Tips Tuesday: Writing Advice From Swoon Readers
Hi Swoon Readers (and Writers!),
We’ve shared a swoonworthy range of writing tips with you, featuring advice from both guest authors and editorial professionals, but we’ve also seen that you have a lot of great advice of your own! We really enjoy seeing what you think, and reading the thoughtful comments and feedback you give each other. So today, we thought we’d share the love, by spotlighting some of the great writing advice we’ve seen within the Swoon Reads community:
Vicky Blaylock on Table for Two:
“I think your language is great, but I’m not positive the preface is necessary. I feel like your writing begins to shine after it, and you want your best writing right up front. Look forward to reading more.”
Jennifer DiGiovanni on Summer of Hope:
“This was a very touching story about love and loss. I was hooked from the first chapter and enjoyed the building relationship between Callie and Ethan. When you switched from 1st person POV to 3rd, I felt like it was too big of a change at that point of the story. I would have loved to hear more from Ethan’s point of view, how he felt keeping secrets from Callie. I’m wondering if alternating Ethan and Callie as narrators (both in 1st Person) would improve the flow of the story. Overall, I liked your voice and once I started reading I found it hard to put down. Great job!”
Meg Beecher on Touch:
“I thought this was a sweet story. I started several other manuscripts but put them to the side because they didn’t draw me in, yours did. Good dialogue, that is how their relationship unfolds and you do a fabulous job of it, but I think it could be padded out with some more non-dialogue. Obviously there will be a sequel and I would read it, but for me the ending needed a little more, felt abrupt.”
Kimberly Karalius on Dream Mates:
“I’m not a big fan of love triangles, but when I do stumble upon a story that has one, I hope to see two fleshed out characters vying for the main character’s affections. In this case, I think Jeff fell a little short. We’re told that he’s the class clown, but whenever he interacts with Serena, he’s just nervous. And when they get to know each other, his personality doesn’t stand out. He’s not too different from Sebastian, which made it hard for me to fully connect with Serena’s dilemma in choosing between the two boys. I would have liked to see more of who Jeff is, shown through his dialogue and actions.
The pacing was off at the opening on the novel too – it takes at least five chapters before Serena and Sebastian meet. If the novel started closer to the tragic incident, then we’d get to Serena’s dreaming a lot faster and begin Serena’s journey of falling in love and recovering from her loss.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Serena was a lively, strong character, and watching her and Sebastian fall in love made for a fun read.”
Sally White on Chemistry:
“Although I liked the ending, I felt like the two years that went by should have been touched on before the last scene. Perhaps Preston and Mia sent emails, texts or were so in love they called every day for two full years – that would be dedication! It wouldn’t have to be that dramatic, but some glimpses of their communication would be nice. The last chapter felt a little rushed, so consider slowing things down a bit and letting the reader enjoy that moment at the very end a little more.”
Charlotte Cheshire on How to Say “I Love You” Out Loud:
“… My son is autistic, though much younger than Phillip at just three years old. I hugely identify with Phillip’s meltdowns and communication issues, particularly as his parents struggle to get him to communicate and capture the moment on film. From early on, the plot had me hooked and I couldn’t put the book down.
That said, I do think there are a few areas that could be changed or improved. Right at the beginning, I hated Jordyn because she seemed so unbelievably selfish in trying to pretend Phillip didn’t exist. There was some detail about how hard her childhood had been, with meltdowns in restaurants but in order to identify with her, I needed more. Perhaps some form of introduction to the book, written in her voice which fleshes this out. When did he stop being her cuddly little brother and start to show autistic tendencies? Did he hit her during a meltdown? Did he elope and his parents ran after him leaving her alone? We hear right at the end about the lonely dinners she had during his therapy sessions and we do hear about the principle of fairness they apply but does she agree that she received what she needed? Once I understood her dilemma after her conversation with Alex at the bonfire, I got why she was behaving this way and began to empathise with her but for me, that took too long to come.”
Kyleigh Castronaro on Pondera:
“I would also be careful as you have quite a bit of repetition for things like “a shiver runs down my spine” “stab/stabbing/stabbed/etc” “heart clenches in my chest” “my tears spill over” – it’s hard as a writer to catch these things, I know I’m particularly bad with raised eyebrows and knots in stomachs, so I wanted to alert you to this. Maybe a quick “find” in word will shed some light on how many times you use these turns of phrase. There is also a few redundancies where you use unnecessary adjectives or whispers of memories that the reader doesn’t actually need because the “memory” only happened a few paragraphs before. You have a stunning work of fiction that I think will be a great hit after a little bit more tightening up. I can’t wait to see what else you produce though because, truly, you are a phenomenal writer.”
Thank you for reading, rating, and commenting so industriously, and making Swoon Reads such an awesome community—keep up the great work!