I must have read a million “50 Writing Tips” articles. Every time I read them I would only notice one or two things that were different from other articles I’ve read about writing. For a little while, I stopped reading them. Not a good idea.
Looking back, I remember what little things I learned from reading them. Some examples are write short and simple sentences when writing an action or suspensful scene because you don’t want to slow the reader down with heavy-handed words. Another, one of my personal favorites, addressed that issue about not using words like “She shouted” too often (I once read a book where the characters mumbled all the time, my sister and I made a joke that if they ever made a movie no one would be able to hear it!) or worse, having to resort to something terrible like “He chortled”. No one chrotles anything, not in real life anyways. It’s either that or use the word said ad nauseum (and that doesn’t sound good either). Anyways, the article said you can take a different route. When a character is speaking, instead of putting some verb that indicates speech, write in an action instead. Did the person look down when they said it? Did they jump up and down, go pale? Sometimes, I think this tells more about how something was said then searching for the right verb.
Basically, what I’m saying is those Writing Tips articles are actually extremely helpful. I didn’t remember ingesting the information I read from them until I really thought about where I got some of those ideas from. I’m sure some people already know this, but some of you may be like me and think writing or seraching for the perfect agent is a better use of your time. It’s not. Read those articles!