First of all, as I new writer I have been amazed at how much my work has improved over the last 8 months. I put that down to doing lots of workshops, reading around the subject, critiquing and being critiqued, and reading in the genre I am writing.

Books I have found useful:
(This is by no means an exhaustive list!)

  • Self Editing for fiction writers by Rennie Brown and Dave King is a must for anybody learning about editing their own work. The advice in there is necessary to be learnt.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. Knowing grammar and punctuation is essential and unavoidable. As someone who was only really taught the very basics of grammar in school, I have had to make an effort to learn this over the last few months. My grammar and punctuation is far from perfect, but it has improved a lot.
  • Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card was another beauty.
  • Nearly every book I have read, and I have read many, has helped in some way.

Read your work out loud. I find if I read in my head, I read what I think I have written and miss words that I have used in the wrong way such as to versus too. The words the spell check doesn't pick up. I know polishing the grammar is the last part of the novel editing process, but I have found that you need to read through several times when editing each scene and making the grammar, spelling etc as good as possible because when someone is critiquing your work and you have errors, the errors will draw them out of the story and they will be thinking about the errors and not where your character is well rounded.

Give and get critiques. Learning to critique will not only help other writers, who will help you in return, but it helps you to became better at critiquing your own work. It is weird reading for pleasure now. I read sentences and I ache to get a red pen out and re-word some!

Read books in your genre and tear them apart. Analyse beginnings, endings, structure, and plot points.

Use this website by author Larry Brooks. Story fix. Learn about three-act structures, first plot points, climaxes... There is a formula you should use to work out where to put your inciting incidents and various plots in the story - these are the points where everything changes.

Research what people in your genre are saying right now. What is and what is out. Wordcounts. For young adult writers, research teenagers. What they want and love right now. How they think and feel. Their hopes and dreams. And most importantly what they like to read.

I hope these few tips are helpful, I will impart more soon :)