9 Writing Tips from Author Pamela S. Thibodeaux

My guest today is Pamela S. Thibodeaux. She will share her writing advice with us. More about her new book, Love in Season, follows her post.

Pam’s Tips

1. Read. Read extensively in your genre and out. Take note of phrases and descriptions that capture your imagination or make your heart sing and mind race. I’ve yet to meet a writer who isn’t an avid reader!

2. Write. Doesn’t matter if it’s daily, weekly, or 2-3 days a month, just make time to write consistently. Don’t worry if it’s drivel to begin with just write. Whether you’re at a desk, the kitchen table, the library, or a coffee shop, get in the habit of sitting in your writing space and putting words on paper (or computer, notebook, or iPad). Forget the rules and write the book you want to read! You can always check for publisher guidelines and edit/revise your project to fit, but those first drafts can be whatever you want them to be!

image by Pettycon

3. Edit. Most projects need a minimum of 3 edits. Initial where you check for plot holes and pacing. Second pass where you layer in descriptions, the five senses, etc. Third round where you check for grammar, punctuation, etc. Make sure you take at least two weeks to a month between edits! If you don’t, chances are you’ll miss mistakes that could cost you a contract or precious time in edits after the contract. While you’re letting this project cool, start another! Keep several projects in the works at all times so you don’t worry this one to death.

4. Query/Submit. At some point you’ve got to turn that baby loose. Even if your initial submission is to a critique partner or group, don’t let fear stop you from getting the feedback necessary to help you grow as a writer and produce the best work you can. Again, keep writing while you wait to hear back from your submission.

5. Revise, Re-submit, Resell. This applies mostly to articles and essays but sometimes you can even revise/rewrite a story and sell it elsewhere. Make sure you abide by any current or previous contract limitations. If someone doesn’t normally take reprints, be sure to let them know the extent of changes you’ve made that add a whole new twist to the version you’re querying about or submitting to them.

6. Promote. Okay you’ve sold a book or two or a dozen articles. There’ll be no (or very few) sales, reviews, or new opportunities, if you don’t let people know! Set up a website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon Author Page. Spend a few hours a week building your fan base and readership. When you do a book signing or speaking engagement, ask for the name and address (email too) of everyone who buys a book! This is your readership. Ask to add them to your mailing/newsletter list. Don’t bombard them but keep in touch on a regular basis, whether that is monthly, quarterly or even annually.

7. Keep good records. Writing is a business and even unpublished authors can claim business expenses such as office supplies, ink, business cards, etc. Check with a CPA or tax preparer and don’t miss out on these valuable deductions, especially when you begin to make money!

8. Take Care of Yourself. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball or hand grenade and we have a hard time focusing on writing. Don’t worry about your career at this point. Take the time you need to recover and/or regroup and start over. Real writers never quit. We may take an extended leave of absence but at some point, we always return to our passion.

9. Don’t Quit! Writing is a gift and a talent given to you by God. Don’t hide your gift or bury your talent.

What is your biggest challenge in writing?

PBG print ~ PBG ebook ~ Kindle

Anytime is the perfect time for love. 

In this anthology, author Pamela S Thibodeaux brings together eight of her most beloved romance stories—one for each season plus four holidays that revolve around love and family. 

Includes two brand new stories!

I’ve always admired the covers Pelican Book Group creates for their titles and when I first received the cover for Love in Season, I thought – how sweet, but a closer look revealed a whole lot more than a couple on a bench in front of a lovely tree. 

If you took a passing glance, look again….

What do you see?

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all depicted within the leaves and branches of this tree!

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!”™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com   

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor/

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1268453.Pamela_S_Thibodeaux

Greatly Improve Your Manuscript by Reducing One Word

Of is a preposition, and although not an inherently evil word, overusing it can make your writing sound passive and fussy.— Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl)

image by seadog
image by seadog

In a recent post, I promoted the word processor Find feature to eliminate weak words and phrases. On my own manuscript, I discovered reducing one particular word greatly improved my novel in three ways:

  1. Eliminated wordiness
  2. Created smoother reading
  3. Alerted me to other problems

image by meineresterampe
image by meineresterampe

The word is the preposition of. This preposition usually totes unnecessary words wherever it surfaces.

Before I reduced of-use, my manuscript hosted 1.3 occurrences in every 100 words.

After reducing the preposition, every 100 words contained only .4 incidences.

And the exercise tightened and reduced my word count by 2.4%.

Examples

 

These 21 examples show the of-usage types I encountered and how I rewrote the phrases.

Amount and Number

 

id-10055268.jpg1.  Wordy: cleaned every trace of dirt from the ball.

Rewrite: She scrubbed the ball.

2.  Wordy: stared at the ball for a couple of beats

Rewrite: stared at the ball for a moment…

3.  Wordy: I have a couple of clients in…

Rewrite: I have clients in…

4.  Wordy: From all of Margie’s comments

Rewrite: From Margie’s comments…

5.  Wordy: done in plenty of time to…

Rewrite: done in time to…

 

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6.  Wordy: A lot of gossip about the female caddy was…  

Rewrite: Gossip about the female caddy was…

7.  Wordy: Shoo’s percent of the winnings would buy…    

Rewrite: Shoo could afford…        

 

8.  Wordy: Wouldn’t Shoo choose one of the less expensive restaurants…?  

Rewrite: Wouldn’t Shoo choose a less expensive restaurant…?

Directional

 

9.  Wordy: The ball spun out two feet past the other side of the cup.

Rewrite: The ball spun out two feet past the cup.

image by johnhain
image by johnhain

10. Wordy: Shame started at the top of her pea brain and flowed to…

Rewrite: Shame flowed from her pea brain to…  

11. Wordy: Margie nodded in the direction of the driving range.

Rewrite: Margie nodded toward the driving range.

 12. Wordy: itched to trace the smile lines on either side of his mouth.

Rewrite: itched to trace the smile lines framing his mouth.

13. Wordy: stared at him from the other side of the table.  

Rewrite: stared at him from across the table.

Of The

 

14. Wordy: They read sections of the newspaper

Rewrite: They read newspaper sections…

15. Wordy: curb their male talk in the presence of the little lady?

Rewrite: curb their male talk in the little lady’s presence?

16. Wordy: Light emitted from the window of the weight room.

Rewrite: Light emitted from the weight-room window.

image by HebiFot
image by HebiFot

17. Wordy: The burn of the carbonation refreshed the dryness of his throat.

Rewrite: The carbonation burn refreshed his dry throat.

 

 

Other Problems

 

18.  Wordy: for the teens of the world’s sake.

Rewrite: for teens worldwide.

19.  Wordy: After Allie’s show of little faith in his integrity…

Rewrite: After Allie had dissed his integrity…

20.  Wordy: suggested a few adjustments to the angle of his torso on his follow through.  

     Rewrite: suggested an adjustment to his upper-body position on his follow through.

21.  Wordy: His smile’s charm fell short of Shoo’s.  

     Rewrite: His smile lacked Shoo’s charm.

Reduce this little preposition and greatly improve your manuscript. Click to tweet.

What’s the first unnecessary of occurrence in your manuscript?