Published on July 21, 2014
Tips for Better Writing
#1 Tip • Practice, practice, practice • Practice makes perfect • Perfect practice makes perfect • Be mindful and attentive • Approach revisions with constructive criticsm and honesty: is it interesting?
Weird Al • Word Crimes • Bad Grammar and Writing Style • http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=8Gv0H-vPoDc • NPR Segment http://www.npr.org/2014/0 7/12/329873481/weird-al- yankovic-on-parody-in-the- age-of-youtube
The Original Mad Man Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints: 1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times. 2. Write the way you talk. Naturally. 3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. 4. Never use jargon words like 'reconceptualize,' 'demassification,' 'attitudinally,' 'judgmentally.' They are hallmarks of pretense. 5. Never write more than two pages on any subject. 6. Check your quotations. 7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it. 8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it. 9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal-clear what you want the recipient to do. 10. If you want ACTION, don't write. Go and tell the guy what you want."
CIA • Keep the language crisp and pungent; prefer the forthright to the pompous and ornate. • Do not stray from the subject; omit the extraneous, no matter how brilliant it may seem or even be. • Favor the active voice and shun streams of polysyllables and prepositional phrases. • Keep sentences and paragraphs short, and vary the structure of both. • Be frugal in the use of adjectives and adverbs; let nouns and verbs show their own power.
CIA • affect, effect: Affect as a verb means to influence, to produce an effect upon. (The blow on the head affected John’s vision.) Effect, as a verb, means to bring about. (The assailant effected a change in John’s vision by striking him on the head.) Effect, as a noun, means result. (The effect of the blow on John’s head was blurred vision.)
Revise • Write a draft and let it rest. – Stephen King
Neal Gaiman • You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things. • The process of writing can be magical — there times when you step out of an upper-floor window and you just walk across thin air, and it’s absolute and utter happiness. Mostly, it’s a process of putting one word after another. • http://www.brainpickings.org/ index.php/2013/09/11/neil- gaiman-advice-to-writers/
Read • Read a lot. – Stephen King • Respond in kind • If it sounds like writing, rewrite it. • Andy Maslin • Seth Godin
Simple and Direct • Never use a long word when a short one will do. – George Orwell • Utilize use • Receive get • Eschew Clutter
Active Voice • Never use the passive voice when you can use the active voice – George Orwell
Know Your Audience • Understand and know your audience. – Pierre Berton • The Joy of Writing • The two Ps • What is your audience: – Passionate about – Pissed off about
Read yourself • Recycle and read and re-read the good stuff you write – Pierre Berton
Miraculousness • Honor the miraculousness in the ordinary. • Examples • Poems by Sherman Alexie • Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver
Creativity is Subtraction • Good Copy = draft – 10% – Stephen King
Edit • Look at every word inn a sentence and decide if they are really needed. If not, kill them. Be ruthless • Don’t be afraid to kill you babies. – Bob Cooper
Encourage Others • Remember: Writing doesn’t love you. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. – Al Kennedy
Elmore Leonard • Never open a book with weather. • Avoid prologues. • Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. • Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely. • Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. • Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose." • Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. • Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. • Don't go into great detail describing places and things. • Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
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