Improving your writing skills is a hard, often seemingly thankless job. It involves a great deal of effort, reading, and editing to improve base writing skills, especially if you don’t have a mentor or editor to help you.
These are 10 of the tips and tricks I used to improve my writing without help from others.
10: Emulate a favorite author
I learned this trick from a teacher in high school, and it made a huge impact on my basic writing skills. Pick up your favorite book, open it to somewhere in the middle, and find the start of a chapter. Write a story using the same structure as the author. So, first off, you will need to identify all the parts of the sentence. This helps you understand the base components of English. If you don’t know how to identify the parts of a sentence, pick up some elementary or middle-school level books and read up.
Knowing the difference between an adjective and an adverb does actually help improve your ability to write fiction, as does knowing the difference between a subject, a conjunction, a noun, and a verb.
By following the sentence structure of your favorite writers, you can learn how they put sentences together. I find this exercise a good way to improve and reinforce basic English skills while learning from writing you love.
9: Study English through Reading
There is a reason people suggest you read books if you want to write. Read the genre you write. Read genres outside of what you write. Read non-fiction. The important thing is, you do read. Many people learn through reading. That said, once you know how to write well, reading becomes less and less of a requirement.
That said, reading is how you learn to identify clichés and common plot themes in your story. While using clichés can be an effective storytelling tool, I think it’s really important that they’re done intentionally not accidentally.
8: Don’t edit until you finish a rough draft
Time and time again, I see a fledgling writer never finish a novel because they’re too busy editing unfinished material. Save edits for until you have a completed story to work on.
7: Write what you Love not what you Know
You’ll have a lot more fun with writing, and having fun is really important when the going gets rough.
6: There is no such thing as a perfect novel
While we all want to write a perfect book, no matter how long we spend editing, something will be missed. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Fix it and move on. Even traditionally-published novels have errors in them. Only start sweating if there are a lot of errors.
5: Learn to edit by editing others
Critiquing and editing is an excellent skill for writers to learn. Writing workshops and critique groups are a good way to learn the ropes of editing. When you start seeing errors others make, it is that much easier to see those same errors in your own writing.
4: Don’t rewrite your story to death
Rewriting is often necessary to tell a better story. I really suggest that you avoid rewriting the same story more than once or twice. If you continuously tell the same story over and over and over again, you’ll beat the life right out of it.
If you do feel the need to rewrite it over and over again, consider telling a completely new story with the same characters to give the tale a breath of fresh air.
3: Finish what you started
I’m a firm believer that improvement and success as a writer is tied to finishing what you start. Writing the rough draft of a novel isn’t enough. Edit it, and then polish it until it shines. Every time you do this, your writing and storytelling skills will improve.
2: You are not your writing
Don’t tie your self-esteem to your words. Your writing is not you. Remind yourself of this every time you get a review or a critique. Your writing isn’t you.
1: Writers Write
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth saying again. You can’t improve your writing skills unless you practice writing with the intent to improve your writing. Writers write. Go write, learn, and improve. There isn’t a quick, easy way to become a great storyteller.
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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