Improving Your Writing


Hi guys.

It’s been a long while, hasn’t it? Well, I’m back, and with some writing tips that I find very useful. These tips can help you write more often and better your writing, to be more and more like the professionals. For those who do not know, I start college in two months, and I will be majoring in creative writing to become an author. Hopefully I’ll learn many more tips in my classes, and I’ll be sure to share them with you all.

Tip #1: Continue reading “Improving Your Writing”

Advertisements

Creative Writing Tip: Going Deeper in Your Fiction


One last one… =D
All aspiring authors must visit this blog (crimsonleague.com) by Victoria Grefer, the author of the Herezoth Trilogy.

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

1341529_shoreline_rocks_2We authors–at least, authors who are like me–are always aware of a need to take a first draft deeper. To connect with the characters more, make them more alive.

This is particularly true in my case, as I have a simple, precise style and my first drafts are rather minimalist. (Are you that way, a fellow Hemingway? Or are you a Faulkner?)

But what does “going deeper” mean? What’s the difference between going deeper and adding fluff?

Writing is never easy, and it’s not something you can do alone: you will always need beta readers and editors to help you fill in holes and iron out the excess.

Still, there are general ways I find myself taking a draft “deeper” before I ever send it off to beta readers.

  • I CUT DOWN ON WHAT FEELS SUPERFLUOUS. A book can only have so many words, after all, and you…

View original post 456 more words

Creative Writing Tip: Factors that Affect Dialogue


Once again, a post which can really help you improve your story and deepen your characters as well.

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

786038_fightDialogue that really hits–that’s intriguing, and funny, and just sounds genuine–is one of the best things about a great book. Writing dialogue, though, isn’t easy.

One reason that writing dialogue is so tricky is that there is so much that goes into it, and also, there are just so many variables in play. Really great writing takes all of them into account. Now, I’m no dialogue guru or anything like that, but as a student of literature, I’ve noticed these are the things that really make me judge dialogue as excellent. Consider the following criteria when you’re editing:

  • WHERE IS THE CHARACTER FROM? Dialect’s much more than an accent. Every region and place has its own turns of phrase. In New Orleans, where I’m from, a “median” is always called a “neutral ground;” “snowballs” are what we call snowcones, and they’re eaten, not thrown; people call you “chère” sometimes; you…

View original post 416 more words

5 Psychological Struggles That Enhance Great Plot in Fiction


A must-read. Certainly helped me improve my writing!

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

shiny-brain-1254880-mI used to study literature professionally, so you could say I feel very connected with, and know how to appreciate, the psychological depth and intensity of fiction.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE books with heavy action, and I definitely believe writing should be about the characters. Some of my favorite novels–Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Les Miserables–involve deadly struggles or social uprisings. That means “ACTION.”

The thing about action, though: while it might work on its own for some people, it’s not enough on its own to attract me as a reader. I have to know the people who are behind that action and being affected, deeply, by what is happening as their world threatens to fall apart.

Otherwise, things feel cheap. I can’t invest in or care about what’s going on. And that’s what I mean when I talk about “following the characters” in my writer’s handbook:…

View original post 739 more words

42 Words and Phrases to Avoid As You Write


Have you ever found yourself reading literature with phrases you feel like the author shouldn’t have added? Or is that author you? No need to feel ashamed; we all make mistakes. Read on and see how you can improve your writing. But first, here’s an example of a weak paragraph. How much does this make you cringe?

Firstly, I really really needed to go and visit them because I had literally not talked to them for like, a whole year or something, and that’s considered to be rude, right? But that was because we live so far away and they hardly ever answer my emails, phone calls etc. Also, I needed to tell them the good news: I tried and tried and tried and had finally gotten a job!!!

The following was taken from the Guide to Grammar and Writing and Litreactor.

Avoid problems created by these words or phrases:

  1. And also This is often redundant.
  2. And/or Outside of the legal world, most of the time this construction is used, it is neither necessary nor logical. Try using one word or the other.
  3. As to whether The single word whether will suffice.
  4. Basically, essentially, totally These words seldom add anything useful to a sentence. Try the sentence without them and, almost always, you will see the sentence improve.
  5. Being that or being as These words are a non-standard substitute for because. Being that Because I was the youngest child, I always wore hand-me-downs.
  6. Considered to be Eliminate the to be and, unless it’s important who’s doing the considering, try to eliminate the entire phrase.
  7. Due to the fact that Using this phrase is a sure sign that your sentence is in trouble. Did you mean because? Due to is acceptable after a linking verb (The team’s failure was due to illness among the stars.); otherwise, avoid it.
  8. Each and every One or the other, but not both.
  9. Equally as Something can be equally important or as important as, but not equally as important.
  10. Etc. This abbreviation often suggests a kind of laziness. It might be better to provide one more example, thereby suggesting that you could have written more, but chose not to.
  11. He/she is a convention created to avoid gender bias in writing, but it doesn’t work very well and it becomes downright obtrusive if it appears often. Use he or she or pluralize (where appropriate) so you can avoid the problem of the gender-specific pronoun altogether.
  12. Firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc. Number things with first, second, third, etc. and not with these adverbial forms.
  13. Got Many writers regard got as an ugly word, and they have a point. If you can avoid it in writing, do so. I have got to must begin studying right away. I have got two pairs of sneakers.
  14. Had ought or hadn’t ought. Eliminate the auxiliary had. You hadn’t ought not to pester your sister that way.
  15. Interesting One of the least interesting words in English, the word you use to describe an ugly baby. If you show us why something is interesting, you’re doing your job. Consider “I find that plant’s long leaves, gooey fruit and gooier sap fascinating; how much did you buy it for?” instead of “That plant is interesting.”
  16. In terms of See if you can eliminate this phrase.
  17. Irregardless No one word will get you in trouble with the boss faster than this one.
  18. Kind of or sort of. These are OK in informal situations, but in formal academic prose, substitute somewhat, rather or slightly. We were kind of rather pleased with the results.
  19. Literally This word might be confused with literarily, a seldom used adverb relating to authors or scholars and their various professions. Usually, though, if you say it’s “literally a jungle out there,” you probably mean figuratively, but you’re probably better off without either word.
  20. Lots or lots of In academic prose, avoid these colloquialisms when you can use many or much. Remember, when you do use these words, that lots of something countable are plural. Remember, too, that a lot of requires three words: “He spent a lot of money” (not alot of).
  21. Just Use only when you need it, as in just the right amount.
  22. Nature See if you can get rid of this word. Movies of a violent nature are probably just violent movies.
  23. Necessitate It’s hard to imagine a situation that would necessitate the use of this word.
  24. Of Don’t write would of, should of, could of when you mean would have, should have, could have.
  25. On account of Use because instead.
  26. Only Look out for placement. Don’t write “He only kicked that ball ten yards” when you mean “He kicked that ball only ten yards.”
  27. Orientate The new students become oriented, not orientated. The same thing applies to administrate — we administer a project.
  28. Per Use according to instead. We did it per your instructions? Naah. (This word is used frequently in legal language and in technical specifications, where it seems to be necessary and acceptable.)
  29. Plus Don’t use this word as a conjunction. Use and instead.
  30. Point in time Forget it! At this time or at this point or now will do the job.
  31. Previous as in “our previous discussion.” Use earlier or nothing at all.
  32. So as to Usually, a simple to will do.
  33. Suddenly  Slows down the action and warns your reader. Just saying what happens. When using “suddenly,” you communicate through the narrator that the action seemed sudden. By jumping directly into the action, you allow the reader to experience that suddenness first hand.
  34. Suppose to, use to. The hard “d” sound in supposed to and used to disappears in pronunciation, but it shouldn’t disappear in spelling. “We used to do that” or “We were supposed to do it this way.”
  35. The reason why is because. Deja vu all over again!
  36. Thru This nonstandard spelling of through should not be used in academic prose.
  37. ‘Til Don’t use this word instead of until or till, even in bad poetry.
  38. Try and Don’t try and do something. Try to do something.
  39. Thusly Use thus or therefore instead.
  40. Utilize Don’t use this word where use would suffice. (Same goes for utilization.)
  41. Very, really, quite (and other intensifiers) Like basically, these words seldom add anything useful. Try the sentence without them and see if it improves.
  42. Get to the mark!! This isn’t exactly a phrase, but dude, try not to use so many exclamation and question marks. Before you do, ask yourself, are you, or that character, really that excited or curious? “I am not that excited!” sounds much better than “I am not that excited!!!!!!”, and the same goes for “Wait, what?????” vs. “Wait, what?”

Remember that paragraph at the beginning of this post? Put yourself to the test and try correcting it so that people will actually want to read it. How well can you do? 🙂

Declutter Your Prose: Three More Phrases to Avoid


A VERY useful article on what phrases to avoid as you write a blog post 🙂

The Daily Post

In the spring, we noted some examples of phrases that might be distracting or unnecessary in your prose. Since many of you found these suggestions helpful, here’s another round of phrases to avoid:

1. In today’s blog…

Interested in more blog vs. post discussions? Read Slate’s take, Meg Pickard’s note on terminology, and Kristen Havens’ semantics lesson.

blog is your site, posts and pages and all. What you probably meant to write is: “In today’s post…” Or: “In today’s blog post…” Posts make up the content you create on a regular basis, while your blog is your complete online home, your site, on which you publish your posts.

That said, think back to other introductory phrases we’ve talked about: “In this post, I will explain…” or “Today, I will write about…”

This phrase, too, is unnecessary:

In today’s blog, I’d like to share some of the best…

View original post 447 more words

Finding Time


Hey guys

Mel here

And Poe.

Just a quick thing. I have recently taken a break from SB, and I barely ever post, but I think this is important. IF you love to write, PLEASE don’t take it out of your daily life. I did that, and I really can’t stay away. Don’t deprive yourself of something that frees your soul. If writing makes you happy, write.

❤ Mel

Number Writing


I do this with drawing, but it seems that it will work with writing too! This is for writer’s block, which many suffer.

So, what you do is have three columns. The first is an adjective (smelly, green, etc.) The second should be a verb with and ing: (singing, dancing, etc.) The third will be a noun (toothbrush, apple, shoe).

Like so:

1.  Sparkly       Thinking     House

2.  Tiny           Dancing      Kite

3.   Hairy        Sleeping     Mouse

And so on. You should have about sixteen or so.

Now, just think of three numbers. If I think, 3, 1, 2, then I will write about a Hairy Thinking Kite.

 

Be creative and have fun with it!

 

How to Make Your Reader Cry – TeenInk.com


How to Make Your Reader Cry

It’s the ultimate test that your writing must pass: can you make your reader feel? That means not just feeling a little interest or pleasure or sadness — can you make your reader cry ugly tears and get the page all soggy? Some writers can, and they’re the ones succeeding these days; just look at John Green and his The Fault in Our Stars. The good news is that making your reader feel is a skill that you can learn. You’ll be making your friends sob uncontrollably in no time.

Choose a A Sympathetic Character.

While villainous or even annoying characters have their place in literature, they’re not typically the ones that make us weep. To make a reader feel, we need to feel connected emotionally to a character, as though the character is someone we could befriend or at least admire in real life. Choose an accessible character with a personality that intrigues you. The characters we connect to most strongly are often characters with desires we share or can identify with. So give your character a passion or a dream. Whether it’s a desire to find her long-lost brother or a passion for boat-building, we like folks who dream big and who want things.

Choose an Accessible, but Painful, Obstacle

Here comes the most crucial part; that character must be put in harm’s way. We need to feel that character is in eminent danger, whether that danger is emotional or physical. Oddly enough, it’s the more intangible problems that make us feel the most. We feel excited if a character is surrounded by rabid bears, but we feel emotional (and downright weepy) if the character is surrounded by cold people who don’t understand her. Give your character a problem that is clear and identifiable, but that carries real emotional risks. Look no further than John Green for that classic example of a very real problem (cancer) that carries heavy emotional baggage with it. And remind us that your characters are normal human beings, who are struggling to deal with this in normal human ways. We don’t cry when super heroes can use their laser vision to get out of a mess; we cry when ordinary humans can’t.

Give your character an impossible choice.

You’ve set us up beautifully for tears now, but you’ve got to bring it home by presenting your character (and us) with a terrible choice. There can’t be one good and one bad choice here — there have to be downsides to either decision. After all, that is what feels most real to us; in real life we often have to choose the least bad choice out of a series of bad choices. Don’t let the problem be solved too easily. If you give a character a life-threatening illness, for example, it feels like a cop-out to suddenly discover a cure. If your character finds a long-lost brother, perhaps the brother is not the person she thought he would be. There must be complications, because life is messy, and that’s why life makes us cry sometimes.

Follow these steps, and your readers will be bawling in no time!

Oh Sweet Inspiration


It’s hard to write when you’re not inspired. But how does one “get inspired?”

For me, I like to take long nature hikes through the woods or down the beach. Other times, I go for a slow, luxurious bike ride. This is a great way to see the sights and just have some time to yourself. It’s a nice way to get some thinking done.

Reading is also a great way to find some inspiration. I prefer poetry, but non-fiction and novels are also a good resource. And never underestimate the power of a well-written memoir. Sometimes other people’s lives are exactly what we need to inspire our own.

So get out there and get inspired! 

 ○○♥○○