Writing tips from J.K Rowling 




1. WRITE IN WHATEVER TIME YOU HAVE


One of J.K. Rowling’s most famous quotes is: “Sometimes you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there.” This is crucial advice on writing a book. It’s easy for us to imagine successful writers spending all day penning beautiful paragraphs, but everybody had to start somewhere. For Rowling, that somewhere included full-time work and finding stolen pockets of time to write. Much as it might be a dream to take six months out to write your book, odds are you’re going to have to fit it into your everyday life.

2. PLANNING IS ESSENTIAL

Instead of diving right into line 1, J.K. Rowling advises taking the time to plan out the world your books will live in. She took five years to create and develop every last detail of the Harry Potter world. Every part of Rowling’s books was planned and work out, right down to how the Wizards and Muggles interacted (and the word Muggles, to begin with!) what the education was like, how magic helped in every day life and how the wizarding world of government worked. She also plotted out all the events of the seven books before she started writing the first.

3. REWRITING IS JUST AS ESSENTIAL

You would think after five years, J.K. Rowling would just be able to dive right in and write the whole of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, without much rewriting. She rewrote the opening chapter of her first book a total of fifteen times, however. It’s easy to imagine published authors writing with the greatest of ease, but actually the process is just as difficult for them.

4. BE AWARE OF PLOT AND PACING

Even when you’ve plotted out all seven of the books you want to write in a series, you can trip yourself up. In fact, that’s one of the big things to be aware of when you’ve done the necessary planning: even though you know what’s going to happen next, your readers shouldn’t. They need to have a sense of excitement and uncertainty as the plot and pacing unfolds because this is where magic lies. After J.K. Rowling finished the first book in the Harry Potter series, she realised she’d given away the whole plot of the series. So she had to rewrite it, and hold back a number of integral plot points.

5. WRITE YOUR PASSION


Perhaps my favourite J.K. Rowling quote is: “What you write becomes who you are… So make sure you love what you write!” One of the reasons the Harry Potter books are so infectious is because you can tell she really loves the world she created – and all the characters in them. If you’re going to approach your book in a half-hearted manner, there’s no point even beginning it. Make sure you’re passionate about what you write and you’ll draw your readers along with you.

http://www.nownovel.com

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“End Of Watch” by Stephen King


Description

In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room. 

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney—the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city. 

Tips for writing “flashbacks”













Tip 1: make it clear the character is going back in time.


Give the character a trigger – he sees an object, smells a scent, or experiences an action.

For stories written in past tense, use past perfect tense a few times when entering the flashback. Once in, switch to past tense until near the end of the flashback, then switch to past perfect a few times. After leaving the flashback, return to past tense. (Limits cumbersome past perfect.)

For stories written in present tense, use the simple past in the flashback.




Tip 2: Write the flashback so it:

*Serves a purpose – shows what shaped characters into who they are now or shows past story world.
*Engages the reader.

*Is limited to key moments.

Tip 3: Write ending sentences that transition the reader and character from the flashback.


*Use another trigger – abrupt or easing.

*Change verb tense as mentioned above.



Tip 4: After the flashback, the reader must see the character or story world in a new light as they read forward in the present.




General:

1.Don’t use flashbacks as a cop-out to avoid writing difficult present story.

2.Don’t include more than one or two flashbacks.

3.Let go of a merely interesting flashback from a character’s biography.

4.Use flashbacks only after the reader’s engaged in the story and knows the character (after several scenes).

5.Make sure a flashback advances the main story.

6.Make sure a flashback scene, like a main-story scene, has goals, motivations, and resolutions.

7.Give long flashbacks their own chapter or scene.

8.Hold back flashbacks until the reader must know the information – keep the suspense going.

9.Have flashbacks follow exciting scenes so the reader will want to return to the main story.


http://zoemmccarthy.com/writing/flashbacks-when-theyre-not-appropriate-and-tips-for-when-they-are

When to change paragraph in fiction 

For fiction, you’ll construct your paragraphs for setups, punches, and other desired effects. For example, the one-word paragraph.

THE RULE: Always start a new paragraph when you switch speakers in dialog.
GUIDELINES: Start a new paragraph when

1.a new character reacts or does something,

2.a new character thinks something,

3.a new idea enters,

4.a new event happens,

5.a new setting occurs,

6.the reader needs a break from a long paragraph,

7.the “camera” moves. Ray Bradbury suggested, as in movies, every time the camera angle changes, start a new paragraph,

 8.a portion of information isn’t closely related to another and needs to be distanced,

9. a change in emphasis or tone is needed in a topic,

10.the time moves forward or backward,

11.a description of one thing ends and something else is described,

12.a special effect is needed to add humor or drama.

Source: http://zoemmccarthy.com/writing/13-guidelines-for-when-to-start-a-new-paragraph-in-your-story?subscribe=opted_out#blog_subscription-2

The Ultimate Checklist for Editing Your Own Book

1. Develop a thick skin.Or at least to pretend to. It’s not easy. But we writers need to listen to our editors—even if that means listening to ourselves!
2. Avoid throat-clearing.

This is a literary term for a story or chapter that finally begins after a page or two of scene setting and background. Get on with it.
3. Choose the normal word over the obtuse.

When you’re tempted to show off your vocabulary or a fancy turn of phrase, think reader-first and keep your content king. Don’t intrude. Get out of the way of your message.
4. Omit needless words.

A rule that follows its own advice. This should be the hallmark of every writer.
5. Avoid subtle redundancies.

“She nodded her head in agreement.” Those last four words could be deleted. What else would she nod but her head? And when she nods, we need not be told she’s in agreement.
“He clapped his hands.” What else would he clap?
“She shrugged her shoulders.” What else?
“He blinked his eyes.” Same question.
“They heard the sound of a train whistle.” The sound of could be deleted.
6. Avoid the words up and down…

…unless they’re really needed. He rigged [up] the device. She sat [down] on the couch.
7. Usually delete the word that.

Use it only for clarity.
8. Give the reader credit.

Once you’ve established something, you don’t need to repeat it.
Example: “They walked through the open door and sat down across from each other in chairs.”
If they walked in and sat, we can assume the door was open, the direction was down, and—unless told otherwise—there were chairs. So you can write: “They walked in and sat across from each other.”
And avoid quotation marks around words used in another context, as if the reader wouldn’t “get it” otherwise. (Notice how subtly insulting that is.)
9. Avoid telling what’s not happening.

“He didn’t respond.”
“She didn’t say anything.”
“The crowded room never got quiet.”
If you don’t say these things happened, we’ll assume they didn’t.
10. Avoid being an adjectival maniac.

Good writing is a thing of strong nouns and verbs, not adjectives. Use them sparingly.
Novelist and editor Sol Stein says one plus one equals one-half (1+1=1/2), meaning the power of your words is diminished by not picking just the better one. “He proved a scrappy, active fighter,” is more powerful if you settle on the stronger of those two adjectives. Less is more. Which would you choose?
11. Avoid hedging verbs…

…like smiled slightly, almost laughed, frowned a bit, etc.
12. Avoid the term literally—when you mean figuratively.

“I literally died when I heard that.” R.I.P.
“My eyes literally fell out of my head.” There’s a story I’d like to read.
“I was literally climbing the walls.” You have a future in horror films.
13. Avoid too much stage direction.

You don’t need to tell every action of every character in each scene, what they’re doing with each hand, etc.
14. Maintain a single Point of View (POV) for every scene.

Failing to do so is one of the most common errors beginning writers make. Amateurs often defend themselves against this criticism by citing classics by famous authors who violated this. Times change. Readers’ tastes change. This is the rule for today, and it’s true of what sells.
15. Avoid clichés.

And not just words and phrases. There are also clichéd situations, like starting your story with the main character waking to an alarm clock; having a character describe herself while looking in a full-length mirror; having future love interests literally bump into each other upon first meeting, etc.
16. Resist the urge to explain (RUE).

Marian was mad. She pounded the table. “George, you’re going to drive me crazy,” she said, angrily.
“You can do it!” George encouraged said.
17. Show, don’t tell.

If Marian pounds the table and chooses those words, we don’t need to be told she’s mad. If George says she can do it, we know he was encouraging.

18. Avoid mannerisms of attribution.

People say things; they don’t wheeze, gasp, sigh, laugh, grunt, snort, reply, retort, exclaim, or declare them.
John dropped onto the couch. “I’m beat.”
Not: John was exhausted. He dropped onto the couch and exclaimed tiredly, “I’m beat.”
“I hate you,” Jill said, narrowing her eyes.
Not: “I hate you,” Jill blurted ferociously.
Sometimes people whisper or shout or mumble, but let your choice of words imply whether they are grumbling, etc. If it’s important that they sigh or laugh, separate the action from the dialogue:
Jim sighed. “I just can’t take any more,” he said. [Usually you can even drop the attribution he said if you have described his action first. We know who’s speaking.]
19. Specifics add the ring of truth.

Yes, even to fiction.
20. Avoid similar character names.

In fact, avoid even the same first initials.
21. Avoid mannerisms of punctuation, typestyles, and sizes.

“He…was…DEAD!” doesn’t make a character any more dramatically expired than “He was dead.”

Source: jerryjenkins.com