Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reminders We All Need to Read...Then Read Again

Writing Tip #1: Put off editing.

Each of us works at writing on two levels: a creative, unconscious level and a critical, conscious level.

Writing Tip #2: Write what you know.

Given the chance, what do you talk about endlessly? What drives you to seek out information? What are your passions? When you write what you know, you write with authority. People listen to you because you are one who knows. You are interesting because you are interested. Your knowledge is a gift to share.

Writing Tip #3: Research.

Deepen the well. No matter what you know about the subject, there is always more to learn. Make sure you have the latest information available on your subject.

Writing Tip #4: Use a structure.

For some writers, having a structure in place first makes the writing easier. These writers prefer to think things out ahead of time and then build to a plan.

Writing Tip #5: Use strong verbs and nouns.

The verbs are the action words. They put things in motion. Make yours as strong as possible.

Writing Tip #6: Be wary of adverbs and adjectives.

If your verbs and nouns are strong, you can get rid of many adverbs or adjectives. Don't know what they are? They are the "describing words" your elementary school teachers told you to use to make your writing "more interesting."

Writing Tip #7: Use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Yes, there is a time to turn on the proofreader.A book is like housework.

Writing Tip #8: Work the details.

Your ideas come through more clearly when they are supported by details. Sensory details bring a scene clearly to mind. Most of us rely on sight, so visual details are most common in writing. But use other senses, too. Psychologists tell us the most evocative sense is smell.

Writing Tip #9: Cut, cut, cut.

Writers often fall in love with their own words and phrases. Cutting them can feel like killing a person.

It only feels like that.

Cutting words from writing is like pruning in the garden. When we get rid of the dead, diseased, and ugly, we are left with a stronger, more beautiful, fruitful plant.

Be ruthless with your writing. Chop out every unnecessary word.

How do you know what can go?

Read what you've written leaving out parts you question. If the piece still makes sense, leave out the excess. Compressed writing packs a punch.

Writing Tip #10: Use active voice.

Technically, active voice puts the active agent first, followed by the verb (the action), followed by the object of the action.

Passive voice reverses the order.

Active - The boy hit the ball.

Passive - The ball was hit by the boy.

Writing Tip #11: Use parallel structure.

Doing the same thing in the same way creates a pattern that helps a reader follow along.

Writing Tip #12: Show, don't tell.

If it's a sermon your reader wants, there are churches to oblige.

What does it look like, sound like, feel like, taste like, smell like? When you describe a person or event, your reader is there with you. When you tell, the reader relaxes to the point of mental slumber.

Writing Tip #13: Use humor when you can.

Not everyone cracks jokes all day long. But a light touch from time to time lowers a reader's guard and opens her to your ideas. Be careful that your humor is kind and tasteful, unless of course you are writing for seven-year-olds, when bodily function humor is high on the list.

Writing Tip #14: Build to the end.

In English we expect the most important item to be at the end. When you write a list, put the most important, unusual, or powerful item last.

The final sentence in a paragraph ties up your ideas in a neat package or hints at what is to come.

Your most powerful paragraph comes at the end of the chapter.

Poets labour over their final word. Let yours linger in the mind.

Writing Tip #15: Choose a beckoning title.

A good title is catchy and says, "Read me." Depending on your topic, you may want to steer clear of a "cute" or "witty" title in favor of one that makes a clear promise of what is inside.

Writers often discover a title as they write. Sometimes a phrase or reference in the book comes to stand for the whole work.

Writing Tip #16: Print out a hard copy.

Now you can do your own editing! Click here to learn how.
Many people compose directly onto a computer. That's what I'm doing as I write this. Even if your printing company wants an electronic file, and most do, print yourself a hard copy. It is easier to read and to find your mistakes on paper.

Worried about the trees? So am I. I print my work on the backs of pages as often as possible. I use flyers, form letters, fax cover sheets, any piece of paper with a blank side. I've discovered even loose leaf paper will go through my printer.

Writing Tip #17: Read your work aloud.


No cheating.

Read all the words out loud in the order in which you've written them.

This is the single best self-editing technique.

You will find awkward places or unclear references as soon as the words are out of your mouth. Some writers stop immediately to fix the problem. Others mark their paper and keep reading, going back later to fix things.

Either way, read every word out loud.

After you've fixed the problems, read it aloud again.

Keep doing this until you can't find any more problems.

Writing Tip #18: Find an editor.

Professional writers edit their own work, share it with trusted friends, and then submit it to a publishing house. There another editor is selected to read the work closely, looking for areas that need improvement or a special polish. In fact, more than one editor will check every book. Professional editors know these 18 writing tips and many more. Furthermore, they recognize strengths and weaknesses in writing.

Source:Writing Tips