You'll find a much more extensive list at my writer's guild, Solace, but I figured I'd let this stay up just the same. :) Just a few pointers and suggestions if you're having a little trouble with your writing.

Remember, these are my ideas. If you wanna use any of these, just ask and remember to credit.

          One very important thing you must always remember, is to only write when you feel the inspiration and desire to. Don't force your writing, it won't be half as good.

          If you're writing a novel, I always find it helpful to write an outline for the story. Ideas often tend to get messed up in your head, and this will help you get a clear vision of the progress of your story.

          Music is probably the most important key to writing. Find a secluded place, turn on your computer or open your notepad, and play some music that holds great meaning to you. This will help you to describe your character's thoughts and feelings so much better.

          Remember to spell-check often. Occasional slang can be used (for example, "gotta" instead of "got to", "wanna" instead of "want to" and "cuz" instead of "'cause"), but don't fill your entire story with it. Nobody can stand reading a story with sentences like these, "I'll do this 4 U cuz ur so sweet w/ me." See, it doesn't even make sense, does it?

          Another important thing: watch your grammar. I know it's not exactly something you can control, but if you don't think your grammar is good enough, ask one of your friends to proof read it for you.

          One of the most important rules in writing is, "Show, don't tell." This is actually a really difficult thing to do and I don't think that any writer will ever master it completely. All right, let me try to make an example. When you read a line like this:

"Nick watched Elena from across the room and immediately knew that he loved her, and he wanted to cry because she could never know about his feelings for her."

Does this line make you sympathize with Nick? Does it pull on your heartstrings and make you wanna cry along with him? Didn't think so. That's because this line only uses descriptive words instead of actually showing us the turmoil Nick's going through. Hence the rule, "show, don't tell." :) You don't always have to say the words in order for people to catch on. Don't assume your readers are stupid. They can add two and two together, you know? ;) Here's another example:

"When Brian came back several hours later, he found Billie sleeping peacefully on the couch. A small smile formed on his face as he grabbed the nearest blanket and wrapped it around her. Being careful not to wake her up, he gently kissed her forehead before going back to his own room."

This is a better way to describe emotions. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that Brian cares about this girl, right? And words like "nervous", "sad", "happy" or "in love" weren't even used. Sometimes actions speak a lot louder than words, even in stories.

          One thing you have to watch out for in fanfiction is making your BSB character a clichée. Yes, we know that Kevin can be a father type, we know that Brian is funny 23 hours of the day, we know that Howie likes to wink, we know that AJ is a flirtatious rebel and we know that Nick is the one that's trying to prove he's not the dumb blonde everyone's trying to make him. We know all this already. Wouldn't it be a lot more challenging to make Brian this cynical prick that's miserable all the time? Or make Kevin go out and get drunk and sleep with women every night so he's always missing meetings and rehearsals? At least there's a bit more challenge in that. There are far too many stereotypical stories out there.

          Don't disregard the 'done-to-death' stories right away. All right, so reading about 5 girls who go on tour with BSB and miraculously ends up dating them all has gotten a little old, but there are other plots out there you can do a lot with to make them more interesting. In my opinion, originality doesn't always have to be the plot of the story, but how you write it. The 'friends-into-lovers' plot is always cute, but you could add so many twists and turns to it. Here's an idea:

Kevin and Kennedy are friends, but Kevin's in love with her. Kennedy, on the other hand, is in love with Brian who's married to Louisa that's having an affair with Howie. Kennedy's always confiding in Kevin about her feelings for Brian, and Kevin listens and gives her advice even though it's killing him. Brian finds out about the affair, has a major fist fight with Howie and goes out to get completely hammered. He comes to Kennedy for comfort and they end up sleeping together. Brian wakes up later and immediately regrets it, but just as he's about to leave, Kevin barges into the room and finds them together and all hell breaks loose.

Yeah, this is a stupid idea, but you see how quickly this can turn into a huge drama by just going with the 'friends-into-lovers' idea?

          When you've been writing non-stop for a few hours, you're bound to be tired. So take a break. Do something else for a while. Watch TV or just relax, listen to music and think of new ideas for your story. It's actually incredibly relaxing and helpful.

          Have a beverage nearby. Some water or something with sugar. Writing can be very exhausting, and you need energy to keep going.

          Remember, don't rush your story. A thought-out plot is much better than something you just scribbled down when you were bored a rainy Sunday afternoon. I've had some of my ideas in my head for about a year. When you're sitting in the bus, or when you're bored in class, think of ways to develop your idea. Think of dialogues for them to say and incidents for them to go through. Nothing needs to be rushed.

          And most importantly: writing comes from the heart. I know it's terrribly cliché, but trust me - if you can actually live yourself into your story, feel every feeling your characters do and get so lost in your writing you completely forget your surroundings, you've got a talent only few people are blessed with. No matter how much techinal advice one can give you, it's your ideas and and thoughts that makes people love your stories.

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