Tricks or Treats?

OrangePumpkinsBy Dale Spencer, @DaleSpencerwork

Would you like tricks as in writing tips and/or treats as in a YA hardcover giveaway contest?

Pick one:





Tricks: Writing Tips

(If you want to skip this section and head for the treats, click here)


To be honest, there’s no right or wrong way to write a book. So, I decided to share a few writing tricks that have worked for me.

Three Book Writing Tips

1. Inspiration Drives Writing 

Nobody needs to have an epic dream to write an amazing story. Write about a topic that inspires you to write. You’ll write better, if you like what you’re writing about. If you dislike your writing idea, stop and write about something else that interests you.

2. Write at Least 7 Hours Each Week

I know most writing advice says to write every day, but it’s not always possible to write each day. Sometimes you can make-up the “hour a day minimum” on the weekend or on certain weekdays when you find the time.  Basically, it’s best to write each week.

3. Write Out the Entire Rough Draft

When I write my first drafts, I tend to write freestyle. The first draft should be fun and creative. It’s easier to write freestyle than with rules and restrictions. Are these drafts masterpieces? Nope. But they serve as a foundation toward improving and polishing your work.

Three Editing Tips

1. Research and Take Editing Breaks

We all know fiction is make-believe, but isn’t it more interesting to read when you know an author has done his/her homework? Usually, I do my research when I need to take editing breaks from my book. This may include doing things directly and indirectly related to your writing such as reading, hanging with friends and family, watching movies, etc. Sometimes, it’s best to work on other writing material such as sequels, prequels, short stories, and idea folder materials.

2. Work With An Editor That You Trust

For me, this is an important one. If you need an editor, I suggest finding someone who has at least ten years of writing experience and will be honest with not only your grammar, but also plot and characters. Sure you can hire professionals, but I highly suggest finding people you know locally such as librarians, teachers, friends, and family members who are readers and editing pros.

3. Search for and Delete Anomalies

    • My most recent problematic word in my book 1 was the word “that.” I discovered I had over 2,000 unnecessary “thats” in my book.  A good way to check for repetitive words is using helpful writing tools such as Microsoft Word’s “CTRL + F,” Google, and Scrivener.
    • It’s a good idea to check for unnecessary adverbs or words that end in “ly” like the word “slowly.” Sometimes adverbs are helpful, and other times they can be a nuisance.
    • My favorite writing blooper is writing one word that’s spelled right, but used incorrectly. Here’s a good basic example: “I like to right a lot.” Yes, it should be “I like to write a lot,” but you would be surprised at how easy it is to overlook. Always reread your work carefully.

What are some helpful writing tips of yours?

Treats: Giveaway Contest 

(If you want to skip this section and head for the tricks, click here)


Do you like reading young adult and are interested in owning signed copies of the following books: The 5th Wave, Reboot, and Shadow and Bone? If so, then read the books’ brief descriptions and enter the Rafflecopter contest.

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey 

The 5th Wave

What would happen if Hunger Games and Twilight had an alien baby? The answer is The 5th Wave. If you like sci-fi thriller books filled with suspense, action adventure, strong characters, and romance, you might like this one. The main character (MC), Cassie, is a survivor who’s not afraid to shoot and ask questions later. She’s got great instincts and she knows martial arts.

Reboot by Amy Tintera


It’s a sci-fi crossbreed between zombie and robotic behavior. Enter into a dystopian world where teens can die and come back as reboots. The longer you stay dead, the stronger your reboot superpowers. The MC, Wren, was dead for 178 minutes, which is the longest time anyone has been dead. If you like exciting action and romance, then this book is for you!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone

While the MC, Alina, may not be as strong as the other two MCs, she does have an awesome “sunshine” superpower. She lives in a Russian influenced world where people known as Grisha can manipulate their surroundings such as the ability to stop heartbeats, to move water or wind, and to alter metals. One of the most interesting characters is the Darkling because he’s the most experienced and has the ability to move shadows. So, if you’re looking for a good combo of fantasy and romance, check this book out!

By the way, Amazon lets you download the samplers to The Fifth Wave and Shadow and Bone for free!

Wanna see last month’s post? Click Top 10 Favorite YA Heroines. Also, if you’re curious about the NYC writer’s conference, check out Karlee Bradbury’s blog. The same giveaway contest is being held on Karlee’s website, too.

Enter Giveaway Contest! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congrats Kristie for winning a copy of Reboot! Stay tuned for November’s giveaway contest…

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One Response to “Tricks or Treats?”

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