If you could write five to ten tips on how to write well, what would they be?
...and would they differ between fiction and non-fiction; online and offline; textbook vs popular?
1. Proofread before submitting. I'm an ex-English teacher so I am very particular about spelling, grammar and punctuation. It's very frustrating to read articles, stories, etc., that have not been proofread. Maybe your submission would be accepted if you took that extra time to capitalize a person's name or type "had gone" instead of "had went".
2. Only include what is absolutely necessary. Writing more to make a paragraph or story longer doesn't make it better. A long description or conversation can be grueling when a few adjectives or sentences depict the same thing.
3. Make your characters fit their descriptions. If your character is a distinguished gentleman, his language should be impeccable. If your character, on the other hand, is a child from a farming town where children work the fields instead of attend school, the language should play the part. For example, the child wouldn't say, "I'm going to shoot those rattlesnakes." It's more likely that s/he would say, "I'm goin' t' shoot them ratlers."
4. The setting of the story is like a painting the reader can step into. Help the reader identify with the background and where the story is taking place by using clear, descriptive sentences. For example, not so clear: As I walked down the driveway, the moonlight shone on the gravel in my path. Clearer: As I walked down the gravel driveway, the moonlight sprinkled jewels in my path.
5. Only write when the words are flowing. If you have writer's block, don't force yourself. Relax, take a nap, meditate, exercise, take a walk or run. Whatever suits you to take a break from your writing project, do it. Next time you begin, you'll have better luck at putting the words to paper.
Different styles of writing demand different techniques but no matter what you are writing, your work should be:
interesting for the reader
1. In both cases the aim is to write with an aim, i.e. to direct your readers to the desired conclusion and lead them in a way they can follow your prose.
In both fiction and non-fiction you have the end in sight, not your reader, therefore you need to 'jolly them along': 'keep going, not far now' or 'there's something worthwhile for you when you get there'.
2. Don't 'talk down' to your readers. If they don't know the material you're writing about, get them interested by, say, the third sentence. Those who want to know will tag along, if only to find out what it is you're leading them to.
3. In fiction you can get away with not using all your research, because otherwise you'll bore your readers. The aim will be evident in your prose. In non-fiction you need to take your readers forward with argument, if your material is controversial or new.
4. In non-fiction you will possibly be carrying your readers along with the help of maps, diagrams, illustrations, whereas in fiction you give them at least an idea of what your writing is about if your material is unfamiliar. Add a glossary and perhaps a map to show what part of the world your action takes place in, with the place names.
5. If you're writing a factual piece use appropriate language. You don't expect cooking terminology in a write-up about mechanical issues. If you want to mix metaphores write comic fiction.
I do not think I am capable of giving a sound advice as I am not by any means a prolific nor professional writer but one tip I can share which I really don't even own this one was an advice given to me by a university writer friend who is now a columnist in a local paper advised me: when a writer's block hits you, force yourself to write even if you don't feel like writing.Never mind if what you write does not even make sense.The ideas will come eventually as you write without any clear cut ideas. I have tried this and it does help. Ideas will eventually appear in your thoughts and you will be able to write beautifully.He has to do this because of writing deadlines he has to meet.
by Pete Fanning3 years ago
I know it sounds cliche, but when I choose to write fiction, not necessarily my views, I worry that I'll be judged. It is fiction, but does anyone else struggle with this?
by Sophia Angelique5 years ago
I have a question.Where did all that need for someone else to critique one's writing come from? I never heard of it until I arrived in the UK in 1999.Is this the result of wanabes that can't write to save their lives...
by rutley5 years ago
Do you write better than you speak or speak better than you write? Typo's and run on sentences or Foot in mouth syndrome?
by John Hollywood2 years ago
If you held in the palm of your hand one magic wish that could only be used to change one thing about your writing, what would it be?Abracadabra - poof!!
by Sophia Angelique5 years ago
Over the years, I've often been told that the things I write in fiction are the things I think and believe. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I have a murderer as a rogue, I do not draw on my own experience....
by Sally Gulbrandsen8 days ago
Will they still be allowed to continue writing for the niche sites or will this site be diluted as our best writers and their work leave for a better deal?
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