10 tips for becoming a better writer
- Go to conferences. Shaw Guides to Writing Conferences and Workshops offers a comprehensive list of conferences where you can hone your craft, meet readers and/or pitch to agents
- Take online courses. Check out Writers Digest and Orson Scott Card’s Hatrack River forum. Both sites have some free lessons, as well as paid: WD OSC
- Get a copy of THE EMOTION THESAURUS: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. It helps you add nonverbal cues to better describe your characters’ emotional state.
- Join a writers’ organization or two. Many genres have local chapters, such as Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and Mystery Writers of America. Do an online search for writers’ organizations for your city or state, too. For instance, the St. Louis Writers Guild (a chapter of the Missouri Writers’ Guild) offers monthly workshops and open mic nights, as well as a free conference in the summer.
- Get critique partners and Beta readers. Ask about critique groups at writers’ organizations, in person or online. Good critique partners can inspire you to keep writing and help you polish your work to professional levels. When your book is finished, find readers in your genre to give you honest feedback about what they like and dislike.
- Listen to criticism if you hear the same thing more than once. Try to learn something from negative comments, but never respond online to bad reviews.
- Enter contests. Writers Digest offers a wide variety of contests for many types of writing—from poetry, to genre writing, to nonfiction. If you write speculative fiction, check out the Writers of the Future quarterly competition. Some contests will provide feedback on your writing. Preditors & Editors and Writer Beware are two of the watchdog sites that monitor contests for scams.
- Finish the first draft before you do heavy editing. Leave yourself notes about changes along the way. It’s tempting to perfect every word before moving on, but often this keeps writers from finishing the work.
- Let your book rest after you write it. You need “fresh eyes” to spot mistakes in your own writing, and even then you’re likely to miss a few. To give you a different perspective, pretend it was written by someone else. Read your book aloud. This will help you catch even more errors or find places where your writing simply needs more polish. Grammarly—an online grammar checker–offers some free services and some paid.
- Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. If you delete everything you think is bad, you’ll rob yourself of that surprising moment when you look back and say, “That wasn’t so bad after all.”
Title: The Labyrinth of Time
Author: T.W. Fendley
Publisher: Silent Partner Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Can Jade restore the Firestone’s powers before the First Men return to judge humanity?
Spending spring break in Peru with her grandmother isn’t sixteen-year-old Jade’s idea of fun. She’d much rather be with her friends at Lake of the Ozarks. Then she meets Felix, a museum director’s son. Jade discovers only she and Felix can telepathically access messages left on engraved stones in the age of dinosaurs.
Following the ancient stones’ guidance, they enter the Labyrinth of Time and–with a shapeshifting dog’s help–seek a red crystal called the Firestone. But time is running out before the First Men return on the night of the second blue moon.
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T.W. Fendley is an award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults. She began writing fiction full-time in 2007 after working twenty-five years in journalism and corporate communications. In October 2011, L&L Dreamspell LLC published her debut historical fantasy novel for adults, Zero Time.
She fell in love with ancient American cultures while researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Since then, she’s trekked to archeological sites in the Yucatan, Peru and American Southwest. When she’s not writing, T.W. explores the boundaries of consciousness through remote viewing and shamanism. She currently lives near St. Louis with her artist husband and his pet fish.
Her latest book is the young adult fantasy, The Labyrinth of Time.
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T.W. is giving away two $25 Amazon Gift Card!
- By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
- This giveaway begins November 17 and ends on December 12.
- Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 15.
- Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!