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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Improving My Writing.

This week, I thought I’d share some of the things I do to try and improve my own writing.

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but, I find it works for me. Hopefully, you’ll find one or two things in there that work for you.

1.      As I write, I like to read aloud. I feel it’s the only sure way to ensure the rhythm of the sentences is okay. It also assists me to get a feel of the ‘flow’ of the narrative.


2.      Keep your exclamation points under control. I write a lot of action scenes. There’s a temptation to try and emphasize certain aspects of the dialogue with the dreaded EP! (See – one jumped in right there). So, as I complete my re-read of a section, if I see one has slipped in, I take a scalpel to it with bloody vengeance.
Try it.  Take them out in all but the most exceptional cases.


3.      Watch out for the word ‘suddenly’ – or similar. The bane of my life...(I refer to the action scenes I mentioned earlier. My editors pointed out my habit of doing this when I first started writing. I always work closely with my editors, so, I’ve made an effort to improve. The best way I’ve found to apply their advice is to approach the problem in waves.
As I write, I consciously try to avoid them if I can. When I do the re-read of a section for flow and rhythm, etc, I take a second look and get that scalpel out again. It’s a gradual process, and one that is now becoming a good habit.


4.      Keep a book. Specific scenes require certain descriptive words. But if you’re writing – for example – about a number of explosions taking place in quick succession, and each blast needs to be emphasized, don’t use the same word over and over. Use a thesaurus to assist you in the first place – AND – keep a book. I jot down those words I need, so I can memorize them, and refer to them instantly if I get stuck. (Explosion – blast – detonation – concussion – eruption – bang – implosion) – a little example J


5.      Write every day. I keep to a schedule. Others hate that. Find whatever is right for you, but write as often as you can...keep those creative juices flowing.


6.      And finally, finish the day when you’re still itching to write some more. It makes you look forward to what’s in store.


There you go. Nothing amazing or world-shaking, but these little pointers – constantly applied – keep my writing fresh, and help me improve. I hope they help you as well.
Until next time


  1. Number 6 is especially important. I think it was Hemingway who said, always stop at a point where you still know what happens next. I agree. Never go to bed with an empty inkwell.

  2. I've been trying to take out "it" and other pronouns. In the flurry of creation sometimes they slip in there, but I find pronouns almost invariably add to confusion. I'm not saying you should eliminate their use entirely--take out about half of them.