Ten Tips on Becoming a Better Writer
Anyone can write, anyone can put words to paper or press a symphony of keys on some keyboard, just like anyone can throw a football. These are skills, or muscles, which if you are to use successfully, need to be exercised. If you want to pursue a career as a professional writer there are some tips I use, and suggest you look them over.
1) Read, read, read. Then read some more. Don’t just read what you love and know, delve into genres you think you would hate, or authors you don’t know. Whenever I’m at a bookstore I buy at least two or three books. One I’m fairly certain I’ll like, one I have no idea if I’ll like, and one by an author I’m not familiar with. It lets you see the different styles of other published authors.
2) They in sales, and in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, “Always be selling”. The same goes for writing. Always be writing. Simple as that. Sit in your chair and write, whether it’s nonsense or not, it eventually gets you creative juices flowing. If I had followed this advice when first starting out I would have finished The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff a lot earlier. But, I let life get in the way, so to speak.
3) Be ruthless with your editing. One of my instructors told me this, and it’s invaluable advice. Rip your story apart. If something sounds like it might not make sense, there’s a good chance it doesn’t.
4) Read dialogue out loud! I’m still surprised by how many people don’t do this. You will catch a lot of contrived dialogue in there, so read everything out loud.
5) Grow a thick skin. Not everyone is going to like everything. Check out some War and Peace, All Along the Western Front, and any other great piece of literature on amazon. Almost all of them have pretty scathing reviews.
6) Along with number five, take criticism with a grain of salt or not at all. Unless of course, 90% of your readers come back saying the same thing, then maybe you should listen!
7) Don’t be afraid to write what you don’t know. If everyone only wrote what they knew, we’d have lost out on some of the best literature around.
8) To expand on number seven, research, research, research. I spent more time researching and interviewing people for The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff than you could probably imagine. Also, you will find some amazing things—I found an actual photograph of Abraham Lincoln standing around in a Union camp with an unnamed spy.
9) Beta Readers. Always let other people read your work. No one can write perfectly by himself or herself. We are too close to our darlings to accurately judge each one.
10) If you can quit writing, you probably should. It’s a brutal business. If you bleed stories no matter how much you try to deny them, you might be a writer.
Lane Heymont was born in Pennsylvania. He earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a focus on literature and history. He also holds a double minor in psychology and business. After college, he turned his focus back to writing. Lane has several short stories published, one of which was recommended for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award in short fiction.
Jeb, a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the Ku Klux Klan, pulling him into a world of Creole Voodoo, hatred, time travel, and redemption. The two brothers-in-law set out to stop Verdiss and his Klan followers from using the Pharaoh's Staff, a magical artifact from ancient Egypt. Soon, Jeb and Crispus learn Verdiss’ diabolical plan and discover that he is working for an even more evil force. In the end Jeb and Crispus must stop the eradication of an entire people and each must find redemption for his own past sins.
Screams from the dying, and laughter from white-robed banshees filled the air, mingling with the rumble of gunshots. Vomit filled Crispus’s mouth, and he was on his knees, spewing his breakfast on the street. He looked around for any Klansmen, but found none. They must have moved on to another part of town. I was hiding when they were murdered!
The late afternoon sun set the seas of blood alight like fire. Crispus spotted the glint of a pistol on one of the torn bodies. Whether it’d been a man or woman, he couldn’t guess. Hearing another gunshot, Crispus dashed for the pistol. He pulled it from the twisted, broken hand. More bile burst from his mouth when he realized it’d been a man—a white man. “Mr. Wardell!” Crispus fell on the body. “Why?” He shuffled through Wardell’s pockets. Bullets, he needed all the bullets he could find. Pushing Wardell over, Crispus found why Wardell died—Elle Mae lay cut apart underneath him. He defended us and they killed him! He trembled violently.
“Father God, forgive me.” Crispus prayed, pulling out a box of slugs from Wardell’s pants. He pocketed it. Then checked to make certain the pistol was loaded. It was. He let out a pained groan, terrified it’d go off in his hands.
Crispus rose to his feet, blood dripping from his hands. Plumes of smoke surged through the street and enveloped him. Bits of smoldering debris burned in his nostrils and throat. Where could he go? What could he do? Could he even aim a pistol? He found himself surrounded by a field of butchered masses of flesh that were once people. His people.
“How could he survive this?” A shamed whimper escaped Crispus as he wiped the smoke from his eyes. “Jeb, where are you?”
2 signed paperbacks with personal inscription
Lane Heymount Tour Schedule
March 11 – Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog
March 12 – Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.
March 14 – Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
March 18 – Guest Blogging at Lori's Reading Corner
March 20 – Guest Blogging at Joshua Albrecht's Blog
March 22 – Guest Blogging at From The Mind of Omegia
March 25 – Guest Blogging at Changing Face of Publishing
March 27 – Guest Blogging at Mass Musings
March 29 – Interviewed at Lavender and Camomile Press
April 1 – Reviewed at The Official Blog-Zine of Terra Little
April 1 – Interviewed at Unnecessary Musings
April 3 – Spotlight at Deal Sharing Aunt