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3 QUICK TIPS TO MAKE YOU A BETTER WRITER (PT. 3)



 

I'm back to bring you three more quick tips to make you a better writer!


  1. Never stop learning!

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are at the foundation of our written languages. We learn to utilize these fundamentals from a young age through education, but the mastery of writing as a craft is an endless pursuit. Like any skill, becoming a better writer takes time, focus, and repetition. You may never be perfect, but if you keep learning and growing, you'll only get better and better.


You can leverage every life experience and lesson learned to benefit your writing. Some obvious examples are the ones I mentioned in my second blog post ( https://www.jryoungwriting.com/post/3-quick-tips-to-make-you-a-better-writer ). If you have experience as a lawyer, you can bring a very unique and realistic perspective to your story. Or, maybe a particular satire that only other lawyers would understand? Even if you're not writing a story about lawyers, you could have a side character who is a lawyer. Your experience will allow you to paint their character with a level of detail that only an actual lawyer could accomplish.


Do you love history? Is your memory of medieval battles better than your memory of recent events? You can transform that knowledge into a historical fiction or fantasy novel. Or create another side character, a history buff who constantly makes obscure historical references.


Exceptions to the rule: None. There's nothing beneficial about stagnation or degeneration.



2. Learn from the greats.


Speaking of historical references, did you know that George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" was heavily inspired by the War of the Roses? In an interview hosted by the Brown University Library and the Friends of the Library, the author speaks about his love of history and its influence on his writing. I will leave a link to the full interview below.




Not only is it good practice to read great books, but it should also be good practice to study the people who write those books. Improving your prose, building your vocabulary, and familiarizing yourself with literary tropes and trends are necessary steps in becoming a great writer. But so is understanding how great writers approach their craft from a psychological perspective. If you watched the interview with George R.R. Martin then you heard how much respect Martin has for Tolkien and how well he understands Tolkien's mind. That is because Martin also learned from the greats who came before him.


Exceptions to the rule: This isn't necessarily an exception, but is an important aside. Learn from their failures, as well. Do you know an author who angered their fan base by leaving their story on a cliffhanger for years and years? How about an author who incurred the wrath of their fans for taking their story in an unexpected direction? Even the greats make mistakes. Learn to not make the same.



3. Steal it!


If George R.R. Martin can steal from the history books, then so can you!


I'll go one step further and say, "Steal from other authors." Of course, you must do so in a respectable fashion. You don't want to get pinned for plagiarism.


In all seriousness, how many times have you been reading a book and found yourself thinking: "No, no, no! That's not how that would happen!" Well, today's your lucky day. You've found a hidden gem that you can steal, polish, and profit from. Change a few characters, inject a different set of circumstances, within a different context, and now you can show it off! That's what we, as storytellers, do with tropes. We take common themes and redress them--sometimes subvert them--in order to voice our own unique perspectives as individuals.


Exceptions to the rule: Another aside: Don't plagiarize. Use other people's creativity to inspire your own.


Link to the full interview with George R.R. Martin:

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