It would be great and helpful if all of us could come up with some tips and tricks that has helped us improve our writing.
I just finished reading On Writing by Steven King. I have learned some tips and tricks from the book and below are some of the excerpts that I highlighted while reading it.
It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.
In an early interview , a radio talk-show host asked me how I wrote. My reply—“One word at a time”—seemingly left him without a reply. I think he was trying to decide whether or not I was joking. I wasn’t. In the end, it’s always that simple.
Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over.
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
Put your vocabulary and grammar on the top shelf of your toolbox, and don’t make any conscious effort to improve it. (You’ll be doing that as you read, of course . . . but that comes later.)
One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.
Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful. If you hesitate and cogitate, you will come up with another word—of course you will, there’s always another word—but it probably won’t be as good as your first one, or as close to what you really mean.
Verbs come in two types, active and passive. With an active verb, the subject of the sentence is doing something. With a passive verb, something is being done to the subject of the sentence. The subject is just letting it happen. You should avoid the passive tense. I’m not the only one who says so; you can find the same advice in The Elements of Style.
I insist that you use the adverb in dialogue attribution only in the rarest and most special of occasions … and not even then, if you can avoid it. Just to make sure we all know what we’re talking about, examine these three sentences:
“Put it down!” she shouted.
“Give it back,” he pleaded, “it’s mine.” “Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,” Utterson said.
In these sentences, shouted, pleaded, and said are verbs of dialogue attribution. Now look at these dubious revisions:
“Put it down!” she shouted menacingly.
“Give it back,” he pleaded abjectly, “it’s mine.” “Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,” Utterson said contemptuously.
The latter three sentences are all weaker than the three former ones, and most readers will see why immediately. “Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,” Utterson said contemptuously is the best of the lot; it is only such a cliche, while the other two are actively ludicrous.
The best form of dialogue attribution is said, as in he said, she said, Bill said, Monica said. If you want to see this put stringently into practice, I urge you to read or reread a novel by Larry McMurtry, the Shane of dialogue attribution.
……let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.
……if you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.
Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.
All the excerpts above are from On Writing(Link to customer reviews).
At the end, I was wondering if there are any other books to help us improve our writing. If you know then please link it in the comments below so that everyone can benefit from it. Also, share some of your own tips and tricks that has helped you improve your writing.
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