Friday, November 21, 2014

Writing tips I have learned till now

This week I had no time to even think of what I would blog about as I had another school visit today (it was awesome) and had to critique a book and review 5 books for the newspaper. I will share the details about my visit to D.P.S (Delhi Public School) in one of my future posts.

Writers across the spectrum share their tips on how to become a better writer. From writing the first draft to revising and editing tips. Every tip is designed to make us better writers. All my blog buddies are brilliant writers, so I don't need to remind them of anything. I am just sharing my thoughts.

1. First drafts should be just the writer and the story. Nothing else should matter. Just get the story out should be every writer’s motto.

2. The main character should be given a few flaws. Readers will identify better with imperfect characters as it reminds them of their own shortcomings.

3. The supporting characters should be strong, preferably with a sub-plot, goals and their own lessons they have to learn in the course of the story.

4. The antagonist needs to be a strong, literally the bad half of the protagonist, its evil twin. Weak protagonists will send out weak vibes which neither build stakes nor increase conflict and tension.

5. There should be atleast two confrontations between the protagonist and the antagonist before the final confrontation happens. This will keep the readers glued to the pages.

6. Don’t just end each chapter on a cliffhanger, introduce a new complication in each chapter. This will keep the interest high throughout the book.

7. Keep reminding the readers of the stakes which are increasing chapter by chapter. Let the readers get a sense of urgency that the protagonist is feeling.

8. Learn the fine art of secrets. Keep some secrets from the protagonist, a few from the antagonist and some from the readers. Not all of them should know everything.

9. Reveal backstory little by little. Avoid info dumping. At each point in the story, only the backstory that will help that scene should be highlighted (I learnt this lesson a little late, my earlier books were info dumps).

10. Pay attention to the descriptions. Animate the scenes with lively descriptions which make the scene come alive in a reader’s mind. Remember to use all the five senses while describing scenes.

11. Concentrate on building that crucial voice: seeing things in a way that readers remember long after they have finished reading the book.

12. Work on settings so that it becomes a character by itself.

13. Don’t ever forget the power of a strong outline. Get the beginning, middle and end very clear in your mind. Be a panster while writing the individual scenes, but plot out the big story.

14. Work on getting the dialogues right. Listen to how people talk, the way they ask questions, the way they answer, the accents they have. Use all this info in your dialogue writing.

15. Never forget the rule of writing daily. If you start ignoring your writing/story, then the story starts playing truant. Even something as less as 500 words a day will help you get to the end of the story fast.

Any writing lesson you all want to add? Feel free to add them in the comments. In one of my next posts I will compile all the lessons into one blog post.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog buddies!


  1. That's a great list! And I have several confrontations between the protagonist and antagonist in my upcoming book. I'm proud of that because it's the first time I've really created an antagonist.

  2. Great tips, Rachna! I love #13 best.

  3. Excellent pointers. Keep learning is my tip, there are some wonderful books on writing fiction out there. In no. 14, it should be right, instead of write?

    Destination Infinity

  4. I have found it's true to at least write a little daily (except on holidays and such) just to keep my mind in the story. Even if it's one paragraph, it helps.

  5. It's always good to be reminded of these tips. And it sounds like you are so busy in the best way possible.

  6. Wow, you came up with a lot of really good insights into what to aim for, what to do, and what not to do. I guess my only advice is that if the words aren't flowing and something feels wrong, it's better to take a break, ponder, and do some research. There's no sense going down the wrong path and writing thousands of words you'll just have to delete later.

  7. "Don’t just end each chapter on a cliffhanger, introduce a new complication in each chapter. This will keep the interest high throughout the book."
    And the bit about keeping secrets and a strong antagonist. This is a gem of a post for budding writers.

  8. These tips are solid writing gold. Completely in agreement with your rundown here. :)

  9. Sounds like you have been busy! :)

    What a fantastic list. Very good tips!

    Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving too.

  10. They're all good tips, but I'd qualify 15 to say write nearly every day, but give yourself a break from it now and then. If we don't feel like writing, we're probably not going to come up with anything good.

  11. It's always a learning experience when I go through your posts. Thanks Rachna!