Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Post: Top 5 Favorite Writing Tips by Elizabeth Seckman

I've asked the lovely and incomparable Elizabeth Seckman to join me today as part of her Fate Intended blog tour. I asked Elizabeth to tell me her Top 5 Writing Tips, so here she is! (It's really great stuff!)

Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there. Anton Chechov…the rule we know as Checkov’s Gun. All parts of the book, even the setting needs to have a use.

Imagine it, and then write it. Dixie Browning. We are a TV/movie culture. I often imagine my books opening as a movie…how would it start? Hint? No movie starts with a weather report…well, unless there’s a tornado coming that might be sucking a modern day Dorothy off to a revamped Oz.

Just tell me the damn story. My mother. I know we writers love our words and would wallow in the beauty of prose like a hot pig enjoys a mud hole, but readers are busy. They want to be told a story. They want to be entertained. Few want to be impressed with how well we write. 

Show, don’t tell. Every agent and editor you’ll ever meet. Don’t say the heroine is sweet…let her save a puppy. Don’t say the man is abusive…let him kick the dog. Readers are so freaking smart. Don’t insult them by telling them the obvious. Write it in and trust them…they will figure it out!

Finally…the best piece of advice ever? Buy Stephen King’s book, “On Writing”. Read it twice, once for fun, then again taking notes. That man figured out a way to make a how-to book thrilling. 

Man, I’d love to kidnap his muse!

(Lisa, you should help me, you know all about that sort of maniacal stuff!)




Fate Intended is the third book in the Coulter Men Series.  Trip is the last of the Coulter sons to find
love. He’s a handsome man with all the skills a young spy needs to succeed. But when it comes to love, he misses the target. Jane is a sweet beauty who may or may not be wanted for murder. She’s hiding out as a cleaning lady when chance brings her and Trip together. It looks like a happily ever after is in the cross hairs until reality tries to destroy what fate has intended.


Elizabeth Seckman is a simple chick with a simple dream…to write stories people want to read.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me over Lisa :)
    I think you pretty incomparable yourself!

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  2. That's how I do it - I play it like a movie in my head first.
    Good stuff, Elizabeth.

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    1. Really? That makes me feel just a little awesome. Makes me feel like I'm a pro ;)

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  3. I cracked up at your mother's advice. Wise woman. And I also totally love On Writing.

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    1. My first manuscript I doctored up and worked so hard to write prose that I felt was stunning and wonderful. Mom hated it, and that's what she said. I used to laugh when people would say, "Don't tell me your mother likes it." And I'd think, but you don't know how HARD my mom is to impress!!

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  4. Great writing tips! Stephen King is a genius.

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    1. Yes he is. I read his book in a day. That doesn't happen often for me!

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  5. LOVE it. Those weather reports at the opening of books...along with dreams, yeah, let's stay far FAR away from those. =)

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    1. Yeah, though I will admit...newbie writer me did try it once...hangs head in shame. Good thing there is advice out there!

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  6. Nicely done. Best of luck with your new release, Elizabeth.

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  7. The first rule can sure tramp on creating a rich character and environment for your characters to flourish. (just saying, as my eyes dance across my line of teddies peering back down at me from the hutch)

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    1. I agree/disagree Mac. If it is an object or situation that lends to the atmosphere of the story or gives the character depth, then it is not an unused object. Like in Fate Intended, the MC has on pink converse shoes and blue nail polish...I hoped that said she was young and fun. Objects not literally picked up and used, but still served a purpose in the story.

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  8. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. "Just tell me the damn story" is one I live by.

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