In this post, part two of ‘Growing in Writing and Blogging‘, I will discuss the varies ideas I have learned through connecting to other writers, reading books about writing, and doing many online searches. I am aware there are many people who go in to writing thinking they know what they need to know, that it will be easy to write a novel. In truth it’s a journey one must take, a discovery of self and knowledge. Becoming a writer is no easy task, and the information out there is often overwhelming and at times misleading. With such conflicting information floating around the Internet it can leave you wondering what is right and what is wrong. I don’t think its about what is wrong, or what is right, but what works for you. On the other hand there are key points that should always be followed.
Show Vs. Tell
Now this is a big one, key to writing. When you tell you are saying to the reader how to see and feel your words. When you show you lead them to the conclusion, letting them feel and see it for themselves. Simply telling a reader will tern them off, and what you have written and worked on so hard will be put down never to be finished. Colorful words go a long way, practice show vs tell by observing your surroundings and describing them.
Tell : The tree was tall and old.
Show : I stood beneath it’s branches, as they gently sway in the cool breeze. Towering above all the others it appeared to touch heaven its self. Roots reaching deep into the earth it would take many people hand in hand to reach around its base. I wondered to my self how long had it stood untouched and undamaged to grow so immense. Shame they want me to cut it down.
With the first sentence you have a stated fact about a single tree, but with the second you can imagine standing at the base of the tree looking up at its towering size, even see the light come through the branches as they sway, see the immense roots digging into the earth.
A Dictionary and Thesaurus are your best friend
There are amateur writers that tend to use the same words over and over again, I admit I found I was even doing it. The best thing to do is keep a dictionary and thesaurus on hand. In writing they have become my best friend. My vocabulary has grown, my ability to ‘show’ useing more colorful words has grown by leaps and bounds. For me I can’t keep two big books around and spend time thumbing through them with three kids running around so I found something better a web site with both : http://www.merriam-webster.com/
Keep on target
Now there are two ways to accomplish this and both should be followed.
One: Make the time two write a little every day. Try to keep to a routine. Its okay to take a day or two off, but if you write a little every day you will eventually finish your first draft. Not keeping to a scheduled can make it hard to randomly site down and write, getting distracted or even drawling a blank when you try.
Two: Its alright to get off topic with a little bit of a side story adding to the back ground of your characters or settings. Going overboard with the side story can confuse your reader and loose the main story line. Keep these short and sweet, they will add depth to your characters and novel but you don’t want to get lost in them. This is another problem that will leave your novel unfinished and siting on a shelf never to be read again, confusing the reader and loosing the real story puts readers off.
These are three of the best tips I have learned. They have helped me improve my writing more then any other tips I have found. I use my knowledge in both my blog and writing, even my readers have told me I have improved immensely sence I first started. Remember to use these tips to the fullest and you to will improve in all your writing rather you blog, write poetry, write novels, or short stories. Happy writing and remember practice makes perfect. Yes it’s an old saying and everyone has heard a thousand times, but it is true. The harder you work at it and the more you practice the better you will become. Remember writing for the first time is a journey, and every journey starts with the first step.