Two Big Writing Tips

I love reading books by writers that I know. Yes, some of them are self-published and some are with small presses and a few with "big" publishers.

When I'm reading for fun, I try to turn off the editing part of my brain and just enjoy the story.

Sometimes though, things just jump out at me. It happens in almost every book I read--but more often in the self-pubbed, small press group.

One thing that can be bothersome to a reader--whether they know anything about writing or not is paragraphs that are far two long. If a paragraph takes up half a page or longer--it should be broken up. Yes, even if the information is related.

White space is good.  It makes the reading easier on the eyes.

And tip number two. I've given this one before, but it's a good reminder.

When someone new does or says something, the writer should start a new paragraph.

Why? It gives that white space I just wrote about, but even more important it helps the reader know who is doing or saying something. Anything you can do to make the reading experience easier is good.

Do I think my writing is perfect? Far from it. I just went over the edits for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and not only did the editor point out a lot of errors, when I was going over it again, I found even more mistakes.

All any writer can do is tell a good story and try to make it as error free as possible.

I hope these two tips will be helpful to someone.


Since yesterday, I've fixed 3 typos--if you see anymore, be sure and comment.
Janet Greger said…
As usual your comments are good.
JL Greger, author of Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight
marja said…
Outstanding tips, Marilyn. And, believe me, I spend half my time fixing typos when I reread a book I'm working on. : )
Marja McGraw
Michelle Perin said…
One of my big things as a reader (and that I try to follow as a writer) is to make details match. I just finished a book where a character was wearing a University of Arizona Wildcat sweatshirt. She graduated from Arizona State University, the Sun Devils.
Very good points, Marilyn, and I totally agree. I have found that once you are a writer, it's difficult to turn that editing tendency off when reading books by your colleagues. Well, maybe not so much their actual finished books, but manuscripts or ARCs.
Anne R. Allen said…
Great post, Marilyn. You're so right. One of the most successful writers in the US today is James Patterson. Personally his stuff is too gory for me, but he's a master of white space. Go look at one of his books in a bookstore sometime. Short paragraphs are especially important for e-readers, where a block of text can seem even more daunting.

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