Writing Tips Wednesday #2 with Author Val Portelli

14 November 2018 • Filed under Writing Tips Wednesday



Welcome back to the second post in my Writing Tips Wednesday post. If you would like to take part please contact me.


Writer’s block. Thankfully something I’ve never experienced. (Famous last words.)
Advice– Stop thinking, browse Facebook, do something completely different, let your mind drift. I use a laptop and as something occurs to me, start a file with sometimes little more than a date, the thought or impression, and perhaps an initial title.

These are saved in a ‘Stories to be completed’ file. When the blank page threatens, just browsing through the file can be enough to start the brain ticking over, and before you know it, you’re off and running (or writing.) If you’ve gone off on a tangent, you still have the original prompt for a later date.


Plot holes. A similar idea. Step away from your manuscript. Perhaps use the same characters but in a different setting or theme. If it’s Noir, write as a comedy, turn fantasy into romance. What’s the betting your mind will produce a big spade, and you can confidently return to your novel full of hole-filling ideas?


Proof reading. It’s surprising how the mind reads what you expect to see. Have you seen the memes where a paragraph is written with only the first and last letters correct, and the rest is jumbled but you can still read it? The same thing can happen with your own manuscript. It’s so easy for the the word to be repeated without you even noticing. (Did you see what I did there?)

Try reading your work in different formats. There is a suggestion that reading it backwards will show up errors but I find that rather hard work. Instead, use different formats and fonts – reading the same thing on your phone, tablet, laptop, Kindle and printed sheet all help to pick up typos.


Find and replace.

Do you have a ‘go-to’ word? One of mine is ‘just.’ Doing a search for a favourite word will reveal just 😉 how many times you use it.


Thesaurus and spell checkers.

Look for repetition and highlight the guilty parties. Using an online thesaurus (or even an old-fashioned dictionary) will offer alternatives, and even bring up words you haven’t heard before to help keep your writing creative.

‘Color’ or ‘Colour’? Remember different sides of the pond use alternative spellings. Use whichever is right for you, but don’t mix and match.

The spell check is not infallible. ‘Eye halve a spelling chequer It came with my pea sea.’

A dessert in the desert. Another favourite I always have to look up.


Google. Useful for checking facts. If your character uses her phone to take a photo, was the technology available in your time setting?

Did you know unicorns were believed to be the ancestors of rhinos?

Do you realise how easy it is to get distracted when researching?


Finally, enjoy your writing. It might never make you rich and famous but there is great satisfaction in ‘I did that.’ Read, never stop learning and have fun.


About Val Portelli

Author Val Portelli

Val’s pen name ‘Voinks’ started as a joke then gradually spread through the family, so it was an obvious choice when her first book was published. Although unique it was not memorable, which is the reason for more recent books being published under her own name.

Despite receiving her first rejection letter aged nine from some lovely people at a well-known Women’s magazine, she continued writing intermittently until a freak accident left her housebound and going stir crazy. The rainbow saving her sanity was completing and having her first full length novel published. This was followed by a second traditionally published book before experimenting with self-publishing.

In between writing her longest novel to date at over 100,000 words, she publishes weekly stories for her Facebook author page and web site. She writes in various genres, although her short stories normally include her trademark twist of ‘Quirky.’

A planet with forty-eight-hour days would be useful to have time to write all the stories waiting to be told, and to become better acquainted with the bloggers who are so supportive of authors struggling to release their characters onto the world at large.

Reviews are always welcome as they help pay for food for the Unicorns she breeds in her spare time.


Connect with Val Portelli

Facebook | Blog | Goodreads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *