By Chrissy Brown | C.A.A.B. Publishing
If you think you do not need to improve your skills, then you are already lost.
Everyone needs to hone and develop their writing skills, if they want to be a fantastic writer that is.
So, with that in mind, how can you do it?
Write what you know. Sure. But, do not think you are an expert in a subject without doing a little research first. Check your facts, and if you are unsure, ask another writer for help. We are usually a friendly bunch. Gathering information that is acceptable to today’s reader, up-to-date and accurate is an important part of writing.
Sounds simple right? Just write. But, write every day, write a diary, write a blog, write a book, write some short stories or poetry. Write and enjoy it. Have a passion for it. As only with drive and determination can you improve. Only through doing, can you truly get better. Practise really does make perfect. Or at least practise will make you better at your craft.
3. Plan your outline
You will need a structure to follow as you write. Creating and following an outline can be used to map out the story, the characters and the arc they will follow. It will reduce continuity errors and help you to see where you want to get to by the end of the story.
Editing is a huge thing, it must be done and redone to get it right, but if you do not have an eye for detail it can be very difficult. There are courses that can help but the old adage states that you should never edit your own work. So, edit it a few times but then ferry it out to someone else to catch those last few errors.
This is a tough one for sure. Grammar can make or break a book. But, do not panic is you are unsure of where to add a comma. There are a number of free resources online you can use to brush up on your grammar skills or you can find a course that will help. Reading books can improve your grammar and writing skills a great deal.
6. Read the genre you want to write in
One of the best ways to improve your writing is to read other people’s work. Enjoy the story but note how they develop characters or how the writing grips you, scares you or makes you laugh.
7. Think about who you are writing for
Consider your reader. Their likes and dislikes, the language that will appeal to them. Should you put in more description? Would you as a reader like more here, or would you like to use your imagination? How have the giants of the genre handled a similar situation?
8. Get feedback on your writing
Getting opinions from other writers or even friend and family about your work is vital. They could tell you of any plot holes, any words missing or anything that they didn’t understand. This can all help with your writing.
These golden rules will help –
Do not use complex words when simple words will do. Do not try to sound clever, it will have the opposite effect.
Be careful when writing speech. Use he said and she said. It is ok. Do not get hung up on trying to make it sound different, he replied, he asked, or he whispered/shouted can all be ok, at times, but … he exclaimed, he announced, he spat, he stuttered, can all start to sound forced. Be careful, read it out loud and remember you can use nothing at all, once a conversation gets going.
Vary your sentence length. If they are all the same, it can be difficult to read.
Don’t repeat yourself. Check that a word that you have used such as ‘Brilliant’ is not to close to the same use again. Use your little finger on the screen. If you can touch both words with any part of your finger at the same time, they are too close together. Be careful, as well, with sentences being repeated, or information that the reader has already had.
Words like “just” and “that” are often unneeded. Check to see if they can be removed, it will make your writing more streamlined and less bogged down.
And lastly, EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Please!
Featured Book from C.A.A.B.
This is a story about being lost and found … about trust, taking responsibility and learning to be independent. And it’s about what the world is like at night.
Ruby is supposed to be looking after Col and Will, but instead, she takes them out in the moonlight. After some unexpected events they arrive at the park; but then Will runs off to join the strange Moon Children.
And they’re not what you’d like to meet in the middle of the night, far from home.
Ruby’s a dog, by the way. But a rather special one.
CAAB Publishing Ltd is a traditional, small, indie company helping unknown authors have a voice and inspiring new writers to take that first step into the world of publishing.
Article originally Published in the October / November 2022 Issue: Global Reads.