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Writing Tips and Help > WRITING TIPS FROM VERONICA ROTH

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message 1: by Rebecca (last edited Apr 12, 2012 03:48PM) (new)

Rebecca Ashkenazy (rebashk) | 128 comments Mod
Author of Divergent series. In the extended version of Divergent, she has writing tips…

Stage One: Word Vomit. (Sorry for the graphic image there.) Just write. Do not reread what you’ve just written, even if you don’t remember it and you want to check it for the sake of consistency. Don’t do it! You will be tempted to edit, and editing before you finish the draft is the enemy of writing progress.

Stage Two: Let it sit for a while. This is a good time for you to reconnect with friends and family you may have neglected while writing, and to recharge your writer batteries, so to speak. Not writing is as important as writing— go out into the world and remember how interesting it, and the people in it, are.

Stage Three: Reread, and make notes. I prefer the Microsoft word in-text comments, but I have also used notebooks. I try to write down big, plot-or-character- shifting things the first time I reread. Like "remove this character" or "the end has to happen differently" or "set up this huge plot element earlier in the story.”

Stage Four (view spoiler): Rip draft to shreds. The phrase “murder your darlings” (meaning: the stuff in your manuscript that you love best is probably the stuff that needs to go- and you have to be willing to get rid of it) has been important to me in developing as a writer. I try to make it a big, dramatic event wherein I save my old draft, copy past the text into a new document, and start deleting huge sections of text. It hurts, but it's oddly-liberating. The story can become something new now- something better than it was before, something it couldn't become if you clung to everything.

Stage Five: Start writing again.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Great! Thanks for this!


message 3: by T. (new)

T. Johnston Never thought of doing it like that before


message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily  (she-they) Do you really have to rip your draft to shreds? :(


message 5: by T. (new)

T. Johnston I hope not. I'm not sure I could remember all of it.


message 6: by Rebecca (last edited Apr 15, 2012 03:54AM) (new)

Rebecca Ashkenazy (rebashk) | 128 comments Mod
No!!!!!!!!!! That's not the point!!!! Lol. You're supposed to SAVE YOUR FIRST DRAFT and copy into a new document and take out EVERYTHING thats gotta go. Even stuff you like. That's why it's called murder your darlings.


message 7: by Emily (new)

Emily  (she-they) OH! that makes so much more sense!! ;)


message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Ashkenazy (rebashk) | 128 comments Mod
I’m glad you understand now. NEVER rip your first draft. EVER


message 9: by Cat (new)

Cat (coffeecat19) This was so helpful, if you come across my post in share your stories, please read my short story and see how you like it. Its notvry detiled but i wrote it down quick so


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

This is great advice. And Rebecca is very very right... I have a folder on my computer called "Orphaned Projects". The first draft of my novel is in there as well as projects or stories that I started and then decided weren't going to work... NEVER delete these because you might be sitting at the bus stop one day minding your own business and then BAM, the ending of that story you couldn't figure out hits you right in the face... it happens a lot, so don't delete it permanently!

After every single sentence I ask one question... "Does this advance the plot or teach me something new about the characters?" If the answer is NO, then it's GONE no matter how much I loved it.


message 11: by T. (new)

T. Johnston True, When I was working on my Ba for educaion. I still kept all the papers I wrote so I could look back on those so I could help parents. I do it with my writing as well. I just don't always go back and fix things like I should.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Allie wrote: "This is great advice. And Rebecca is very very right... I have a folder on my computer called "Orphaned Projects". The first draft of my novel is in there as well as projects or stories that I star..."

Great advice (last sentence in particular) Allie, thanks!


message 13: by Becky (new)

Becky | 24 comments i do all that with essays but I never thought of doing it with my writing, wow, thanks for posting that!


message 14: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Ashkenazy (rebashk) | 128 comments Mod
Welcome. Thanks to Veronica Roth!


message 15: by Lefty (last edited Jan 11, 2016 07:35PM) (new)

Lefty (leftywriter) | 1 comments
"The phrase “murder your darlings” (meaning: the stuff in your manuscript that you love best is probably the stuff that needs to go- and you have to be willing to get rid of it) has been important to me in developing as a writer."


I don't get this. I understand that sometimes your favorite parts have to go if they're not right for the story, but why do they "probably" have to go if they're your favorite parts? Usually my favorite parts are my favorite because they're funny or sweet or I feel like that bit of writing is particularly good over other writing I've done. Usually my "darlings" are just that because I feel like it's one of the best, most enjoyable parts of my book. Shouldn't it be "Kill your non-darlings?" because anything that isn't could potentially be improved upon?

I know this thread has been inactive for a really long time, but this is something that's been bothering me for a while. Thanks!


message 16: by Krystal (new)

Krystal (queenravenclaw) | 7 comments Or just have someone else critique and edit it for you. It's how I got through school. I'm honestly big on editing. But I know my writing is consistent. I find flaws every time I go back to it but I honestly have no one that is willing to sit and edit and give it back to me to make corrections.


message 17: by Evelineheston (new)

Evelineheston | 1 comments Her tips are incredible. They are pretty simple yet very effective. My other go-to tips also included a help from https://paidpaper.net which is an amazing book report service. They can give you amazing insights on certain topics which can become your source of inspiration. Another thing that helped me was traveling because for some reason, as soon as I move places, I have this sudden urge to write non-stop. To me personally, it's more doable than allowing other people see my raw and unfinished pieces of writing. Revisiting is also something that doesn't work for me all the time because a novel might be actually good but I will find the smallest flaws.


message 18: by AnnmarieGalyean (new)

AnnmarieGalyean | 3 comments WOW! I am a student and beginner writer, so I search for some help with many writing problems and I found this topic. It's exciting, thanks for these tips. I help students with their essays and other assignments on writing service, about what you can read writemyessayonline review and you will understand why this service is really good for every student.


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