Tag Archive - writing tips

How to Make Your Sentences More Descriptive

Today’s guest post is by Jordan Conrad.

The purpose of writing is to communicate information. This is true for writing of all types—for fiction and nonfiction, for creative and technical, for business and legal.

A work of fiction communicates information by telling a story, while an email to an employee communicates information in a much more direct way.

In either case, the author accomplishes the goal of information sharing by using descriptive language to convey detail.

Here is a passage that isn’t very descriptive:

  • Beth first met her spouse in California.

The sentence is fine grammatically, but it isn’t very interesting. What were they doing in California? How did they meet? Did they fall in love head over heels, or did their relationship grow over time as they got to know one another? Continue Reading…

Get Your Story in Hand Using Shorthand

Today’s guest post is by Tawnya Showalter.

If you’re a journalist, you may already be acquainted with shorthand. It’s a high-speed method of recording interviews or taking notes, using a simpler set of characters in place of the alphabet.

But shorthand isn’t just for journalists and college students anymore—it’s for authors too.

Writing your first draft—or sketching out a scene—in shorthand can significantly impact the structure of your novel. It helps shore up common pitfalls associated with first drafts, making your editing process a breeze.

Balderdash. Utter nonsense, you say. How can writing quicker really make such a difference? Continue Reading…

Famous Authors’ Bad Writing Advice

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at an excerpt from a previous post titled Words of Advice from Famous Authors That Are Just Wrong.

I imagine this post is bound to draw some criticism, but bring it on!

Maybe it’s just me, but when I read pithy statements from famous authors that are hailed as sage advice, I often scratch my head. Based on my experience as an author, sometimes the savvy advice is more rosemary or thyme than sage.

This silly analogy makes me think of spices, which leads me to think how everyone’s tastes are different. You may love cumin in your chili (I do), but a friend of mine says it tastes like dust and she can’t stand it.

So what’s my point about sage advice? That just because some really famous author said it, doesn’t mean it really applies to you. What works as gospel for one writer may be madness for another.

So it may be wise to take such advice with a grain of salt (unless you don’t like salt—so maybe that expression doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in this context). For you, maybe that great advice is just plain wrong. Continue Reading…

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