For me, writing is both easy and hard. If a storyline is mapped out correctly, the story flows. But if I try to mix and match, it’s a recipe for disaster. So, here are some things I do when preparing to write:
1. Get reference material on the subject. That would include dictionaries, a thesaurus, and books that specialize on the theme of your book. This helps eliminate the desire to “make” things up and avoid lengthy explanations in order to explain your concept to readers.
2. Expand your vocabulary. This doesn’t mean you should use words one can barely pronounce or that looks really great on paper. Expanding your vocabulary beyond the obvious clichés, street lingo or one syllable. Stop and think about other possibilities when you write. Eventually they will come so fast you won’t be able to stop them from popping up. Use your vocabulary to make it more accessible. If you want short but interesting words, then move those words to the front of your brain before you need them. Pause before you speak. Then insert some of those good but neglected words. Look at things and pick out synonyms: example house…which could be an abode, a building, a castle, a dwelling, etc.
3. Improve spelling.
FIFTY OF THE MOST COMMONLY MISSPELLED WORDS:
acceptable fascinate orchestra
apology grateful potatoes
appetite hygiene professor
architect imaginable pseudonym
assassinate immediately quarrelsome
autumn irrelevant religious
calendar jewelry reservoir
changeable judgment rhythmic
conscious lovable scissors
correspondence miscellaneous syllable
criticism mischievous tragedy
deceive mortgage umbrella
discernible necessarily vanilla
embarrass occasionally vengeance
eminent occurrence weird
existence omission wholesome
4. Read. If you prefer paranormal or romance books, reading books in those genres will help build your understanding of how other writer’s communicate the subject matter. Listen to what you read. And find the things that fail, too. Listen to how two similar sounds close together can cause a disturbing noise in your head. Hear how the use of the wrong word wakes you from your reading spell. Be a critical reader, and look at what you read as a lesson in good reading.
5. If possible, take a writing class specifically geared to writing novels and not journalistic or business writing courses. Remember: (1) With a partner, you will be better able to learn what your particular faults and strengths are. (2) Knowing others are going to read your work, you are more likely to try harder to impress them. (3) Your own writing mistakes are invisible to you, but others are able to see them.
6. Listen. When surrounded by people, pay attention to their conversations. You never know when something they say inspires you to write a novel.
7. Research. Have you been at a keyboard and just sat there staring at the monitor? It could be because you don’t have enough information to work with. Try (1) Looking up facts on the subject you’re writing about. (2) Ask someone knowledgeable on the subject your writing about. (3) Observe.
8. Write in your head. Sometimes daydreaming will help the creative juices flowing.
9. Sit down and write. Pick a time and place. Lock yourself in a place where there will be no interruptions.
Writing can be exasperating at times but if you love doing it, finding the right pattern to make things easier will make the process better.