There are lots and lots of sources on the internet, in books, in magazines, and other written places that teach and tell you about writing and how to become better at it. In my opinion, articles with “rules of writing” and similar pieces are nonsense. Writing isn’t something in which you have to follow rules, because otherwise you’re going to suck. No, on the contrary. Writing is a craft, an art that lets you do whatever you like to do. Of course, this has to be taken a little lightly, because you can’t just go copying other writer’s stuff or something like that, but it does offer you a world of freedom in which you can let your creative juices and imagination flow.
However, writing tips are something different. They might or might not help you, this differs from person to person. They don’t obligate you to do something or to stick to something. It is up to you how you treat them and what you do with them. I have come across a lot of writing tips. Some of them helped me in my writing, others not so. Again, their helpfulness differs with everybody, but that’s also what makes it fun: the ability to vary and make everyone and everyone’s writing unique!
Ok, no more chatter; on to some writing tips!
1. Practice makes perfect
Aaah, the old saying.. It makes so much sense and it’s still relevant and will always be! To become a better writer, you have to practice a lot. Writing without practice is the same as someone trying to drive a Formula 1 car without any driving experience: it will lead to crashes! Like everything; writing and practice will go with leaps and bounds, but eventually it will up your writing.
2. Research is important
This one is quite obvious as well. If you’re writing a story about a chemistry teacher who decides to make crystal meth because he knows formulas to make the purest drug available (might do as a good plot!), you have to know something about chemistry, formulas, drugs, teaching, etc. Otherwise, your story isn’t believable, because the facts aren’t correct.
3. Read your piece out loud
Not only when writing, but also when editing. You might come across parts that don’t work right, that aren’t running smoothly, or something like that. Reading your writing out loud is convenient!
4. You can never go wrong with planning
I’m not saying you should plan and plot your whole story in advance, but some planning is never wrong. I have written a few stories without planning beforehand and eventually found myself writing BS. I began writing about treasure hunting but ended up writing about boat engineering (not really, but to illustrate it). The following quote by George R.R. Martin shines light on this:
“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
There are a lot of different writers with different styles of writing. It is up to you to decide how you want to write and why you want to write that way.
5. Write like shit, edit like a pro (or let someone edit like a pro)
It’s ok if your story sucks and has lots of mistakes in it, as long as the editing process filters this out and makes it a good story. As with the rest of the tips, I’m not saying you should stick to this, but it’s more a kind of motivator to show you it’s ok to have a crappy story.
Don’t think I’m a great writer. No, not at all. I still have a long road of learning, practicing, and failing in front of me, but I want to share these tips with you, fellow writers, to help you on your own journey. And even if they didn’t help you, that’s alright. As I said, their helpfulness differs with everybody, but that’s also what makes it fun: the ability to vary and make everyone and everyone’s writing unique. What works for one, doesn’t work for another, and that’s fine.
Have a jolly day, friends!