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  • Writer's picturejryoungwriting

3 Quick Tips to Make you a Better Writer (Pt. 2)

Updated: May 24, 2023



 

I'm back with three more quick tips that will instantly make you a better writer!


1. Write what you know!


When writing, the more you can sell the reader on the setting, the more engaged the reader will be in your story. Immerse yourself in the world around you: what do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste?


Use your experiences in everyday life to flavor your prose with crisp descriptions.


Do you have real-world experiences that apply to your writing? Perhaps you are a lawyer, as John Grisham was, or a philologist like Tolkein? Use the skills you've accumulated in life and leverage them to write immersive worlds!


Exceptions to the rule: Feel free to explore the unknown! Don't be dismayed by your lack of age, geographical mobility, knowledge, and education. Use your creative mind to fill in the blanks. Use writing as your vehicle for exploration!


2. The Kitchen Sink:


All is fair in love and war. So, if you love writing, why are you holding back?


Write the stories you want to write. Don't let trends or conventions stand in your way. If humans stayed within the confines of conventions, we'd still be in the stone age. Allow your soul to breathe. Allow yourself to be innovative.


Readers can feel your passion through the page. If you are picking out a book, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, would you rather pick a book by an author who is passionate about their work or an author who just wants to sell you a product? Which author would you trust? And which author is going to keep writing when times are tough? Sometimes the stories don't come easy, and the money doesn't come at all. If you're not writing for the right reasons, then you're not going to be a writer for very long. Make the best use of your time in this life and write what you love. Even if you don't publish it. Do it for yourself.


Exceptions to the rule: Not every story is an epic fantasy or mind-bending space opera. If you are writing a story in the real world, you may need to adhere to real-world physics and laws. If you are writing a seventeenth-century pirate adventure, your audience may be put off when the villain shows up in a missile-launching helicopter. Knowing your audience is a key ingredient in your considerations. See my other post (https://www.jryoungwriting.com/post/test-2) to learn more about knowing your audience!



3. To Kill a Darling...


So you've finished a story that you're passionate about. You begin editing. Somewhere in chapter five, you realize that something's just not working. There's only one solution- cut chapter five. It sounds extreme. You put a lot of work into chapter five. You poured your heart and soul into it!


Still, the writing is on the wall: chapter five breaks the narrative and takes the readers on an unnecessary goose chase. As fun as it was- the goose wasn't worth the gander, after all.


You're going to run into problems like this frequently. My advice? Save what you can and repurpose it (maybe in a different context, with different characters, in a different story?) Every chapter, every scene, and every sentence should serve the story you are trying to tell. If you write something that you really love, but it disturbs the continuity, the pacing, or the direction of your story, don't be afraid to edit it out.


No effort is wasted!


Exceptions to the rule: At the end of the day, you're just writing a story. If you enjoy something, leave it and seek a second opinion from a trusted friend or a test reader. Maybe they can make more sense of it than you can? Maybe you're just overthinking it?

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