Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Completely Change Your Writing Style

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills 

Most fiction writers haves experienced low times in their career where rejections, low sales, and reviews sink them to the bottom of a deep, dark pool. Admit it, we’ve all been there, and oh, the things we tell ourselves.

We think about quitting, and we might for half a day. 
We have a good cry, but it doesn’t solve a thing.
We invite our friends to a pity-party.
We attempt to tell ourselves that our lagging career is not our fault. Then comes the list of who to blame.
We consider applying to McDonalds as a Big Mac flipper.
But the best choice we writers can make is to embark upon a journey to discover how our writing can take on a unique style, voice, and marketability while entertaining readers with an amazing story. Isn’t joy and satisfaction why we spend hours of time in seclusion devoted to story? 

This, my friend, is why I want to ask you 12 questions that might cause you to completely change your writing style.

  1. Are you a careful plotter or an organic writer? Perhaps now is the time to reconsider and revamp your writing process.
  2. Are you attending writing conferences, reading the how-to books, and actively participating in any online or physical writer’s groups?
  3. Fiction writers can’t view their calling as a hobby. It’s a  serious pursuit, and it’s up to us to develop the craft and never stop learning. Determination means a whole-hearted commitment to every aspect of writing and marketing a novel.
  4. Do you ask God for guidance before touching the keyboard?
  5. Do you believe in yourself and have confidence in your ability to weave a story into a masterpiece?
  6. Do your novels contain high stakes with unpredictable events? The biggest insult to any writer is for readers to omit the middle and skip to the last chapter because they’ve figured out the story and ending.
  7. Have you completed backstory to know what motivates your character in chapter one, line one? It’s critical for a writer to know what happened in a character’s life from the time he/she was born to the point of story opening.
  8. How are your characters different from anything you’ve ever read? Every plot has been written, but it’s up to the writer to make story and characters unforgettable.
  9. Is the genre you’re writing the one you feel the most passion? We can’t expect readers to get excited about our work if we aren’t 110% committed to our genre.
  10. Why are the best, the best? Read, read, read in your genre. Pick up the novels on the best seller list. Highlight. Circle. Analyze. Use those admirable techniques in your writing.
  11. Are you fulfilling your readers’ expectations? Study what readers value in a novel. If you aren’t sure, post the question on your Facebook page or other social media for immediate feedback.
  12. Here’s the kicker question: What are three things you dislike about your writing and what can you do to develop those challenges?           

When you’ve completed these twelve questions, write down three things you already like about your writing style? Great! Now celebrate!
I can’t imagine doing anything but writing fiction. But it’s not easy. It’s a constant evaluation of my priorities and keeping up with the world of publication. But more than once I’ve had to completely change something about my writing style.


Make your #writing career a success story! via @DiannMills on @EdieMelson #fiction #pubtip (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than sixty books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational ReadersChoice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2014 president of the Romance Writers of Americas Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Visit her website at and connect with her on


  1. These are really good questions. My weakness is not plot, conflict or even setting but uniqueness of characters.

    Amber Schamel
    Bringing HIStory to Life

    1. Look for something quirky and unique about them. Actually, look to the backstory.

  2. DiAnn,
    Thank you for this post. Answering the 12 questions confirm I am a writer, one who needs to keep writing and to keep learning, keeping God in mind the whole time.