#Wednesdaysareforwriters: Guest Blogger Andrew Hood’s Writing Tips

Guest Blogger Andrew Hood's Writing Tips

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3 Writing Lessons from a Cross-Platform Writer

If you are a first-time writer, I want to help you. You see, I remember how incredibly hard it was the first few times around.
 
I wrote my first novel Suggesting Murder way before I was ready. I can only see that now in hindsight two books later.
 
There were so many issues with that first book, but if I had to list the top five they would be
 
* It took way too long to complete (over five years)
* It was written using multiple writing styles over that time
* I got caught writing boring scenes to link the few exciting ones
* I was trying too hard to be plot-clever and neglected character development
* There was too much of myself in it and not enough imagination 
 
     Don’t get me wrong perhaps I needed to write that book, and all the writing since, to learn the few essential lessons I bring to you today. After all, I always said to myself that it would be my third book that would define me as a writer so just maybe this will be the big one.
 
    Why am I so sure that this book will be a hell of a lot better than the last two? Because if the incredible amount of cross-platform writing I’ve done over the past five years and essential lessons I’ve learned along the way.
 
These are the lessons I learned across the mediums
 

1. Song Writing – Every Word Counts!

     We have all heard those rags to riches stories about those fantastic hit songs that got written in fifteen minutes at a kitchen table and went on to earn millions. And having been at that kitchen table myself with a catchy tune in my head, I too can tell you that there are times when the words just flow. 
 
 However, the recording process does not end at the kitchen table!
  
    Just because that is where the first draft is written doesn’t mean that it is where it will end. Often single words are obsessed over, changed, substituted or deleted for weeks after the original song is written. Leonard Cohen famously wrote an agonizing 80 draft verses in one writing session trying to perfect his masterpiece song “Hallelujah.” 
 
    And while I’m certainly no Leonard Cohen I did have one song, my best song, which took me over 15 years to write. Why? Because the words weren’t right, I couldn’t find the right ones and in songwriting every word matters. 
 
    The right words tell the story right! Too wordy and the rhythm is out, not enough and you are not painting the right picture. Don’t believe me? Ask any songwriter or poet, and they will all tell you.
 
Every word counts!
 

2. Blog Writing – Lives are Crafted in Moments

     My early blog posts were a little dull. Sure, there may have been a cute premise or funny tagline here or there. Posts such as “Do you suffer from pre-mature congratulation?” which was a little story about celebrating accomplishments a little too early were a great way to build my writing style. The problem was that they didn’t deliver any lasting messages or insight. And delivering important stories is how you keep readers at your site.
 
     Then one day I wrote a little story about my past battles with Anxiety and how one early event in my life changed me forever. Soon after my blog The Weekly Tipping Point finally took off. My friends, family, and subscribers all reacted to the post. They didn’t just pat me on the back either, they all had their own stories to share. Even Google, every good blogger’s friend found, found the post and soon it was generating new followers to my site every day. That one story about my life generated traffic for months afterward.
 
    Seeing this success, I started to mine my life for all the defining moments that made me who I am today. I would start with what happened, then discuss what it taught me and finished with how it might help others. I used this template very successfully for two years before needing to give my poor life a rest.
 
    The incredible lesson blog writing taught me is that lives are lived day to day but “Lives are crafted in minutes.” Things happen to us, and we are changed forever it is that simple.
 

3. Novel Writing – Compelling Stories Are Made From Defining Moments

    Most good novels start at live defining moments. It usually begins with a few lines or perhaps a page on what every day looks like and then bam! Something happens that changes the main characters life forever, or at the very least set the tone for a great story.
 
    Your challenge, should you chose to accept it, is to continue to write these defining moments into your characters lives and take the reader on a journey. They don’t just want to hear that the main character in short in stature. They want to know that after being teased about it for years he finally lost his temper and beat two bullies to a pulp back in high school. And now, whenever he enters a room full of people he lifts himself ever so slightly onto his toes and silently dares every new stranger he meets just to try and make fun of him.
 
    Get enough defining moments into our characters, and they come alive. We don’t just see them we feel them, we understand them, and finally, we care about them.
 
    The final trick here is to tell your story in these defining moments without too much filler. Sure sometimes you need to travel from defining moment A to defining moment B, and it can’t be done in one single leap. If this is the case, then make it about the journey. Make the journey worth it and make defining moment B even more significant for all the effort the character put into getting there.
 
In summary, I hope that you can learn a little something from the lessons I have learned along the way.
 
    If you did and you are happy to support me in return, please feel free to vote for my upcoming book “The Man Who Corrupted Heaven.” It is full of all the good stuff I have discussed above.
 
You can vote at this link:
 
Thanks again and good luck
 
Andrew Hood
 

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