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Develop A Terrific Writing Style In Five Steps

Updated on October 9, 2013

Who Is Your Favorite Writer?

You can answer that question in the comment section or not, but let me ask you a follow-up question: why is that person your favorite writer? What is it about their writing style that ranks them at the top of your list? Is it their voice? Their word usage? Their ability to paint a scene or set a mood? Or is it that all-encompassing tool called ‘writing style’?

We all have one you know. We all have our unique writing style. That does not mean, of course, that we all have a good writing style; it just means that the way we write is distinctly us. It is our signature as a writer.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice if our signature was memorable in a good way? Hopefully, the tips I have to give you will help you to develop a writing style that will leave your readers gasping for breath and checking their heart rate.

Shall we begin?

A writing style begins with writing
A writing style begins with writing | Source

SAY GOODBYE TO CLICHES

Cliches are clichés because everyone says them. Is that the kind of writer you want to be, blithely following the crowd to the tranquil Sea of Mediocrity? Of course not! So quit using phrases like “hungry as a horse” or “cute as a button.” First of all, if someone you know is as hungry as a horse they really need to visit a weight loss clinic and secondly, buttons aren’t too damn cute.

Quite frankly, clichés are the mark of a lazy writer, and if you are trying to impress an editor or publisher or even your spouse, showing them signs of laziness is probably not your best decision.

Toss out the clichés and for an alternative, make your own. Craft an original phrase and you will be saying something about your creativity and your work ethic, both of which look good on your resume as a writer.

Instead of “hungry as a horse” try “hungry as my Aunt Martha on Jenny Craig.” Oops, you can’t use that now because I just coined it….well, make up your own and let others copy you.

SIMPLIFY METAPHORS

Let me preface this section by saying I love metaphors. I am always dazzled by a clever reference to some other place and time that perfectly reflects the point being made. However, I am not a fan of long-winded, over-complicated, intellectually stifling, anus-puckering metaphors. By the time I get done reading one of those I want to 1) shoot the writer and 2) vomit the toxicity from my brain.

Repeat after me: metaphors are wonderful; heavily-laden thesaurus-dependent metaphors are ugly.

Got it?

Think of it this way: if your metaphor is so burdened with wordiness that it distracts from the story you are telling, you might have overstepped the whole purpose of the metaphor. Keep that in mind the next time you feel the need to pattern your next story after the style of a dead Russian writer.

Some thoughts on the writing process

Spread your wings and fly
Spread your wings and fly | Source

ELIMINATE WORDINESS

Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Mark Twain

Let’s do a writing exercise right now. Go find an old article you wrote, and print it out. Now cross out every word that is not absolutely necessary to the meaning of the article. When you are done you can add a few words to make the English proper, and then you will have a slimmed-down, bare-bones article.

Writers have a nasty habit from time to time of having verbal diarrhea. Look it up and decide if that’s what you want to be.

I am a big fan of mysteries, and my favorite mystery writers have an almost anorexic style about them.

I’m currently working on a mystery, and this is my opening paragraph…..

“I take no pleasure in killing. Never have, despite my background. The simple fact of the matter is that some people deserve to be eliminated. The molesters, the pimps, the drug dealers and the serial killers, they all deserve death. They deal in death and death they shall receive, and I am the Fed Ex man more than willing to drop by with a little package for them.”

I can probably still cut out a few words from that, but I think it gives you an idea about the concept of less being more.

TOSS “HE SAID” TO THE CURB

This is one of my own personal peeves. When writing dialogue, it is not necessary to write “he said’ every single time someone in your book or story speaks. First of all, the mere fact that it is in quotation marks tells the reader that someone is speaking. Secondly, if you have done your job as a writer you do not need to tell us who is speaking in most instances.

For example, if only two people are in a scene, and they are having a conversation, is it really necessary to identify the speaker after every line of dialogue? Of course it isn’t, and yet I see this done time and time again. For the love of God, people, I’m smart enough to figure out who is speaking when there are only two people in the scene. Give me credit for that much intelligence, please!

The other point I want to make about this “he said” syndrome is that many writers will add an adverb along with it, as in “he said sadly.” Again, if you have done your job as a writer there is no need to tell us the character is sad. Duh! How about “he turned to leave with tears flowing down his face”…..so much better, don’t you think?

DEVELOP YOUR READER’S SENSES

Most people reading your article, story or book have five senses. You should be writing to those five senses and not to just one. You should desire to have the reader in the scene with you, fully experiencing it all and not just listening to you tell them about it.

Do your job well and the reader will taste the salt of the margarita, feel the soft texture of the lead character’s naked hip, hear the pain in the cry for justice, see the vibrant colors of the Mexican sunset and smell the coppery scent of blood as it pools beneath the gunshot victim. Don’t do your job well and the reader might as well be watching cartoons on the Disney Channel.

Were these suggestions helpful?

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If I can help you then let me know
If I can help you then let me know

So There You Go

Now I have one final exercise for you. First, answer what kind of writing style you want to have. Second, ask yourself if you have that style. Better yet, try that exercise with another person. Tell them what you aspire to be and then ask them if you achieved it. If the answer is no to the second question then you probably have some work to do.

Don’t let that discourage you. All writers have work to do, so you are hanging with a pretty cool crowd.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....I'm sorry, Paula, but I'm laughing out loud right now. I can only imagine. Little kids exhaust me nowadays and I'm not ashamed to say that at all.

      Be well my friend....only two more weeks and you are FREE times two. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Yes.....Yes......still in Georgia......still in Georgia......going home the 6th....going home the 6th.......been doing the TWIN thing for 4 weeks, non stop.......been doing the TWIN thing for 4 weeks, non stop.

      Eager to get home to my singular living......OMG!!!!! I LOVE them all. BUT.....I am getting O L D . Every inch of me aches!! Times TWO.....just like everything else around here!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Paula! How ya doing? Still visiting relatives I assume? To answer your question, it will be in a month or so. Bev has to format it since I'm totally ignorant when it comes to technology...as soon as she does her thing I'll have it out for sale.

      Hope you are well my dear friend.

      bill

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Jim Rohn is a wizard. I subscribe to his newsletter......Am not familiar with your favorite author, but if you like him, I must read him, soon. I'm afraid I am hard-pressed to name a favorite for myself, since I go through periods of reading to suit my mood and/or situation at any given moment.

      So, to my question: When can I put my order in for the BOOK?......."The BOOK... No Aspiring Writer Can Do Without." Author: Bill Holland, Olympia, Washington. UP++++PINNED

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow! Joe, that was glowing praise, written by a master. What a journey through the Land of Words that comment was.

      My next one, on Monday, is a baseball metaphor. You won't want to miss that one....in fact, I dedicate it to you my friend, for you among the many will fully appreciate the lesson learned and the payment due on that lesson.

      Aloha buddy!

      bill

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Bill, I've never asked you for help as a writer. Why? Because you are absolutely a godsend in anticipating those basic things we need to know and generously sharing your thoughts with them. I just wanted you to know that when the day comes when I actually ask you for help, my question and comments will definitely challenge you...and as writers, that's a good thing!

      For now, I'm enjoying immensely these daily gems you share with us. And what's really cool is that--from the perspective of someone who's reading five days' worth of your writing in the same sitting--you have this absolutely delightful way of capturing and keeping this reader's interest from word one to word last. Your indelible signature is in every article, and your mind reads like a marathon walk through meadow bouquets of fuchsia, gold, earthy browns, and twelve hues of green as well as the granite challenge of a cliff wanting to be climbed. Amazing grace in the form of Someone Bigger touching your soul with the yearning to spill your other-worldly thoughts into cyberspace.

      As always, thanks for sharing your wonderful mind, heart, and soul with us, Bill! Aloha and mahalo!

      ~Joe

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Mark, good to see you again my Italian/Asian friend. Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 4 years ago from Italy

      This is a wonderful tips to me and for the greater development of my writing. You nailed it again billybuc, my friend. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teresa, I have read a lot of Koontz and I love that Odd Thomas series.

      As for teaching...what happened? Well, I hope things work out and best of luck with your renewed efforts in writing. Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jeannie, that's because you have a conversational style to your writing, and it is one of the things that makes you so enjoyable to read. Don't change a thing my friend; you are fun to read.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Another great article filled with inspiration. Looks like I'm back in the supply pool as far as teaching goes, for awhile anyway. The good news is I'll have lots of time to refocus on my writing. I've decided not to give up on HP but I will be branching out. I will continue to look to you for inspiration when frustration hits.

      My favourite writers are Stephen King and Dean Koontz, especially his Odd Thomas series.

      Take care my friend and I look forward to more inspiration!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Great advice, Bill. I've got to work on the wordiness thing. I just like to ramble on about nothing sometimes. Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, indeed, a storyteller....as am I, and although it may not pay well yet, I think there will always be a place in Literature for storytellers. I sure hope so. :) Thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I am a story teller, as I just feel myself sitting on the couch telling you all about birds, gangsters, serial killers, whatever the mood is that strikes me. Quite frankly, I AM sitting on the couch while I am weaving my tales for you. Favorite writer? None! Favorite topics? Diverse as possible, that is my fodder. Thanks again, dear teacher, for your writing style, and in these cases, it is only the facts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, thank you....you had me laughing as I read my words.....yes, definitely my pet peeve. :) Thank you!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      In tossing "he said" to the curb: "For the love of God, people, I’m smart enough to figure out who is speaking when there are only two people in the scene. Give me credit for that much intelligence, please!"

      Lol. Loved this gem, and all the others in this terrific hub. :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Alicia. That's why I write them, so thank you!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I appreciate all the writing tips that you're sharing, Bill. They are so useful!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always a pleasure drbj. I love that quote and it is so accurate with regards to writing....or life for that matter. LOL Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL..Nell, it's hard to believe I never heard that...maybe it's a British thing. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Great writing tips, Bill, and thanks for reminding me of Twain's damn appropriate quote about writers substituting 'damn' for 'very.'

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      I won't! lol! yes the fish saying was supposed to be a tongue in cheek writers way of trying to keep the words to a minimum. I think the quote starts off as something like,

      I had a fish who kept swimming in the tank, and it went round and round and....lol! so we used to sit in the classroom with the tutor saying, 'don't forget the darn fish'! lol!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, I've never heard that saying....how odd that I haven't. Thanks as always for visiting....just don't cut too much of your work. :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Great tips billy, and it brought back memories from my creative writing classes. We were told to cut and cut and cut! lol! we were always being reminded of the old writers saying, A fish swims, evidently its the joke version of how far we can cut down a sentence! lol!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's always a pleasure, vkwok...thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for this great, helpful hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure DDE...I appreciate you taking the time to visit.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great points for any writer to take heed in and focus on their writing gestures, thanks for the informative hub on his topic.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, thank you! If I'm so talented how come I'm not making very much money? LOL

      I really do appreciate it Irish. Let's hope we both find some financial reward for the hard work, eh?

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      LOVE these tips and will be working on them for sure. Verbal diarrhea I think I can be guilty of so will cut out the B.S! Love your exercises so will be doing those too. I can see how all these tips make perfect sense. Thanks for sharing these tips, we are incredibly blessed having such a talent imparting all this advice. Have a great day my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lyric, you echo what many writers say and feel...writing for money can wear a person down and put a great deal of pressure on the writer. Good luck to you my friend, and I hope you never lose the passion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, you are absolutely right, sometimes it can't be helped. All great writers use it but sparingly.

      As for King, his writing book is excellent for sure and you are right about his character development. He is a master writer in my opinion.

      Thank you my friend and have a great Tuesday.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, you made an interesting observation about developing our style in our formative years.....I'm pretty certain I did not, but I'm also pretty certain many writers do. :) I do know that emulating your favorite writer's style is a great exercise and can develop style.

      Thanks a lot for a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Graham! At least you didn't ask how I know about the coppery scent of blood. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, some of the greats are greats because they broke the rules and made it work....and a long metaphor can be written if it is written well....and there is the key again....the greats can write them well. :) Maybe some day I'll be able to as well, but until that day, I think I'll just consider myself a normal writer and follow established rules. :)

      blessings "darlin" :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Martin, for sharing your experience in confirmation of my points.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, I hope you finally got some sleep. Thank you again!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Bill, great resources and information as always. I've always wanted to write my own story because it's the type of story that grips the heart. Honestly, I've never tried. Writing has always been a passion of mine, but in more cases then not, it's a job. Any writer at this state, well, tough. I haven't lost my passion, but when your writing pays the bills, it can take a lot out of you. Great exercises, never thought about my writing style. Informative as always Bill.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Although my background is English literature, I have to say Stephen King is my favourite writer. Why? I haven't run across anyone yet who can do character development they way he does. With a few simple sentences, these fictional creations become real people who I can relate to and take an interest in. No character is superfluous; everyone is there for a reason be it to cause conflict or simply to move the story forward. I've just read King's book 'On Writing' and found it so useful. I also noticed how much of his writing is based on his own experiences. It brings the whole 'write what you know' into sharper focus. It's probably what gives his characters life.

      I liked the advice you offered on the whole 'he said' conundrum. I don't like using it because I feel it interrupts the flow of dialogue between the characters, but sometimes it just can't be helped.

      Thank you for another masterclass.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      Sure, it is about trimming the bone but I find that the more I trim, the more I find myself writing in prose! I just can’t help myself!

      I sometimes wonder if style is something which we have any control over at all.

      I could not choose any one favorite author so I chose a few. I also think that reading done in our formative years may have much more to do with our style of writing today than we actually realize.

      Ruth Rendell, Nadine Gordimer, Alexander McCall Smith. Athol Fugard Wilbur Smith

      This piece gave me a lot to think about Billy, thank you.

    • profile image

      old albion 4 years ago

      Smell the coppery scent of blood! That phrase says it all Bill. First class.

      voted up and all.

      Graham.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Ah, yes, edit, edit and then edit again! Oops, .... Some of the greats used extended (conceit) metaphors... Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost and Ted Hughes in "The Thought Fox" and in doing so, made it more convincing.

      Right now I really love reading C. S. Lewis.

      hahaha I love that about Bev and, yes, we women can talk one's ears off ... oops, and you are wise to listen : ) and right here, I would normally add a "no doubt" which I use way too much no doubt ... there I go again ... no doubt.

      Thanks for pointing out such over usage of all of these words, I mean our "darlings"... so many words, so little time!

      Hugs, Faith Reaper

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      "DEVELOP YOUR READER’S SENSES" has really paid off for me. You are so right.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 4 years ago from Scotland

      I wouldn't write it if I didn't mean it...so you must deserve it :)

      Ignore the bad spelling in my previous comment. I obviously should be sleeping at 1.30am, not writing!

      Anna :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again Anna! You are such a loyal follower and I appreciate you very much.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 4 years ago from Scotland

      True words here. It is hard to cut out those long sweated over words... your totally right thought.

      I will be heeded the advice. Useful and helpful information.

      Anna.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, exactly right....it does hurt to slash unnecessary words. They are our babies and it just seems wrong for whatever reason....but often necessary. :) Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carter, good to see you. I'll bet if I went through my first novel I would find the same thing. It is so easy to fall in love with particular words and use them over and over again. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, you are too busy getting published in magazines. :) You are too successful to do fiction. LOL Thanks for stopping by.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Great advice, Bill! Wordiness is my problem. Like many writers, I sometimes become too attached to my writing, flawed as it is. It hurts to slash and cut unnecessary words, but I'm trying!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      You've made some really great points here Billy..that's why it's so important to edit & edit again..put it away, then bring it back out and edit some more..

      You know on a recent edit on one of my books I found that I had unnecessarily used a word 49 times when going through looking for repeated words.. appreciate your welcome advice, thank you..sharing & tweeting this one..cheers

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      Great tips. as always. I need to get back to my fiction writing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, I'm excited that you are excited....truly! Thank you for being who you are and I hope that little exercise helps you.

      hugs and love special lady, coming your way

      bill

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      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I've learned more with this article than any of the others. Will try the exercise because I know it will help me. I'm guilty often of being to wordy.

      Thank you Bill for another lesson. I'm excited about this. Hugs ~ Audrey

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz for a "very" good comment....just sayin'

      LOL....you are appreciated!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      yes it can, Lizzy, and that is why I avoid long-winded metaphors like the plague. :)

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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      You've managed to write another awesome article! My favorite author is Dean Koontz- just thought I'd add that here. I love his humor combined with his writing.

      I'll have to check my writing and see if I use the word "very" a lot, but I know I at least used to utlize the word "just" which is most likely "just" as bad!

      Thanks for the tips, as always!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      A puckered anus can be quite painful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Imogen, they may be obvious but most writers, myself included, tend to forget about them....just consider me your own personal post it note. :) Thank you so much for the visit.

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England

      You always have such good advice for us wannabes, you make it sound so obvious, but I still hadn't thought of it before!

      Thanks for all the tips, will try to take them on board :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crafty, you sound like my Bev. That woman can talk for sure; at least I'm smart enough to listen when she does start in on one of her vocal metaphors. :) Thanks for the visit my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, don't think for a second that I missed your cliche about grandma. LOL Nice one!

      And it was lovely spending some time with you this Monday morning. The coffee will always be on if you feel like dropping by.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I'm impressed with Collins as well. As for my new mystery, it is in hibernation mode right now, but I can see it stretching and wiping the sleep out of its eyes, so any day now I'll pick it up again and start working on it.

      Thanks for stopping by...the kids are heading for school soon, right? Exciting times for any family. :)

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      LOL Billy, I'm one of those long-winded metaphor people but usually when I speak, not write (I hope). My mother is always first to tell me not to forget to breathe when I'm speaking.

    • profile image

      anndango 4 years ago

      I always look forward to Monday mornings so I can read your newest hub. I agree with everything, including the use of cliches which are about as fresh as my dear old grandma-ma's outhouse. I admit sometimes, if I'm furiously writing along, I use a cliche as a placeholder then go back and either delete it or come up with something else.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      After reading your opening paragraph for your new mystery, I want to read more! This is right up my alley...

      I've always been a fan of Stephen King and love this genre. After reading a lot of YA books these last few years, I am going to add Suzanne Collins (author of the Hunger Games Trilogy). I love her style...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well LK, that is great news, and thank you for the smile you gave me this morning. I hope there is a lot of tread left on those tires and the wheels are good and lubed. :)

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 4 years ago

      Thought I'd start my afternoon off with a tasty cup of Bill's inspiration! Once again another fabulous gift . You have sufficiently woken me up and gotten my wheels spinning for the entire day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh no, DJ! I considered that a huge compliment. I'm a country boy at heart and I appreciate sausage gravy as any true lover of food would. Thank you so much for the comparison. :)

      bill

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      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      Bill, I did not mean to imply that this was not great information--it is.

      It will be joining my 'Keep' file along with all the other great Hubs on

      writing that you have give us.

      Did not want you to think I did not appreciate this Hub.

      Just clearing the air.

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, Burke is the master of the crime drama genre and it's so nice to know someone else who thinks that. His descriptions of a scene are so damn good and I'm filled with jealousy.

      As for the adverbs.....it kills me not to use them sometimes. LOL They are our little darlings, aren't they?

      Thank you for your thoughts, Jaye!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I did ask, Sha, and I like Koontz as well. I have read quite a few of his books and he has never disappointed me.

      Hey buddy, have a great week....I know I will.

      love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Christin! If these help then I am a happy writer.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Good morning, Bill - I slammed on the brakes when I saw the photo of James Lee Burke, one of my favorite writers . (CREOLE BELLE was my recent Burke read.) I wish I could write half as well as he does.

      I think most writers have to fight themselves to avoid adverbs. I do. Sometimes I let myself include them in a first draft, then mercilessly kill them when I edit. It's tough to "kill one's darlings", but better for the writing.

      Voted Up++

      Jaye

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I will have to try the exercise you mentioned (crossing out unnecessary words) and see what shakes out. Good advice, as always. Another one for my Bill's Writing Tips file.

      BTW, my favorite author is Dean Koontz. He gets my blood pumping and I (almost) never can predict what's coming next. I have most of what he's written and there is only one I didn't care for. That's a pretty good track record if you ask me. You did ask me, right? :-)

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      Great advice here. I am delving more into some fiction and short stories and your tips are most helpful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, any old day that my writing is compared to sausage gravy then I am a happy writer. LOL Thank you as always my friend. I'm just tossing stuff out there; if you don't need it then leave it for the next gal.

      Have a great week!

      bill

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      Good Monday morning, Bill.

      I lap up your info like sausage gravy left on a plate.

      It is just too good to wash down the drain.

      I don't have a pin group, but I do have a 'save' file.

      This one will be in good company!

      Thanks,

      DJ.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Janine, and thank you for always being here. Have a fantastic Monday!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I smile every time you mention my own pin section...thank you, Carol...I kind of like it...hungry as Carol after a 3 hour bike ride. LOL

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, no doubt King is a good one. I have watched videos by him about writing that are excellent. The man knows what he is talking about.

      Good luck with that job search and alternate plans. I'm crossing my fingers for you.

      bill

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      I am so going to try this in my free time now and seriously love your suggestions. Wonderful article, but again I always love getting your thoughts on writing. Thank you an hoping you are having a great morning so far!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Some good thoughts here..Hungry as Carol after a 3 hour bike ride. Don't use that now..HAHA. Very good ideas here Bill and ones to take heed. This is going in your pin section and votes and all the good stuff..Sharing..Of course.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      These are some great tips, and I look forward to working on those exercises at some point.

      Stephen King is my favorite writer! He writes so down to earth, but pulls me into his stories. Whether he is writing a horror story, or about his childhood, all of it makes me feel like I am right there, and I identify with him.

      Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a great day.

      I have today off from work, obviously. So I am job-hunting as much as I can, and putting together back-up plans, in case I don't get a full-time job soon.

      ~ Kathryn