ZOVA is headed to the Southern California Writers Conference in Los Angeles this weekend, which means we've got writing on the brain. September is a good month to research writing tips and tricks, as we're a hop, skip, and a jump away from NaNoWriMo, that most inspirational of international writing movements which dawns each November. Here are a few tips for writers we've synthesized over the years:
1. You have to learn the rules before you can break them. Picasso taught us this.
2. Know your audience and write specifically for them. Yourself, family and friends, your future children, or complete strangers - whoever it is, know them and write for them alone.
3. Contrary to popular workshop advice, the passive voice is sometimes okay. Like, for example, when it's the only grammatically correct option.
4. And while we're at it, know your grammar.
5. Swear in your novels if you must, but never on your social networking sites.
6. Learn the difference between loose and lose, led and lead. It will save someone a lot of grief.
7. Whatever works for you, be consistent about it. The one habit all successful writers share is making writing a habit.
8. When submitting a manuscript, keep your font simple (i.e. Times New Roman). But when you're writing, use whatever inspires you.
9. Never promise to put a friend or family member in your novel.
10. Self-awareness (not to be confused with self-consciousness) is the greatest asset any writer can have.