I’ve have been editing a lot lately (like non-stop) and I’ve been reminded of a few easy moves that make every writer better. Simple hints that even the best forget or rely on a person like me to prune from prose for them.
Why not do it yourself. It’s simple. It makes you a much more effective communicator in all writing and speaking, doesn’t make you fat, and reinforces good basic discipline in a world run amok.
Tip #1 “And” No
Don’t start a sentence with the word “and.” It’s done but it’s a bit, well, lazy.
Tip #2 Verb Consistency
Write in the simple past tense. It’s easiest.
Tip #3 A Helper
Chronology is your friend. Only the most advanced should time travel in writing.
Tip #4 Band Camp
Don’t start every sentence of describing action with “and then”….”and then…”
Tip #5 Variety is the spice of writing.
Start a paragraph with a short sentence then the next sentience, go long. Short sentences speed the read and longer sentences slow the reading down to a more contemplative state. Think about speed.
Tip #6 No telling
Only showing, describing. Few enjoy their fiction to be a screed though certain writers do kiss the soapbox a bit more than is pleasure to me. Just tell me what happens. I’ll get it.
Tip #7 Short is always better.
Do not overwrite. Understand your subject and stay on it. Use discipline as you would in any other endeavor from the gym to painting the house.
Tip #8 Write for Yourself.
As soon as you assume a personality that is not yours – say a writer who dislikes children but wants to cash in on the YA phenomena – well, people pick up on it. Be true to who you are.
Tip #9 No One is Watching You
Get it out of our head that someone is watching what you write. My friend, this is a moment between you and your creator and if you don’t understand that, well, you’ve missed a lot of the joy. Write like you stole something. Write crazy daring words. Write dirty, write fast. Go back and change it later.
Tip #10 Choose the Right Word
Don’t reuse the same word over and over. Select the right word with the right meaning. A “fight” is different from a “brawl is different from a “riot,” etc.