The Guardian recently printed a series of ten tips on writing each from a multitude of well- known writers. There must be hundreds, ranging from useful to witty to odd, and you should read them all for amusement if nothing else. Lib typed out a few I found useful below.
Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, who would anybody else? Don’t write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time the book’s ready.
If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction.
Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development.
Resolve your themes, mysteries and so-on in the final third, the resolution.
Carrot and stick – have protagonists pursued (by an obsession or a villain) and pursuing (idea, object, person, mystery.)
Once the book is finished in its first draft, I read it aloud to myself. How it sounds is hugely important.
Proceed slowly and take care.
To ensure that you proceed slowly, write by hand.
Write slowly and by hand only about subjects that interest you.
Develop craftsmanship through years of wide reading.
You don’t always have to go so far as to murder your darlings – those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page – but go back and look at them with a very beady eye. Almost always it turns out that they’d be better dead. (Not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect – it’s the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.)
Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space, or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph.
Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue. [Hemingway said it first–SB]
A problem piece of writing often clarifies itself if you go for a long walk.
Never worry about the commercial possibilities of a project.
Editing is everything. Cut until you can cut no more. What is left often springs into life.
Find your best time of day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.