘settled’ life is like for your characters.

So, all of my above ramblings now begs the question.

Writers, what part of writing is the hardest for you?

Share your thoughts with me in the Comments. I would love to know what people think.

-H.M. Clarke

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