Here’s the first post in my Wednesday series, “Write Tip Wednesday.” Today I’m sharing some of my top 10 writing rules from a post from my other blog, Get it Write Tonight.
Use the Simplest Words Possible
When it comes to reading a book, people want it to be two things: easy and clear. Unless you are a scholar studying ancient or classical literature, you’ll probably stop reading a book that has huge words that you keep opening a dictionary to figure what they mean.
Let me just lay this out for you: the other day I was browsing Facebook and came across a post on a writing group where the person was trying to sound professional and important…but done in such a ridiculous way that he lost all credibility in one paragraph. The post has since been deleted, but I’ve been using it for examples of what not to do. I’m copying it exactly how the person wrote it, so here it is:
“”I read some stuff you guys wrote here with venerate. I joined this group for a reason, You see I have been vacuous for some time now, my mind is undulate I can’t write no more. It’s a bit confusing for me has anyone else here been through this feeling?
my thoughts were ubiquitous and now my mind seems numb of ideas. I think my mind transmuted. What i wish to know is as you all are writers and you all know the beautiful feeling to put down emotions on a paper, how wonderful it is.””
|What did I just read.|
Be honest. You brain hurts, too. Not only did he use those huge words incorrectly, but they just wouldn’t make much sense to begin with even if he had used them correctly. It’s a struggle to read that. Writing should be easy. Use simple words with strong meanings. Don’t say, “I took the gun from him.“ Say, “I swiped the gun from him.” It conveys so much more meaning and is still easy to read.
Dialogue is the Strongest Form of Characterization
There are so many ways to characterize through dialogue, it’s not even funny. Speech patterns, quirks, stutters, slurs, screams, whispers, catch phrases, monosyllabic word choices, evil words, heroic words, funny words, sad words. All of that and more inside a pair of quotation marks. It’s literally a perfectly acceptable form of telling.
|“Isn’t it splendid?“|
Of course, don’t do too much telling. You still want the speech to sound natural. But that’s the beauty of it all. Get to know the ways each character talks, and the characterization possibilities are endless. Harness that power. Use it wisely.
If You Can’t Avoid a Cliche, Do Something Different with It
These days, you see all these books with love triangles. The girl can’t choose which guy she wants, blah blah blah. Or the MC is actually some prophecized hero who will one day save the world. Or a guy falls into a vat of radioactive acid and becomes a superhero/villain. And then what happens?