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The 12 (days) of writing tips and techniques

Well, well, well. It's been a good while since I last wrote a blog post for Sophie's Proof. It's been a busy couple of months of working and travelling, but I thought the perfect way to hit the ground running is with some writing techniques and tips to try.

And of course as Christmas is coming up, why not make it the 12 (days) of writing tips and techniques (Christmas), do you see what I did there?

Now 12 days doesn't mean

you have to tackle and try these tips in the lead-up to Christmas, but it's punny so we will go with it. These are ideas you can play around with and try in your own time, or perhaps something to think about going into the new year.

These tips are all about experimenting and growing as a writer as well as tips that can help to encourage your writing too. So take a look and try a few.

Dramatic irony

Now, this might just be one of my favourite writing techniques of all time! This is where the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character. This can be extremely fun to work with and if done properly have such an impact on the story and reader.

Multiple perspectives

This is another fun technique to play around with. The beauty of writing from different perspectives is you can really push dramatic irony and show readers different parts of a story. This means you can show things that your main character doesn't know about. I love working with multiple perspectives, this is something I practice in my own work. It's also a good way to mix up the story a little too.

Apolistorlary (check spelling)

This is an extremely interesting way to write and with practice and done properly can be extremely effective. One of my favourite works of epistolary form is 'Where Rainbows End' by Cecilia Ahern.

This is the technique where the whole story is written in letter or more modern text and email form. This offers a new perspective as it only shows what the character is willing to give, meaning you get to play about with some fun techniques to get readers to read through the lines.


This is a technique of presenting the audience with common things in an unfamiliar or strange way so they can gain new perspectives and see the world differently. Harper Lee uses this technique in To Kill a Mockingbird in the way that Scout sees and understands the court trial. In this book defamiliarising speaks volumes.

Show don't tell

This is a common tip that is pushed on writers. The act of showing and not telling refers to writing skill and basically suggests that writers need to show their readers what is happening, this can be through description, plot or action. This is instead of the author/ writer just telling the reader directly. Now I do believe this is important, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tell and not show. There will be times when it's more effective or efficient for the author to tell and not show something.

Sentence structure

This is something all authors/ writers should practice and that is variety in sentence structures. By having all three: simple, compound and complex sentences, your writing will be more versatile and readable. Short sentences are a great way to add a dramatic flair to your writing, sometimes only a few words and a simple sentence is needed. Having only complex or even compound sentences might result in you losing your readers because it's just too much. Keep your readers interested with a mixture of different sentence structures.

Experiment with writing prompts

If you're a writer who hasn't really discovered your voice yet, or you just want to practice with something new, then writing prompts are a great way to get writing without too much pressure. This is a tip I will always recommend to all writers. Prompts can help you to write, practice your writing and even help to develop your own stories and characters. This is a great way to develop your skills while also giving you the opportunity to branch out and perhaps even learn something about yourself as a writer.

Set up a writing schedule

This is a tip for authors/ writers who are serious about either finishing a big piece of work or looking to consistently work and improve on their skill. A writing schedule is a good way to incorporate writing into your everyday life, set up certain times when it's your time to write, put it in your schedule similar to other commitments you can't miss either. That isn't to say you can't write in between, but at least you have set times that you will definitely be working on your writing.

Figure out your voice

The best way to find your writer's voice is by practicing and trying out different genres and writing styles. This will help you to develop your own unique writer's voice and can help you to find out what you like writing the most. A lot of the time a writer might find they enjoy writing a certain genre that they've never considered or even read before.

Writing sprints

This is an interesting tip that helped me to finish my second book. Writing sprints are exactly what you think they are. You set up shorter amounts of times and in that time all you do is type. This is a great way to get everything out and on the page. Don't worry about quality, structure or anything like that, you can edit when it's over, just focus on typing. This is a great way to get your writing out of you, whether you're working on prompts or writing a novel. Sometimes the pressure of a time limit is just what you need to get it all out.

First drafts are just that

This was something that once I got my head around, I was flying. Staring at that blank page in the beginning is daunting and it can make starting even harder. So just start. I like to start with bullet points to get everything out on the page. Then once I am finished I'll expand. My first draft ends up being a mixture of the story and bullet points. I even write messages to myself in the manuscript for myself to catch at a later date. The point is, it's not that deep. Just start writing something.

And finally,

Practice consistency

A common phrase that comes out of my mouth is that consistency is key. This is a huge tip for writers, especially if you're writing a book. There are many ways to practice consistency, but for the sake of this blog post I am going to talk about consistency in your writing. While consistency is essential in every aspect of your story, including grammar, today I am going to talk about the details. If you're writing a book or even a short story, log all the details. Character description, name, family tree. Any detail that you've mentioned that may come up again, write it down. This will save you from silly consistency issues that if not caught may ruin the flow of your story and can even save you a lot of time in the writing process.

These tips are a great way to improve your writing and mindset. Make sure to try out a few and see what works for you.


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