If you’re looking for a few helpful pointers on how to improve your writing, then we’ve got you covered. From grammar to sentence structure, punctuation to proofreading, this list has something for everyone.
So the next time you have some important information to share, you won’t be burdened by bad writing habits.
Tip 1: Use short, simple sentences
Sentences are composed of words that you string together to convey your message. If you have a lot of them in one sentence, it’s going to be hard for the reader to understand what all your trying to say. If you break up the sentence into smaller ones and use punctuation wisely, your point can easily be made without having a long run-on sentence.
Tip 2: Don’t use cliches or work too hard on perfecting word choice
Clichés are overused phrases that you absolutely should not use. Stick to your own original wording, but don’t try too hard to choose the right word, as long as it’s clear what you mean by it.
Tip 3: Learn how to proofread properly and use a beta reader (or five)
When you’re going over something for the last time before publishing it, don’t just read it quickly. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and read your work out loud. It’s amazing how many mistakes you can catch when you do this. Plus, don’t be afraid to ask someone else to proofread for you.
Tip 4: Eliminate weak or unnecessary words from your sentences
There is no need to add extra words when they don’t convey meaning. Take this sentence for example: “The man was tired so he went home.” By eliminating some words, we can shorten the sentence and make it less wordy, but still conveying: “The tired man went home”.
Tip 5: Use proper grammar and punctuation
There is nothing worse than misusing grammar or punctuating incorrectly because you haven’t paid attention in class or just don’t know how to do it right. Don’t let embarrassing mistakes happen by using correct spelling and grammar in everything that you write.
Tip 6: Don’t use too many adjectives or adverbs
Like we said above, using too many words can make your sentences hard to understand and a book with too many adjectives and adverbs is hard to read. Remember, you’re writing for your readers, and not you. Keep it simple so that they have no trouble reading the book.
Tip 7: Use the five senses when writing about your characters’ surroundings, emotions and actions
This will take your writing from average to well written because it adds depth and detail to everything that happens in your novel. Let us see, hear, taste, smell, and feel every scene that you write about.
Tip 8: Show, don’t tell
This is extremely important to remember because there are times when we want to tell a reader exactly what’s going on. In those cases you can use both telling and showing. If you’re not sure which to use in certain situations here are some basic rules:
One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is telling us how the character is feeling. You don’t want to tell us how your character is feeling because you’re making your writing dry and uninteresting. Instead, show us what he or she feels through what he or she does or say in a conversation.
Show – Use this for actions or thoughts and feelings of your main character (whoever the story is focused on) as well as scenes that show how another character feels about something important.
Tell – Use this for things that clearly happened and are not being shown (ex. if you’re writing about a book, it’s telling the reader what happened in the book).
Tip 9: Don’t over complicate your plotting
There is no need for a complicated, intricate plot twist that will make no sense to anyone but you. Keep it simple, keep it easy to read and keep it easy to follow. Complicated plots can make your book hard to go through because you have too much going on at once and people are only willing to read so much into something before they get bored.
Tip 10: Add some humor to your writing
Humor isn’t necessary in every material, but it’s a nice thing to have. If your story isn’t lighthearted and fun, you’re probably not going to have a good chance of people reading more than the first few pages. Adding some humor can make your story more enjoyable and will help with reader engagement.
Tip 11: Use active sentences when possible
Active sentences generally have a subject and at least one verb, whereas passive ones do not have a subject, or they have it in the form of a direct object. This is a big tip when trying to avoid run-on sentences as they are only active sentences as well.
When you write an article or piece of writing that requires more than one sentence, try and make sure your first sentence has an active voice. This means it starts off with the word “are” or “have”. This will make your writing more polished and concise.
If you are still confused as to what an active or passive sentence is, you can check out this article https://www.grammarly.com/blog/active-vs-passive-voice/
Tip 12. Avoid emoticons and too many abbreviations
It looks juvenile and it slows you down. You want to convey a message in words, not end up saying, “lol” at the end of every sentence.
Tip 13: Read at least one fiction novel each week
Many people expend a lot of energy trying to avoid reading, when it’s actually a great tool for learning how to write well. Reading helps you learn what good writing looks like by giving you access to powerful visual images and vocabulary that have been carefully crafted by master wordsmiths.
Tip 14: Write every day or every other day
The most effective way to improve your writing skills is to practice a lot, even if it’s just a quick email or post on Facebook or Twitter. As with reading, daily writing may be the most effective way to quickly improve your speed and accuracy.
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