Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Writing Wisdom

The following wisdom comes from Claudia Del Balso. Her longer piece focused on how to win a writing contest. I abridged and edited her piece to twenty-one points. For Claudia's broader vision visit her at http://claudiadelbalso.blogspot.com/
  1. Choose a good title—catchy, meaningful, appropriate in tone
  2. Choose good names for your characters—I'm told my Uiaiah doesn't work
  3. Active voice activates your prose
  4. Write what you know, or do your research—don't insult your reader
  5. Be anal with your transitions—too many, and weak transitions, kills a good story
  6. Don't confuse secondary stories with sub-plots—one story
  7. Let the character and action carry your story
  8. Use a consistent tone for the POV
  9. Apply the highest level of conflict appropriate for the story
  10. Unnecessary characters muddle your story
  11. A story requires a BME—beginning, middle, end
  12. Experts insist the story must change the protagonist—eh, I don't know
  13. Write—decant—edit—repeat
  14. Weak prose (errors) resonates when read out loud during edit
  15. Remove everything that doesn't move the story forward
  16. Two-bit words ease readability; dollar words do not
  17. Show your action; don't explain or describe
  18. Over-description (especially ADJs, and ADVs) muddles and interrupts
  19. Tastes change; "They use to write this way"—doesn't mean it will sell
  20. Disconnected pronouns pull your reader out of your story
  21. Concentrate on smooth prose; readability your highest consideration
Write Every Day!




  1. I learned from Gentleman Broncos that adding anus on the end of character names makes them magical. I'm sure you'd win a contest with that advice. Example: the name Angelica is really boring, but Anglianus--that has style.:) All of this is great advice, unless you're trying to win a contest in Glimmer Train, and then voice is everything. But still, edit, edit, edit. . .

  2. Hmmm, where have I seen this before, Mac? LOL! You're a sweetheart for giving me credit, but let me be fair here. My two mentors deserve the credit because they taught me everything I know about writing (and I'm still learning!). I came up with this list after one of my workshops and all the notes I took in one of my classes with my second mentor. ;)
    I feel flattered and honored though. Thanks!

  3. Oh my gosh, I do LOVE lists, and this one is great! I love your blog. :)