The most helpful advice I received came from a journalist. Since I was working as a reporter, he said that I should use verbs that require an object. Active verbs make the story better to read. In addition, he said my writing style should be economical since a story can only take up so much space. Prioritizing information is key. Essentially, active verbs and prioritizing information are essential for a journalist.
The best writing advice I've ever received came from one of my professors in college. He always told us to "make the strange familiar and the familiar strange." When introducing a new concept to a reader, do so in such a way that they feel they already know it. When writing about something your readers probably know, give them a new angle from which to see it.
Hmm, I think one of the best advice I’ve had is paying attention to who the audience is and the sound of the voice. You write differently for different people depending on what their background is, their vocabulary, what they know, what they’re interested in. And that can also help you with which words to choose or how you get a point across. And with voice it’s interesting that even in unrealistic genres it’s so important to sound realistic. Is that something a 9 year old would really say? If so, what makes that the case, how is your world different from what we know?
I really like that advice on prioritizing information. It seems like a lot of advice I've gotten about writing all fit under that blanket. Avoid purple prose and too many adverbs, show don't tell...
Love the other advice too. Endovia, you reminded me of something Stephen King said - he writes with just one person in mind - his wife, his friend, whatever. I forget the actual quote - it was in On Writing if anybody has it - but it stuck with me. I definitely write better when I'm focusing on who I'm hoping to show it to.
I think that's probably the best advice I've ever gotten, actually. Maybe it's because it forces me to consider the reader - when I was younger especially, I wrote solely for myself. And that sounds empowering but really it just meant a lot of really annoying writing. Pretentious (so I could feel smart), cringey (because of author-insertion), BAD fucking writing with no plot because who cares, not me.
But writing with other people in mind makes you a STORYTELLER, and you're making people feel things as you tell them a story with twists and a satisfying ending. Having one particular person in mind, I guess, makes it easier to focus. Other people can still enjoy it.
That's a really good point, Zoom - we all write because we want to, of course, but it's quite common to say "write for yourself and no one else." But if you're only writing for yourself, what does it matter what you turn out? With a goal in mind - writing a young adult novel, for example, with a clear audience - your writing is more likely to be focused and clear, concise but not clipped. I used to write just for myself, and whoa cliches. All over. Now that I think about how other people will read my work, my descriptions are much more original and effective. (If I do say so myself, haha.)
I think it's also very good advice to set aside time to write every day. Preferably around the same time every day, so you'll get in the habit, but at least 30 minutes a day can make all the difference. It keeps you in practice, and you'll make steady progress, even if it's slow. Now if only I could get myself to follow that particular bit of advice.
Oh! I have read that book for what feels like centuries ago. I remember reading it, but unfortunately not what the content was. But maybe his advice of writing to one person stuck in my subconscious and it took later events for me to realize how important it was.
Haha, Sapphire, that can be a new advice, to follow your own advice.
My current creative writing teacher's favorite answer when she's asked about a writing schedule/how she finds the time to write/etc. is having deadlines. And I like that in that even if it's crap, even if I don't stick to my writing routine, if I at least churn out the 1,500 words that I set for myself by such and such time and then print/email/post it, it's out there. And then it can be easier going back to it and editing it once you already have something written down.
Post by heinleinwasthebest on Jan 5, 2017 8:08:25 GMT -6
Don't overuse adverbs or adjectives, those tarpit your writing.
There were these two poets who went through each others work and struck out adv and adj unless essential meaning was lost. Use a thesaurus and verbs. There is a difference between manipulate and deceive.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. ----Robert A. Heinlein
sapphire: Zoom! Welcome back. Sounds like things are going well! What's your job?
Jan 7, 2017 16:43:00 GMT -6
Zoom: (Sorry I haven't been around btw, got a serious boyfriend and a full-time job, almost literally no time)
Jan 1, 2017 5:31:12 GMT -6
Zoom: Am here! So great to hear the news Saph!!
Jan 1, 2017 5:28:21 GMT -6
Welcome to The Echo: A Writing Forum!
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