A writer reads. Not all readers love to write, but all writers love to read. And the great ones read several different genres and styles. The most important thing to understand about writing well; you must read a lot and often.
I am not talking aptitude for writing essays. Those are easy. Writing creative fiction or creative non-fiction, means you cannot, for example, overuse determiners and transitions like you would with a school essay or professional email. So, scratch what you have been taught up to this point. Do not just take my word for it. Grab any creative book. Fiction or nonfiction, it does not matter. Open it to any page. Circle all transitions, prepositional phrases, and determiners you see. Find any? Yeah, I told you. They rarely show up. A professor of mine advises keeping them down to one or two per page (in story telling). Now compare that with your writing style. I know, it sucks to see it. But you are welcome. For now on, you will write better fiction or creative nonfiction. This tip alone will improve your writing immediately.
I promise what you are trying to convey will stand on its own. Actors notice great acting; writers notice great writing. Noticing means you know something about what you see. When you read, watch each sentence like an actor watches another’s hands. Notice pacing and rhythm. All capable writers are masters of noticing. Our lives are devoted to observing the finer details. See, your OCD is a blessing after all.
I wish there were other quick tips to improve your writing. But even the advice given, might prove difficult to implement. At first. The best way to improve your writing is to read, often. Not one book a month, but four or five or more. Tiger Woods is a famous golfer whom is universally recognized as one of the games greatest athletes to ever swing a driver. He boasts that before he plays a round a golf on any given day, he hits one thousand balls. Reading is like going to the driving range before playing eighteen holes. It can be a great warm up. How could anyone be a great story teller, if they do not read stories? The answer is, any writer’s whom do not love to read, end up editors or worse, sales people (publishing agents). I shutter. That is joke. But one thing is certain, If you do not read, you are not a writer. You might be a great school paper writer, but a far cry from a novelist.
Read. Read. Read. Read some more. And read across styles and genres. Immerse yourself into poetry (which will teach you everything), fiction, creative nonfiction, etcetera. Manuals might be the only exception. But even they will prove useful to the creative. Read everything.
Book Review: DIY MFA
…covers the entire writing process from zero to hero.
Book Review: Reading Like a Writer
Learning how the masters told their stories is never a dull undertaking.
I hope this blurb of mine helps. Classes are going well and I enjoy sharing what I learn with all of you. Tell me what you think? Maybe you have an idea about a topic I should cover? Tell me what you are reading? I want to hear from you!
I am currently reading Les Miserables. You can follow what I am reading on Goodreads.
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