Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible. If you’re writing a short story, try to write it in one sitting. If you’re writing a novel, try to write it in one season (three months).
Don’t worry too much about plotting or outlining beforehand. You can do that once you know you have a story to tell in the first place. Your first draft is a discovery process. You are like an archeologist digging an ancient city out of the clay. You might have a few clues about where your city is buried beforehand, but you don’t know what it will look like until it’s unearthed.
1. Actually write
2. Watch out for repetition (and annihilate it)
3. Weed out clichés
4. Aim for clean, filler-free prose
5. Read... a lot! In a wide range of genre
6. Read again, with a pencil in hand
7. Choose personal over formulaic
8. Experiment to keep your style fresh
9. Sharpen your opening and ending
10. Never forget the big picture
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