10 Tips to Becoming the Best Writer You Can Be
Here are a few tips that really helped me as I wrote First Visions. Some of the tips you may have heard time and time again, but they really do work.
Tune Out Everyone’s Voice in Your Head
I unfortunately put way too much thought in what other people think. This can really make your story suffer if you’re constantly wondering over other’s reactions. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you know you put yourself out there.
Whether you’re old school and use a notebook for organizational purposes or rely on a program like Scrivener, staying organized while writing can be extremely helpful. As an example, I keep both an outline and character descriptions close at hand while I write for quick reference.
If you obsess over every single word you put on paper, you may end up sacrificing some of your creative energy. This is where free writing exercises can be very helpful. Browse writer’s blogs and you’re bound to come upon some free writing topics and exercises you can tackle.
Don’t Be Afraid to Hit the Delete Button
Getting rid of stuff that just isn’t working is a must. Don’t be afraid to cut huge chunks out of your novel. Save each previous draft and if end up having use for the scenes down the road, so be it.
Walk Away for Awhile
I once heard a reference that writers have a tendency to have beer goggles on while writing. You may love every single word you write one night, but then wake up the morning and wonder what the hell you were thinking. Fresh perspective can definitely help you become the best writer possible.
Don’t Lose Yourself in the Editing Process
Feedback can be very helpful in the writing process, but opinions are subjective. What works for one reader may not for another. Although you may be inclined to change certain aspects based on a single opinion, wait until you get more input. As an example, an editor I spoke with wanted me to make my main character in First Visions “nicer” and gave me examples of what a “good” woman would and would not do. I think if I followed her advice, I would’ve ended up with a dreadfully boring story.
Show Don’t Tell
This is probably one of the helpful pieces of advice I received during the editorial process. Use dialogue and the character’s actions keep the story moving. Wordy descriptions can end up hurting the pace of your novel.
Read Everything You Can Possibly Get Your Hands On
My husband will laugh at me when he sees me reading a trashy magazine or book and I tell him I’m working. Being well read can enhance your vocabulary, improve your grammar and help you find inspiration for your work.
Stick to a Routine
I have two boys under five which makes finding the time to write exceedingly difficult. Each night after they go to bed, even if I’m not in the mood, I’ll write at least something.
Get Rid of the Distractions
I’ll be in the middle of writing a pivotal scene when all of a sudden my phone will ring or my inbox will chime. Or I’ll receive a text from my sister stating I have to go on Facebook right now and look at this raunchy picture posted by so and so. A good piece of advice I heard before is to write on a computer without internet access.
Two years ago, 21-year-old Kate Edwards became deathly ill and slipped into a coma. While unconscious, she crept into the mind of a missing boy and awoke with the knowledge of his location. Friends and family were skeptical and wary of her new ability to see into the minds of others. Their fears prompted Kate to keep her psychic powers a secret. Feeling alienated, she dropped out of college and spent most of her days holed up at her mother’s home.
Now another child has been abducted. Police detective Jared Corbett seeks out Kate for her help in solving the case. Reluctantly, Kate agrees and they must work together to bring 8-year-old Cori Preston home to her family. Although attracted to one another, Jared has a girlfriend with ties to the abduction case and Kate is sarcastic and guarded since her coma. With visions she can’t control and an uncontrollable attraction to the detective, she wonders if she can leave the past behind and finally stop hiding from the world. Otherwise, Cori may be lost forever.
I enjoyed this story. I especially enjoyed Kate. Her voice was spot on. I also liked Jared's character. The hint of the paranormal with her psychic powers was a great touch. I loved how everything was tied up at the end but there's room for more stories to. A delightful, sweet read. Overall, this was a very good book.
Jared picks up Kate when she becomes stranded after a disastrous date:
Kate shifted in her seat and wondered how much she should confess about her night with Sebastian. Her inebriated tongue may end up revealing too much to Jared and she could find herself admitting how she couldn’t stand to kiss Sebastian because she was falling for him.
Jared seemed to speculate her discomfort could be over some sort of impropriety on Sebastian’s part. She saw his muscles tense as he said, “Kate, please tell me I don’t have to turn this car around and murder this Sebastian kid.”
She shook her head. “No, it was fine. I guess we were kind of on a date. I just wasn’t comfortable with how much he had to drink and where he wanted to take things.” She gave him a dazzling smile before continuing with her explanation. “See, you saved me in more ways than one tonight. My mother is the queen of thank you notes. So, don’t be surprised to receive one from her that displays her appreciation for keeping her daughter’s body and chastity safeguarded.”
He gave her a long look and she began to guess at how terrible she appeared. She hadn’t checked out a mirror in a long time and Sebastian’s moves on her probably made her resemble someone who recently had a roll in the hay.
“I should get you home,” he said at last. He was pulled out of his reverie and began to drive out of the parking lot.
She sank back into the leather seat and relaxed into the moment. Riding in his personal car in the middle of the night seemed to heighten the intimacy she felt developing between them. She still felt a buzz from the alcohol and his closeness was doing strange things to her. Something was nagging at her and she questioned whether she should disclose anything to him. Her tongue felt loose and she allowed the words to spill out of her mouth. After letting out an exaggerated sigh, she whispered, “I had a vision about you.”
It was silent for a long moment. His voice didn’t reveal much as he inquired, “You did?”
“It was your first day of kindergarten. You were dressed in Transformers stuff practically head to toe. You were calling yourself Optimus Prime.” She giggled loudly as she visualized Jared as a punk kindergartener.
His silence provoked her to go on and she shut her eyes to recall the vision. “I saw your mother and she was…” she trailed off before saying, “beautiful. Like amazingly so—with not one single flaw. You look like her, you know? Your father was there too and he was snapping pictures of you and her. You were nervous about school and she got down on her knees and told you to not worry. Just close your eyes and she would be there holding your hand.”
Finally opening her eyes, she shifted to face him. “It felt like she sensed that she would die young. Jared, she wanted you to remember she’d always be there for you.”
Kate swallowed hard when she saw how upset Jared looked. His features were tight and the dashboard illuminated moisture in his eyes. “Jared, I’m sorry…” she started, but her sentiment trailed off when he pulled the car over to the side of the road suddenly. Looking around, she realized they were at the end of her street.
He jumped out of the car and placed his hands behind his head. She watched him pace in front of the hood of the BMW for a minute before she slowly exited the vehicle. Approaching him cautiously, Kate asked softly, “Jared? What’s wrong?”
He produced a half laugh and half sobbing sound. “I don’t know, Kate, everything’s wrong. I mean, what are you doing here?”
“What do you mean?” she asked leaning against the hood.
Jared rarely seemed to lose his cool and it made her apprehensive about how he could be feeling. Was he agitated because of the vision? Or was he feeling something for her and he didn’t know how to deal with it?
“I like you, I do, but maybe we’ve been spending too much time together. It’s probably not a good idea for us to be as close as we’re becoming,” Jared said without meeting her eyes.
“I’m sorry I told you about the vision,” she apologized. As she positioned her body closer to him, she raised her voice in agitation. “I warned you this would happen. You’re obviously freaked out that I saw such a cherished memory of your mother. I would’ve never gone into your head if I could’ve stopped it! My visions are usually horrible, I only wanted to share with you that you gave me one of the best ones I ever had.”
“Kate, it’s not about your vision. It’s freaking incredible that you were able to see my parents as if they were still alive. I thought it would be fine for us to be friends, but…”
“But you know I want you?” she asked in her most seductive voice. The way he was protesting made her confident that he was finding it as impossible as she was to fight off their attraction. Putting her hands on her hips and sticking out her chest, she was hoping her sudden loss of inhibitions would pay off with a kiss from him.
Jared stood in front of her and grabbed her by the shoulders. His eyelids were lowered and he moistened his lips. The pull was undeniable and it felt completely natural to close her eyes and move to his mouth for a kiss.
Suddenly, his grip tightened and he said in a husky voice, “Kate, no.”
Heather Topham Wood graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor’s degree in English. Working full-time as a freelance writer for publications such as
USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine, she writes fiction novels in her spare time. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons.
First Visions is the first novel in the Second Sight Series.
Follow Heather on Twitter and her blog to keep posted on her upcoming works:
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*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*