10 Writing Tips from NYT Bestseller Alessandra Torre
1. Don't drown your readers in descriptions. Sure, give them a few sentences to set scenes, or to make them feel like they're there. But no one cares what every person in the book is wearing every day. Or what every room of the heroine's home looks like.
2. Read dialogue aloud as you write it. Does it sound awkward? Pompous? Be sure that it flows naturally.
3. Watch out for cliches. Things like 'music to my ears' or 'chip off the old block' or 'broken record' -- don't worry about them while writing, but during rewrites, ditch them all for something more original.
4. Watch out for commonly used words. My most common? Step, hand, and eyes. Wordcounter.com is a great resource to let you know what words you may be overusing.
5. Read. Reading was the best (and only) training I ever had in writing. Read daily and pay attention to which parts you really enjoy, which plots bore you, and which passages really grab you and analyze why.
6. Trust your gut. Writing something you don't believe in is tedious and boring. Let you novel go in whichever direction it pulls you, it will find the right place eventually.
7. Give yourself deadlines, but don't make them completely inflexible. I need deadlines in order to remind myself to write every day, but slopping together a bunch of crap just so you can release on time will come back and bite you. If a book isn't ready, it shouldn't be released. Some books are great after one rewrite, some books need ten - and ten rewrites take time.
8. Rewrite and edits aren't negotiable. Rewrites are what make mediocre books great, edits are what make them shine. EVERY book needs to be rewritten, you are never perfect the first start out of the gate.
9. Readers need a reason to turn the page. Make sure you have mini cliffhangers in the midst of your story, mini climaxes or events that keep readers teased and moving forward. Readers need little mini-rewards to keep them invested in the story.
10. Don't write for sales, or to compete with others. Write because there is a story in you that is fighting to get out.