Writing Tips

Number One

Use adverbs sparingly. Adverbs tend to be telling and are a sign of weak or amateurish writing. Verbs are much stronger. For example, compare:

The boy walked slowly down the road.                                                 boy trudging

The boy trudged down the road.

Not only does the second example, which exchanges the adverb for verb, offer a more powerful visual to the reader, but it also injects more tone and emotion into the scene. Much stronger. Adverbs have their place, but do watch for -ly words in your writing and at least consider whether there is a stronger, more vivid way to write the sentence.

Number Two

Write in active voice versus passive voice as much as possible. With active writing, the subject of the sentence is, as the term suggests, acting upon something. With passive voice, the subject is being acted upon.

For example, compare: The book was read to the baby by his father. (passive)                   

versus   The baby’s father read him a book. (active)         father reading                  

Active writing is more powerful and more visual than passive writing. Although passive writing has its place, it should be limited to less than 10% of your piece.

Number Three

Use Deep Point of View (DPOV). Avoid using what I call “buffering phrases” such as he noticed, he realized, she saw, he heard, she felt etc. These push the reader back a step from the action. Instead of using these phrases, simply state what the character noticed, realized, saw, heard, felt etc., without the introduction. For example, instead of “John heard the dog barking”, write “The dog barked.” Since you are writing in John’s POV, the                                                reader knows he heard it or you couldn’t include that                doodle-barking-2965983__340              information, but this allows the reader to hear the doorbell ring                                              right along with him, instead of just being told about it after the                                                fact. It’s the difference between inviting readers to be participants rather than spectators to what is going on around the character or even right inside his or her head. This not only draws them deeper into the scene, it allows them to forge a stronger connection with that character so the readers care more deeply (see what I did there?) about what happens to them. For a great resource on this and other elements of the writing craft, check out Marcy Kennedy’s series, Busy Writer Guides, including Volume 9, Deep Point of View on Amazon and other sites where books are sold.




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