Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Twelve Writing Success Tips by Annslee Urban

Once you've been writing for a while, you learn more than how to put a sentence together. Author Anslee Urban shares a few things she's learned that might help you, too. -- Sandy

Anslee: A writer’s success is fueled by hard work, creativity, passion and—patience. A journey through edits, submissions, rejections, deadlines and sales. Tireless effort, full of anxiety and doubt until the day you see your name proudly displayed across the cover of your published masterpiece.

But it doesn’t end there. As new stories rumble in your head and beg to be brought to life the writing journey continues and with it writing habits develop and new perspectives are gained.

Today after five published books I’ve learned some things about myself and the craft that I love.
  • A little talent goes a long way when mixed with determination. In the words of author John Irving, “I wouldn’t say I have a talent that’s special. It strikes me that I have an unusual kind of stamina.” 
  • Decide which part of the day or night best suites you to write and plan your life accordingly. Write when your creativity peaks. For me it’s late at night. Quiet. No interruptions. My characters come alive. 
  • Think with your senses as well as your brain. Smell. Hear. Feel. And write accordingly. 
  • Let the audience add up two plus two, don’t give the story away. Build tension and then give it a snap. 
  • Write through your character’s eyes – let the audience see their vulnerability, their past hurts, their fears, but not to the point to make them look weak, but to make them strong, determined, human. A hero that overcomes his past hurts. A heroine who learns to forgive… 
  • Cultivate a distinct voice – write from your heart. A writer’s voice is like a singer’s. Unique. It can create a following. 
  • Write tight – too many words lose the story and bores the reader. Don’t over describe characters or settings. Allow the reader to conjure up some of their own images. 
  • Always include a hook—an attention grabbing sentence at the start of your story. One that draws the reader in, piques their curiosity and introduces them to the author’s writing style. Author Stephen King described it as: Fast, clean and deadly like a bullet. A promise to what is to come. 
  • Read your story out loud. It is the best way to hear the rhythm of the sentences. 
  • Read. Rewrite. Read. Rewrite. It’s okay to change your mind. Good ideas are often killed off by better ones.
  • Write every day. Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination saps energy and creativity.
  • Pray. Every step of the way.

Based on your experience or things you've been taught, what can you add to this list?


Annslee Urban is grew up watching old-time romance movies, which she attributes to her passion for sweet romance, true love and happy endings. A daydreamer at heart, Annslee began her writing journey when the youngest of her five children started school. For several years she worked as a freelance writer for newspapers in her community and has written for magazines and online publications.

When Annslee isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, traveling to faraway places, playing with grandbabies and all things chocolate! 

Deadly Setup is her third book with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense.