Writers Write shares writing tips and resources. In this post, we share five really useful writing tips from Laini Taylor.
Laini Taylor, born 22 December 1971, is an American author of young-adult fantasy fiction. She is best known for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, which began with Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Her latest novels are Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares.
On her website, she describes herself like this: ‘I am a writer-artist-daydreamer-nerd-person, and simultaneously a mom-wife-sister-daughter-person. I can do a lot of things at once, like for example: I can sleep and dream and also lie very still, all while also breathing and ever-so-slowly growing ten distinct toenails.’
In Publisher’s Weekly, she shares her five tips for writers.
She says: ‘I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small child, but I was thirty-five before I finished my first novel, because I have issues with perfectionism. It took me a long time to learn to finish what I start, and I’ve developed a lot of tools and tricks for keeping myself moving forward…’
5 Really Useful Writing Tips from Laini Taylor
- Know what you love. Try imagining the book that would light your heart and mind on fire if you came across it in a bookstore—the one that would quicken your pulse and keep you up all night reading. What would it be? Details, details: when, where, what, who? Think it up, imagine it fully, then bring it forth. That’s the book you should be writing.
- Never sit staring at a blank page or screen. If you find yourself stuck, write. Write about the scene you’re trying to write. Writing about is easier than writing, and chances are, it will give you your way in. You could try listing ten things that might happen next, or do a timed freewrite—fast, non-precious forward momentum; you don’t even have to read it afterward, but it might give you ideas. Try anything and everything. Never fall still, and don’t be lazy.
- Eliminate distractions. Eliminate internet access. Find/create a place and time where you won’t be bothered. Noise-cancelling headphones are great. Hotel-writing-sprees are even better if you can make that happen every once and a while: total dedicated writing time. During my second draft pass on my last book I made 20,000 words happen in a week, which is practically supernatural for me, and it would never have been possible without three nights in a hotel in my own city. It’s an incredible splurge, and a huge liberation, and you might just deserve it!
- Get your characters talking. Dialogue is the place that books are most alive and forge the most direct connection with readers. It is also where we as writers discover our characters and allow them to become real. Get them talking. Don’t be precious. Write dialogues. Cultivate the attitude that every word you write need not end up in the book. Some things are just exercises, part of the process of discovery. Be willing to do more work than will show. The end result is all that matters. Be huge and generous and fearless.
- Be an unstoppable force. Write with an imaginary machete strapped to your thigh. This is not wishy-washy, polite, drinking-tea-with-your-pinkie-sticking-out stuff. It’s who you want to be, your most powerful self. Write your books. Finish them, then make them better. Find the way. No one will make this dream come true for you but you.
Suggested reading: HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL by Laini Taylor
Top Tip: Learn how to write fantasy. Buy The Fantasy Workbook
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TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.