Write Like You Think

1 05 2013

Creative Writing Tips

How to Improve Writing Skills

Success secrets of great authors – revealed! These creative writing tips and writing techniques point the way to clear, concise, powerful prose.

Creative Writing Tip #1: Be Simple

Write in the simple, natural language of everyday speech. This doesn’t mean that you confine yourself to only the most basic words, but that you avoid pompous language, which may cloud your meaning or send readers to sleep.onceuponatime

For example, do not say, He acquired an instrument of destruction wherewith he decapitated the formidable foe, when you mean, With his axe he chopped off the giant’s head. Use short, familiar words rather than long, obscure ones – unless the longer word fits your meaning more precisely.

Most good writing is simple. Read the works of authors like Jack London and Ernest Hemingway; read the classics; read the Bible. Simple language is the strongest and most effective.

One way to acquire good style is to study the works of great writers: not to imitate them but to learn how simple language can be elegant, lyrical and powerful.

Read also Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style: this is probably the best book available on the subject of good style.

Creative Writing Tip #2: Be Yourself

Be yourself; be natural and sincere. Don’t try to imitate another writer’s style; find your own, the style that bears the stamp of your personality.

A guarded, polished style is like a faceless mask; it’s not real. Good writing resonates with the true voice of the human author, with all of that author’s warmth, wit, idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities.

Write as if you’re speaking to a friend. Your reader should be able to hear the rhythms and cadences of your speaking voice. Your family and friends should be able to say, “This sounds like you.”

Creative Writing Tip #3: Be Precise

Choose words that say precisely what you mean.

Avoid trite words like nice, interesting, big. As in: We had a nice dinner; That’s a big bird. Be specific. Is it sushi, wonton or mutton curry? Is it a flamingo, an eagle or an ostrich?

Avoid vague words like walk, laugh, pour. Be creative. The boy ambled, shuffled, swaggered; the villain scoffed, jeered, sneered; water gurgled, gushed, spurted out.

Avoid meaningless words like thing, something, somewhere. Be definite. Name the thing or place, use concrete words that evoke clear images: click on this link for more Creative Writing Tips on Concrete Words.

Get a thesaurus to help you. Roget’s Thesaurus, for example, is an indispensable reference tool. It comes in many versions; pick the one that best suits your needs.

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A dictionary of synonyms helps too. Webster’s New Dictionary of Synonyms, for example, tells you the subtle difference between almost similar words. Or get the compact version, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms.

Choose words that convey your message clearly to readers. Good writers look for the apt word, the word that carries the precise denotation and the strongest, richest connotations. For more Creative Writing Tips on Denotations and Connotations of Words, go to Good Word Choice.

Creative Writing Tip #4: Be Concise

Concise writing is clear and strong. Write to the point, cut out unnecessary words. This doesn’t mean that you throw out all details, descriptions and figures of speech but that you make every word pull its weight.

Cut out meaningless words and phrases like basically, personally, as a matter of fact.
As a matter of fact, today is my birthday has the same meaning as Today is my birthday.
Personally, I feel we shouldn’t go near the bull: can anyone ever feel impersonally?

Don’t repeat yourself. Phrases like round in shape, the reason is because, revert back, say the same thing twice.

Use strong action verbs. Sentences with active verbs are shorter and stronger than those with passive verbs.

Active Verb: The man bit the dog.
Passive Verb: The dog was bitten by the man.
Click here for more Creative Writing Tips on Action Verbs.

Replace roundabout phrases like in the event of, by virtue of the fact that, by the name of, with single words that do the same job, like if, because, named.

Phrases like there is, there was, it was dilute your meaning:
There was a baby crying in the basket; it was the baby’s cry that woke him up.
Cut out the verbiage: A baby was crying in the basket; the baby’s cry woke him up.

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I Have A Dream…

2 04 2013

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402No. I am not going to start quoting Martin Luther King, Jr (well I might), however, I too have a dream.  I have fantasized for years now about being a public speaker (funny thing to fantasize about for a woman who’s pretty shy around people, particularly strangers). Yet, I couldn’t see speaking about my novels. After all, anyone can write fiction and what purpose does it serve to speak about fiction. No, I wanted to speak about something meaningful, helpful, insightful.  The problem was, I hadn’t a clue what that something was.  Then I began reading motivational books, Osteen, Covey, Long, Ruiz, Sharma. Top it off with a meeting with one of those writers and an idea struck.  As a relationship therapist and blogger, I write motivational pieces all the time. What’s stopping me from writing about something that really helps and encourages me? After all, it might just help and encourage others.

SO… watch for some different writings from me in the near future (no, I’m not putting aside the sequel to Fatal Compulsions or my fourth novel as yet untitled; just putting them on the back burner for a while) and let me know what you think when I begin posting my ideas and trains of thought.  Just to help me stay on the right track.





From the Desk of The Cultural Purveyor

31 03 2013

I love following this genius at work. Any time I am stuck, unmotivated, experiencing the usual writer’s angst, I turn to The Cultural Purveyor for relief, insight, motivation, and a dose of reality.  All writers should be checking in with this guru (my personal opinion).  Here’s my dose of reality for today.CPphoto

WRITING MOTIVATION  by THE CULTURAL PURVEYOR

What inspires us to write? There is something inside us that must be let out… a craving to express ourselves with the written word. Our efforts might  be as short as a haiku, as long as War and Peace or anything in between. It doesn’t matter as long as the wordsmith muse within us is let free.

The Cultural Purveyor encourages the Arts in all its forms, most especially the Art of writing.

How though do you become inspired? Today we are sharing a short piece written by +pio dal cin .  His inspiration was a memory of an event in his past. For  him the memory was sweet and loving.

Not all memories are pleasant, nor do they have to be in order to be expressed. Today take your 15 minutes of writing time (you do carve out time to do that don’t you?) and think about something from your past. It can be humorous, sad, joyful or simply nostalgic and let your creativity flow.





Maybe it’s me

15 09 2012

I wonder sometimes if there is a “perfect” writer.  You know the one.  The person who devotes a specific number of hours a day to their craft and yet still manages to have a life outside of writing.  The one who cranks out 2-3 best selling books a year and who has stories to spare.  The one who’s witty, charming; the one everyone wants to listen to and never grows tired of.

All I know is that isn’t me.  I’ll go weeks, sometimes, months without writing.  Then a creative wave will hit me, sweep me off my feet, and I’ll plunge under it, to emerge a month or two later with a the skeleton of a story that lacks only fleshing out to make it complete. I will find myself asking by what right do I call myself an author.

It seems to me that I’m a feast or famine author.  Either I have a story racing through my head that clamors, no NEEDS, to be written so that I can’t rest until the story is out on paper or it drives me insane and interrupts my sleep.

Or…

I’ll sit and stare at my computer screen for hours on end, wondering why the story I WANT to write, can’t get beyond the first few pages before it is mired in drudge so deep that i forget where the story night have gone.

As an author, I find it frustrating and yes, I tend to feel somewhat guilty, that I am not even in the same category as what I THINK a true writer is; that perfect writer I carry around an image of in my mind.  I’d love to be her someday.








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