Writing Tips - 7 Steps to Improvement

Good Writing Tips

As a writer who is often asked to write reviews and craft back cover endorsements of other authors' work, I wince at poor sentences that survived a cursory edit, forcing the reader (in this case, me) to wade through prose that is flat and uninteresting. Although this may sound harsh, it's true, especially with the growth of self publishing and resulting lack of quality controls.

In this article you'll learn tips for improving your writing style that will make your work more readable and a lot more compelling. After all, there is nothing as satisfying as reading a book that you can't put down. (If you study and practice the techniques in this article, you could even land one of the many high-paying online writing jobs that allow authors to work from home.)

7 Great Writing Tips

Avoid Overusing Adverbs - although these words are intended to add emphasis, they often do the opposite because the sentence never had enough muscle to stand on its own. Adverbs are words like truly, totally, actually, completely, etc. Worse than using an adverb in a sentence (and sometimes you need it for precision, particularly when it comes to dialogue) is using more than one. When editing a sentence with an adverb in it, ask yourself, is it stronger without it? Is there a better way to say it? More than one adverb per sentence is a no-no.

Writing tips - if you find yourself staring at the blank screen on your computer, if you struggle to get words on the page, try voice transcription software which allows you to create your first draft quickly and easily. If you can speak into a headset, you can write.

writing tips
  • While we're on the subject of adverbs (words that end in -ly), let's continue with other words the end in suffixes such as: -ness, -ingly and -ize. Again, although using such words may seem like the proper word to use, it the lack of the proper word that forces you to use them. Although these words can sound official, they such the muscle from your sentences (and your meaning), leaving nothing but the fat. Try to avoid using them.Writing Tips: Good writers avoid "to be" verbs.
  • Avoid using '"to be" verbs. One of the first rules of good writing, this requires that you construct your sentences with verbs that have muscle, movement and staying power. "To be" verbs include: is, are, was, were, be, been, and on and on, ad nauseum. Of course, sometimes, you will have to use them, but do so sparingly. Case in point: which evokes a more vibrant image: "He was late for the meeting" or "Late for the meeting, he sped down the hall." The second sentence gives us an image; the first does not.
  • Don't overuse "There is ... " or "There was ... " Starting multiple sentences in a paragraph this way makes your writing flat and lifeless. Use this phrase sparingly and remember what I said above about "to be" verbs.Writing tips: make your characters unique and memorable to make your book one your readers can't put down.
  • Show, rather than tell. Show us how your character feels by describing his posture and how he walks, rather than telling us he feels miserable. Showing engages the reader; telling distances the reader from the action in a book.
  • When writing non-fiction, use analogies to make your writing more concrete. Abstractions may be impressive to intellectuals, but readers of non-fiction need to make use of what they read. Make your words strong and memorable and you'll make a difference in your readers' lives
  • When writing fiction, make your characters unique and memorable. In turn, this will make your novel unique and memorable. If all your characters talk with the same witty style, you'll bore us to death and reveal your inability to see the uniqueness that's all around you.

Follow these simple writing tips and your writing will improve. Remember that the best writers are always working on their craft.

Of course your writing will always improve by first writing outlines because doing so gives direction and focus to your writing.

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About the Author: Laura Ramirez is the author of an award-wining parenting book Keepers of the Children and the author of several other books and ebooks. She is also the creator of the 2-DVD series, Parenting the Native Way. Her books and resources are used by tribes and nations across the U.S. and Canada in their parenting programs.

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