Writing Wins and Woes: Write Right

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This week I’m going to share some tips on writing well. I’m no expert. I’m just learning like every other writer. If you have some thoughts of your own, add them on the comments.

1. Read aloud what you wrote. If it sounds bad, it probably is. Even better, read it to somebody else and get their opinion. Try to make it someone objective. Your family and friends will usually tell you that it’s good.

2. Check for repetitive words or non-descript words. Example: very and nice.

3. Write in the proper tense. Looking back at some of my old writing, I find things like “She had started…” or “She was thinking…” It takes only a few seconds to change those mistakes to “She started…” and “She thought…”

4. Eliminate unnecessary words. I once cut a story that was over 2000 words down to 900. If you can do that, you’ve overwritten.

5. Don’t use too many speaker tags. I’m sometimes guilty of this. You don’t need to share every spoken emotion. The reader can figure it out.

6. Watch your punctuation. You’ll often hear, “Make sure you’re using commas, semi-colons or periods where you need them.” I’ll add to this. Don’t overuse commas. I call myself the Comma Queen because I’ve done this so much.

7. Begin with an interesting sentence. Nobody wants to start out a story/book already bored.

8. End with an interesting sentence. If first impressions matter, so do last ones. The last sentence will stay in the reader’s head. Make it a good one.

9. Choose the right words. Many words are good. Some are better. Only one is best. Work on picking the best word.

10. Keep your story simple. I hate reading a story with too many characters, too many plot twists, weird language. The reader wants to understand what you write. If they don’t, they might give up on your story, even if it’s good.

So, that’s it. Take them or leave them, but keep writing.

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2 thoughts on “Writing Wins and Woes: Write Right”

  1. Excellent points, Shari. Thanks for sharing.

    My big one is verbs. I always try to go back and change a few verbs on every page to something more unique (ex. “threw” becomes “lobbed” or “hurled” or “chucked”).

    I also try to mix up the different fiction ‘modes’. For example, if one page is all exposition or description, I try to break it up with some dialogue.

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