General Writing Tips

Preamble) No matter what you decide to write, the only rule you should remember above all else is to make it interesting. The first sentence can make or break a person’s attention. It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s how you say it.

1) Show, don’t tell. Telling means the reader must take your words at face value. “She was happy” is weak and only tells the reader. “With a wide grin, she ran and embraced her brother” is showing that she is happy.

–1b) Utilize visual shorthand to show more than you tell. Examples include discarded cigarettes to show the passing of time.

2) The best writers are the best readers. If you want to write, you have to read a myriad of books to get a better understanding of a novel’s structure. Not only will this enrich your vocabulary, it will improve your knowledge about subjects to write for.

3) The main objective in any writing is to imbue the reader with emotions. So long as you can make your audience feel a certain way toward a character or subject, you’ve accomplished your job. If you’re a fan of economics, writers refer to this conveyance as emotional investment. As you purchase more emotional stock, and the character of your choice suffers a loss, you as a reader suffer as well.

4) Be specific. Adding props such as pots or windows can add to any setting, but clay fired pots and stained glass windows illustrate a much more vivid image in the minds of your audience.

5) Avoid continuity errors. If a character is described as having shorn black hair in one chapter, don’t describe them as having long golden locks in another chapter without a reasonable explanation.

6) Be sharp and concise. Maximize the amount of information absorbed per word. And never use a long word wherever a short one will do, with the exception of certain stylistic choices.

7) Make chapters shorter and shorter to coincide with rising action.

8) Make chapters end with effective cliffhangers.

9) Create a list of scenes. This will improve structure and pacing.

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