My top 4 writing tips are: 1. Don't overuse proper names. In a scene with only two characters, trust your pronouns. 2. Avoid long, complex sentences. (I still have to rein myself on that one.) 3. Don't start your book by telling the entire backstory in the prologue or first chapter. 4. Don't overdo the dialogue tags.
Which leads to my next bit of advice. The "ly" tags.
I was never one to re-read books because I rarely forgot an opening scene or plot line. However, now that I'm a little older and my memory is a tad rusty (cough) I've enjoyed returning to those earlier favorites and re-reading them. One thing I've learned is even the most talented of the bestselling authors made the same beginners' mistakes.
A couple years ago, I started publishing my backlist to audio, and I became addicted to audiobooks. I've found I notice those common mistakes more while listening to a story. With a print book, we often skim past tags and snags such as the overuse of proper names. (Ben went to the bank, then Ben came back and Ben answered the phone, etc.)
My ears are more sensitive to dialogue tags. While listening to older titles recently, I noticed the overuse of tag lines with "ingly" and "edly" endings. Example: A character said something achingly, fleetingly, bracingly, piercingly, wonderingly, determinedly, disgustedly, offhandedly, and more.
So, the question for readers and writers, what's your take on the tag lines? Do you appreciate the descriptive adverbs? Do you use, overuse or refuse to use the "ly" words? Do they annoy you and pull you out of the story? Please feel free to share your opinion!
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