Sunday, 12 January 2014

Writing Advice

In the past ten years I've come across alot of different advice about how to be a good writer. I've gained this advice from various sources; from books and articles and from participating in a writer's group when I was younger. Below are the five most common bits of writing advice that I've heard or read again and again. I hope you find them useful.  


1. Be persistent

 As with anything worth doing, you can't give up at the first hurdle. Or the second. Or the third.So what if you've never been published, or if your short story has been rejected umpteen times. Don't let it put you off trying again - thousands of successful writers were once sent rejection letters too, but they didn't let it stop them and now their work can be found in bookshops everywhere, as well as online. Roald Dahl, Stephen King, J.K Rowling and George Orwell are just some of the many famous authors who were once turned away by publishers, not once, but repeatedly. If you're feeling downhearted because you're convinced that you'll never be published then read this article by Michelle Kerns: 
 Remember, if you're not happy with the way something is sounding, then you can always rewrite it!

2. Read Avidly 

I think it's very difficult to write well if you do not read often. Reading is fuel for a writer; it generates ideas, helps you to have empathy with people and teaches you how to structure your work properly. If you find that you do not enjoy reading, you probably won't enjoy writing. To me, the two acts are inextricably linked.

3. Show, don't tell

This is one I struggle with. It applies more to fiction writing than non-fiction, in particular novels. Basically it means try not to give away everything all at once and keep the reader interested by letting them work out things for themselves. So for example, rather than just tell the reader that 'Sophie is a hopeless romantic', give the reader clues that she is - her home could be full of romantic novels for instance.   

4. Think about what you're trying to say

Try to keep your writing to the point - don't wonder off on irrelevant tangents and make sure every word counts.   

5. Be disciplined

Try to make writing a habit. If you don't write regulary, you'll find it harder and harder to write each time you do sit down to do it. Writing is something that can only get better with practice. Use it or lose it!