What did I miss? 4 quick tips to improve your stories

What is lacking in my story? – The more you write, the more you’ll be asking yourself this question, and if you aren’t careful, it probably means that you’re not getting any improvement.

It’s really important for any professional try getting better at what it is they do, to improve themselves and the quality of their work. As a writer, you sometimes need to stop and really try to analyze your work and find some points where definitely have room to improvement.

Sure, this is not an easy task, but I can give you some tips that might help you through it.

1. Read your favorite authors.

Read your favorite books and authors again, and again, and try to find out what made those works some of your favorite. What made you want to read it in first place? What kept you reading that particular piece? What’s your favorite part? Why? Why does that story seem so good, at least for the reader, and maybe even the author in you?

It’s important for you to understand what makes a good first chapter, a good conflict and how the ideas they consist of, were organized. Is that something that would work for you? The style, the rhythm… the more information you have, the more you can improve your own work.

2. Organize and plan.

Yes, you are probably thinking that what you really like to do is write. Just sit and start writing… and that’s important, but often enough, a good story needs a bit of planning.

You need to organize your ideas and there are plenty of options to do it. Use them. Try different mixes of organization and work methods until you decide which ones are the best for you.

Organize your ideas, plan what will happen, when, how… Are you writing a mystery novel? Do you want the readers to have some hints that might make them curious? Every single detail is important and the more carefully planned it is, the better prepared you’ll be when you really do start writing.

3. Read it out loud.

Sometimes, what seems to work really well inside your head, turns out to be a bad idea on paper, and the best way to see if that is the case is to listen what is written. You’ll be easily aware of the narrative rhythm, the structure of the sentences, the way ideas are connected…

It can be a great experience and very insightful to ask someone else to read it out loud for you.

4. Focus on main character.

The main character is fundamental in any story. You must take some time to analyze it and improve it wherever or whenever possible. It should be remarkable and deep, good and evil at different times, and ideally, you want your readers to be able to identify with the character regarding several situations or experiences.

The main character should be an intense and active person, that either has something to win or lose. It should be someone your readers would actively care about, so they will read the story until the end in order to find out what happens to this character.

But be careful with the enthusiastic descriptions… There are other ways to show how your character looks like, the kind of person he or she is and the things they like, without describing them exhaustively. You can show or shine a light on all of these things through your character’s words and actions, the way in which he or she reacts to some situations, and how he or she talks to or approaches people…

This is a subtle way of giving people some knowledge about your character and, believe me, it is highly effective and way more powerful and interesting method of doing so.

Do you want success? You alone are not enough

Writing is considering a pretty solitary job, but if you want to be successful you might have to re-think that notion.

When you want to pick some of your ideas to create a story around, you may get disappointed, because sometimes, these only truly make inside your own head, in accordance with your personal stories and experiences. So, could these ideas survive the transition to paper?

Often times they won’t. Yet, it’s hard for you to definitively say that’ll be the case, at least before countless hours of hard work, because you won’t be able to remain impartial on the matter. It could take at least several months of work until you realize the story isn’t as viable as you had though. You definitely want to try to avoid this.

So before you jump into some terrific story you might have in mind, share it with a few people, see how they react and try to make it sound more appealing. Try to sell it! Talking with other writers can be an amazing growth experience, as for once, you will feel understood!

Quiet and solitude are good when you’re working, but you need to be connected with the world. Share your experiences, talk with other writers, they currently have, or have had in the past, the same problems that you do, and sometimes they can help you cope, deal with it or even get over some particular hurdles and obstacles.

Use social media, create your own group if you’d prefer, promote meetings and events, be active and see your community grow. Believe me, this will make you feel good and have something to fall back on when things aren’t so great.

You are your worst enemy: 6 tips to avoid spoiling your own work

Being a writer isn’t easy, being a good writer even more so and the blame is usually mostly on yourself. Yes, you. You try so hard, that you forget to enjoy the journey and appreciate your own work often enough.

1.  Criticizing
You don’t need to write a master piece in one single draft, when you’re creating something new, you need to write down everything that comes into your mind. Forget about the quality of said content as that will come later, with reviewing and improvement, time and persistence.
Is there a little voice in the back of your mind, criticizing you all the time? Shut it down. Sometimes you just need to let your creativity flow.

2.  Perfectionism
Let’s talk about that perfectionist vein of yours… You claim that you like things well done and being perfectionist is an important part of putting out work of great quality, but… Let’s face it: most of the time, it’s just a way for you to procrastinate! Of course, a little perfectionism is a good thing but, enough is enough, and if it affects your productivity, you’re heading the wrong way.

3.  Concentration
I don’t need to explain this one, do I? Forget about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… Focus on what you’re doing and let people know that you are writing, either before you start or after you’ve finished it. Turn off your cell phone and tablet and avoid other people while you’re working. Believe me, you can do it and will most certainly be better off for it.

4.  Comparisons
So what if your story isn’t as good as the stories from your favorite author? Stop comparing your work with his or hers and worry about writing to the best of your ability. Keep writing, coming up with and putting to paper plenty of stories, to keep improving on the quality of your work, step by step.

5. Re-reading
Please, first finish writing that one scene you were thinking about and in the end, read it over again and correct whatever you want, OK? When you’re writing, you’re using a part of your brain and if you stop it in order to start reading and polishing your last few lines of text, you’ll be using another one… So it’s like trying to listen to two radio stations at the same time on the same piece of equipment… just don’t. Write down everything you want to write for the day, let your ideas flow freely, and after that, you can read it over and improve upon it.

6.  It’s not the end of the world!
You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize nominee for just about every single piece of your work. Free yourself from such stress and just write! Simply, calmly… You will get better, you know? If this one doesn’t end up as you had imagined you can always write another one. There’s always tomorrow!