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10 Things I've definitely learned about writing

(and won't have to learn again)

· Advice,Writing

1. The problem with Chapter 2 is almost certainly in Chapter 1.

2. What the character wants is the most important thing, even more important than what the character does.

3. How the character does a thing is also more important than what they do.

4. Research is an ongoing process. You need to research before you write to know what to write, but you won't know all that you need to research until you start writing. It's okay to take an informed guess and fill in the correct details in a subsequent draft. 

5. In a rough draft, it's okay to write a scene that you think needs to be there, even if you're not yet sure exactly how it fits. You'll either figure it out later, or cut it and replace it with something better. Either way, you'll learn something.

6. When doing major re-writes to a scene, start with a clean file. It's easier to pop into the first draft and copy over snippets as you need them than it is to work a new structure over the old one. Set your mind free to write a fresh take on the scene, without clinging to the old stuff.

7. Always have a scraps file. Even if you never once dip into it (but you will), you'll have more courage to cut things that aren't quite working if you know they're in a safe place.

8. It's never too early for feedback. Even the outline stage. It's also never too late for feedback.

9. Read a lot. Look at how others tackle scenes, characters, dialogue, description. Borrow their techniques liberally.

10. Don't give up.

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