by Joan Ramirez (Romance Writers of America November 2017 newsletter)
1. Read out loud–This was told to me by a dear friend when I started writing children’s books. It makes sense because it gives you an insight into the key areas: Character voices, Plot, Tone and Pacing.
2. I know we live in a technical world but creativity can’t be rushed. If you have the ability to edit online, great. I have to sit with a red pen and mark up my paper copy. Again, whatever works for you.
3. The only way to write better is to get a handle on your plot. Outlining, to the depth that fits your plot and comfort level allows you to see the action. I’m visual. I need this to follow my characters in the story regarding goal and motivation.
4. Put the manuscript away. Most of us don’t have the luxury of writing full-time so we have to take our writing moments as they come. The tendency is to get something down and for the sake of our sanity, especially if you’re a weekend writer, get something out. If you’re one hundred percent sure that what you’re composing is polished like a diamond (and diamonds are a girl’s best friend, though with me, it’s my husband), then go for it. In speaking to many established authors, I’ve found this isn’t the case. They put their work away for at least a month before giving it a second go round.
5. To write faster, you need to edit slower. Take the time to do as someone very successful once said to me, “be in error and correct by editing the heck out of your draft.”
There you have it. The rest is up to you.
Joan Ramirez is an elementary school teacher, has published three nonfiction books, and is currently crafting her first in what she hopes will be a historical romantic suspense series.