How to become a better writer

My catch up letter for the A-Z Challenge  letter is

R= Read

Read, read and read some more, that’s how.

This is what you, my writer friends, have taught me. That, if I want to be a writer, I must read and read a lot.

sleepy

Not just read trade books on how to improve the craft of writing but I read for pleasure.

Why should a writer read for pleasure?

  • For pure joy and love of reading.
  • Inspiration.
  • Plot themes and ideas.
  • Word-play and usage.
  • Analyze the genre.
  • Analyze the twists and turns.
  • I always learn something new.

I continue to read. So that I can continue to write.

Books that tell a story I can savor long after I turn the last page. Some are old friends, some are new ones, and some are short stories that pop up in my inbox from great bloggers.

Do you read to become a better writer?

Do you think reading makes you a better writer?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

Below are links to read more tips on better reading your way to better writing.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

 

5 Ways To Be A Better Reader and Improve Your Writing in The Process Belle Beth Cooper

Seven Books To Read Before You Start Writing Your Own by Vani at Scroll In http://scroll.in/

How to Use Reading to Become a Better Writer at Write to Done

Want to Be a Better Writer? Read More by Mike Hanski

 

Do you know which questions you need to ask?

Today’s A-Z Challenge  letter is Q

Q= Question

Why? But why?what if

The whine of a toddler is like nails on a chalkboard after hearing that one word for the thousandth time. But Mom’s will take a deep breath and answer as best they can.

Why do we put up with the constant questions?

Because questions are important.

Teachers encourage children, telling them there are no dumb questions. Curiosity is not what kills the cat, it is what builds worlds, cures diseases and invents the internet.

Questions lead us down the path of discovery. One question leads to another and another and like bread crumbs to new kingdoms.

Questions can prod you when stumped and breathe new life into your character or situation.

And if you’re lucky, questions and answers will piece together and make a great story. Or at least a good one.

So what questions need answers?

  • What is the story about?
  • What is the point of the story?
  • Who are the characters?
  • What are they doing?
  • Where are they going?
  • What do the characters want?
  • What do the characters feel?
  • Are the characters believable?
  • Where does the story happen?
  • Where does it end?

And the all important question…

What if?

Over and over a wide-eyed toddler stares up at their mom demanding to know why about everything in their ever-expanding world.

If you do the same of you story and characters , you might find the world you’re writing ever-expanding too.

If you’d like to read questions that successful writers ask when they write, I’ve added some links at the bottom of the page.

What questions do you ask when writing?

Do you map out certain questions to answer before you start?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

25 QUESTIONS TO ASK AS YOU WRITE by Chuck Wendig
7 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Write Your Novel by Christine Barcellona
5 Key Questions to Ask as You Write Your Novel by CS Lakin

 

Do you worry about stealing someones writing?

No need if you take the proper precautions. 

Like the tortoise, I’m still plodding along. And for the

A-Z Challenge  letter P  I’ve chosen 

P = Plagiarism

In the words of every kindergarten teacher, “It’s not nice to take what doesn’t belong to you.”

Plagiarism_is_Bad

We’ve heard those words from the time we’ve toddled around on unsteady legs and yet many writers are tempted.

Why?

Because it’s hard to write something old, to make it fresh and new again. Every story line has been written, every plot told and every secret revealed, somewhere by someone. If it were easy, everyone would write a best-selling novel.

Dictionary.com defines plagiarism as:

A noun:

  1. An act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not re-editing the original author:

Synonyms: appropriation, infringement, piracy, counterfeiting; theft, borrowing, cribbing, passing off.

  1. A piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation.

Whether writing fiction or a research paper, it’s important to avoid copying someone else’s work and fail to give due credit.

Learn to paraphrase and rewrite in your own words. If you must quote, use proper quotes and cite the author and/or publication. Remember, no one likes to be misquoted, and no one likes a thief.

What do you think? In this day of self-publishing is plagiarism becoming more of a problem?
Or less, due to all the tools available to writers?
Do you have a favorite program? My favorite go-to program to avoid this scourge is Grammarly.com. 

I’ve listed a few more links for tools to help at the bottom, keep reading.

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

6 Ways to Avoid Plagiarism in Research Papers at Write Check

http://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/

http://www.plagiarism.org/

http://plagiarisma.net/

Do you believe in the “overnight success” theory?

 Me too!

And of course fairies, everyone believes in fairies. 

For the A-Z Challenge  letter O  the word is 

Overnight success

How many emails hit your inbox each day promising to make you an overnight success. Five, ten or more? And you only thing needed is for you to buy their latest book or subscribe to their latest writing course. 

Now don’t get me wrong, some are wonderful and legit. But none are gonna make me an overnight success. At best the good ones can only act as stepping-stones to success. 

How do I know? Because I’ve fell for a few.

rain-storm

Now I don’t mean to rain on anybody’s parade because I guess it could happen. I mean people get struck by lightning every day somewhere in the world, I’m sure.

What we can do is take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way. Look around and free and affordable opportunities for a writer. (Hey! Another O word.)

Check with libraries, and writing groups for local events where you might promote your books. Take advantage of these and be patient. This one is hard for me. I’m an introvert and patience has never been a virtue I could brag about.

I have to remind myself that no amount of frantic tweeting, posting, or hours spent on Facebook will blast my book into the stratosphere overnight. Even “going viral,” is here today and gone tomorrow, in our “now” internet age. So, I can’t count on one of my tweets, images or books “going viral” to do much for my success as an author. Of course, I do have some cute grandkids. Hmm….

Nope, overnight success is not gonna happen.

Instead of repeating– I am smart, I am strong, I am pretty, I am brave.

The following is my morning mirror affirmation:

  • Building the perfect online brand takes time. Be patient.
  • Writing a best seller takes time. Be patient.
  • Getting the word out about your amazing talent takes time. Be patient.
  • I am brave and not a quitter. I am patient. (Too bad I don’t believe everything I tell myself.)

“Some say I’m an overnight success. Well, that was a very long night that lasted about 10 years. But while I do, of course, now feel the pressure having had books that have been very successful, I just know I have to concentrate on writing for myself. I can’t worry about genres or markets or what might be commercial or not. That never works.” Kate Morton

What’s your experience with “overnight success?”

How long did it take for you to achieve an “overnight success?”

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

Want to read what others have to say then click below:

The Myth Of Overnight Success by David Siteman Garland
Why ‘Overnight Success’ Is A Myth by Carolyn Gregoire
How to be an “Overnight Success” by Gary Vaynerchuk