/, Nicole Resciniti, writing advice, writing tip wednesday/WRITING TIP WEDNESDAY(1): tweets stolen from my agent

These tips may not come every Wednesday and sometimes they may not even come on Wednesday. Consistency is not one of my strengths. But I’m here to help when I can.
For more YA writing advice, check out http://www.reddit.com/r/YAwriters/where I am a moderator along with YA author, Beth Revis among others who are far more diligent than myself. And check me out on Wattpad, I chat about writing quite a bit in the cafes.
Why should you listen to me? Probably because I’ve written a crap-ton of books and many of them were terrible (I mean TERRIBLE) and eventually my work became good enough to be published. So yeah. That’s the goal, right? 
TIPS FROM MY AGENT STOLEN FROM HER TWEETS (and how they apply to me)
I’m always re-tweeting Nicole’s writing words of wisdom and usually because I’m nodding as I read them, going, yes. That. So I figured that I should blog about them and my work would be half done. 
#writingtips: Treat a WIP like a play. Structure for three acts, and enough conflict/tension to resolve throughout.
MY THOUGHTS: If you can do this, you will avoid the dreaded saggy middle and often an over-long book. [SECRET—with TIMESTORM (Tempest #3) I wrote Act I, then Act III, and then I wrote Act II. I ended up only needing one round of editing after the initial draft versus the 4-6 I did for the two previous books.]
Start writing your book and let yourself freely write a few chapters without planning if that’s your preference, then try to summarize what you have planned/hope to accomplish in 1-2 sentences per act. If your book is already finished or beyond the halfway point and your trying to figure out what to with it next, write your 3 act summary and if your struggling to do this, then start thinking about what changes in the story might make this goal possible. 
#WritingTip: Establish internal/external conflicts quickly. The direction of the plot should be presented asap.
MY THOUGHTS: You must give your character(s) room to grow in the beginning and this can come from both internal and external conflicts. A story should almost always begin with the everyday (or everyday equivalent for your world) but there is still something that’s far from perfect. Isn’t that how real life is? We function and move around, going about our day despite the fact that we have strained relationships, we have things we’re feeling guilty about, things we’d like to improve upon. We have regrets. 
Find an organic way to let those hidden conflicts rise to the surface in your opening, giving a hint that change will soon be inevitable for the character(s). Think of this as, not the calm before the storm, but the moment the wind picks up and drops of rain scatter intermittently across the sidewalk. You can still keep walking outside, the parade hasn’t been canceled yet, but you can feel the oncoming giant down pour. Or, more importantly, your readers can feel it in the air and it will keep them turning the pages, anticipating the catalytic moment. 
#Writing Tip: Balance a character’s strengths AND weakness. “Perfect” heroes/heroines = boring.
MY THOUGHTS: I have a favorite way to do this and I almost hate to give it away because it’s so affective, in YA especially. Balancing having a driven yet flawed MC (‘cause remember, we need room to grow) is to create a clear contrast between what the character(s) says out loud to other characters and what they think internally and do, as in actions. 
EXAMPLE (I’m seriously making this up on the spot so it’s not perfect):
Conversation between a mother and male teenage son (narrator)
I avoid eye contact and continue buttering my toast. She missed my game last night. I’m allowed to be pissed off. 
“I can give you a ride to school if you want?” Mom says, filling her daily jug of coffee.
My knife freezes for a moment and then I resume buttering. Taking me to school would be an hour out of her way which means she’ll have to stay at work until ten or eleven tonight and she most likely got up at four thirty this morning to go over her surgeries for the day. 
I force the corner of bread into my mouth and wait until it’s nearly full before saying, “fine. Whatever.”

Thank you. I should have said thank you.

Did you find this helpful? What aspects of writing do you struggle with most?

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  1. Rebecca Birkin December 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    These were great ideas. I like the three act play concept, as well as having characters say the opposite of their real intent.

  2. Anonymous February 19, 2014 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    I want to let you know that Vortex was the first book that made me cry, i still remember the final and damn… I cried like a baby for almost 10 minutes :p

  3. PAMELA ALVES August 10, 2014 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Loved the tips. I am Brazilian and my biggest dream is to write and be published as you. I have two books, but no big deal: P
    His tempest series hooked me so much that I read the two posted here in four days. I'm making a facebook page about it too. Congratulations. I'm your fan.

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