Eight Tips for Better Writing

  1. Write Often
    Something that has really helped me with my writing is a tip by Stephen King in his book “On Writing,” which I highly recommend. He suggests setting a goal to write 1,000 words every day. Sometimes it isn’t possible for me to make it to 1,000 words and sometimes I go over the mark, but I think it’s made a huge difference in my writing.

  2. Character Names
    If you’re having trouble coming up with names for your characters in the stories you’re writing, there are a few ways you can use the internet to help. Vanessa Grant has a searchable database from Muse Creations.  You can also use a name generator at Be-A-Better-Writer.com

  3. Be Descriptive
    Something that can make your story more interesting is to involve all of the reader’s senses. When you’re writing a scene, you probably picture it in your mind. But, have you given the reader enough information for them to see it as well? Remember the five senses. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

    Is the room well-lit, or is it dark, with just a bit of light coming in through the window? Is there a musty, damp smell, or has the room been recently cleaned and smells of disinfectant?  What about sound? Can you hear the traffic nearby, or is it quiet enough to hear the birds singing outside?

  4. Show Don’t Tell
    I know you’ve heard this writing tip before, but what does it really mean?
    When you have information to give the reader, your first inclination might be to Tell them what you want them to know. But it’s much more effective to Show them.

    Here is an example of Telling:
    Jerry walked into the room and saw the broken glass on the floor and the blood on the walls.

    Here is the same scene by Showing:
    Jerry stepped into the room, carefully avoiding the jagged edges of the broken glass scattered across the floor. The metallic smell of the fresh blood and the sight of it running down the walls nauseated him. 

  5. Write Realistic Dialogue
    Listen to conversations whenever you can. When riding on a bus or standing in a crowd, notice the back and forth exchange. Sometimes it’s just a word or two, other times it’s an exchange of complete sentences. Read your dialogue out loud to hear how it sounds.

    Avoid the temptation to use dialogue tags in your writing like, he exclaimed or she proclaimed. Use simple dialogue tags like, she said or he said. Remember, the reader will just ease right past these tags, following the conversation, which is what we want, right?

  6. Avoid Passive Voice
    With a passive verb, something is being done to the subject of the sentence. With active verbs, the subject of the sentence is doing something.

    Here are some examples:
    Passive: All of the mashed potatoes were eaten by Jerry.
    Active: Jerry ate all of the mashed potatoes.
    Passive: Jerry was eaten by the large tiger.
    Active: The large tiger quickly ate Jerry.

  7. Use Correct Grammar
    Watch for common mistakes, such as:
    Your and You’re – You’re having a hard time with your homework.
    Its and It’s – It’s hard to tell if its nose is broken.
    There, Their, and They’re
    To, Too, and Two

    Be sure to use apostrophes to show possession:
    We took the dog’s bone.  She liked her mom’s dress. I drove my brother’s new car.

    And for contractions:
    It’s the dog without a bone. She’s wearing her new dress. He’s driving his new car.

  8. Coming Up With a Title
    After spending hours writing your story it’s important to have a great title. It should be a basic description of what your book is about in either one word or a small phrase. It should catch your reader’s eye, and make them want to know what your book is about. Here are some tips:

    Think PINC – Great titles make a promise, create intrigue, identify a need, or simply state the content.

    What are some of your favorite lines in your work? 

    Think of words that describe what your work is about.

    Go to Amazon.com and look at the titles of books in your genre. Make a list of the ones you like and think about why you like them.

    Write a title that is a question beginning with Who, What, Where, or When.



    What are some writing tips that have helped you? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Fell free to leave a comment or just say hi!

    Keep writing!

About Jim Liston

I write short stories, love to travel, install auto glass, and collect Beatles memorabilia.
This entry was posted in How To, short stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Eight Tips for Better Writing

  1. Great advice all around, but I particularly need to work on number 1. My writing habits are far too inconsistent.

    I found your blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! I look forward to reading your posts!
    S. D. Keeling recently posted…Get More Twitter Followers–Part 3My Profile

  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  3. JimsGotWeb
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks Christine, I’ve enjoyed your site on BlogSpot, great writing tips and resources.
    JimsGotWeb recently posted…Byteful Travel Blog Carnival AnnouncementMy Profile

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