Saturday, January 12, 2019

Three tips for writing well

1.  Read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.  Though slender, it’s the finest book I’ve ever seen on using the language accurately and effectively.  The book will give you most of the basic mechanics you’ll need as a solid foundation to succeed.  If you’re already producing publishable work, go back and re-read this book anyway.

2.  Read 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them, by Ronald Tobias.  It’s one of the better books I’ve come across about structuring fiction (and even good non-fiction).  On Writing by Stephen King is another worthwhile book.

3.  Shun adverbs (those words ending in ly) and don’t use too many adjectives.  An adverb is a lazy “tell” word, and you should always be showing the story to the reader.  Show a character to be excited, for example (instead of saying “she exclaimed excitedly”), maybe by her nervous mannerisms or by her flushed complexion.  On a related note I never use the lazy exclamation point, and many top writers don’t, either.  It’s nothing more than a punctuational adverb.  If your words are not powerful enough in themselves to convey your meaning, an exclamation point isn’t going to save the situation.


No comments:

Post a Comment