Too light, and they'll miss it completely. Where theme really shines is in specific imagery, actions, and moments in your writing. It's not so much about breathless pontification so much as exploring many different angles of your theme through powerful details. Do you have spots in your writing where you openly spell out the theme, moral, or lesson? Think about showing us, instead. 15) In writing, you must kill all your darlings.
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13) Always be a poet, even in prose. charles baudelaire how to Use It: This is a trap that's exceptionally help easy to fall into, especially when writing "content" as opposed to "creative work". But it's advice we all need. Why settle for the most plain way of expressing an idea? Try injecting a little artistry into what you. Try rewriting your intro in three or four different ways, coming at it from different angles each time. Photo courtesy of Flickr user ambimb How to Use It: Here's "Show, don't Tell" again. Only this time we're talking about theme. Theme is quite a beast. Use too heavy of a hand and you'll make people vomit.
That suggests you show your main character doing something admirable, heroic, or kind in the opening scenes of your movie in order to get the audience on his or her side. When working with anti-heroes, often the trick is to just make the bad guy behave even worse by comparison. You can argue the advice, but the point is, show us with action who we're thesis supposed to love and who we're supposed to hate. 12) If it sounds like writing, i rewrite. elmore leonard Photo courtesy of Flickr user Zennie abraham How to Use It: For reference, here's a short list of things that are "writerly long, elaborate scene description. Phrases that set out to be deep and profoud. It can be hard to catch this stuff in your own work, which is why it's really important to have others read your stuff. But, as leonard says, if it sounds too much like a writer wrote it, rewrite.
Before you write your next piece, ask: what's wrong with the world? What makes me angry? What needs to be written about? 11) If you tell the reader that Bull resume beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snakes blood in his veins, the readers reaction may be, oh, yeah! But if you show the reader Bull beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes! fred East Photo courtesy of Flickr user Bill Gracey how to Use It: "Show, don't tell" works for characters too. There's an old adage from the screenwriting book save the cat!
Seek them out in your writing and see if they can't be replaced by either a) subbing in a stronger verb or b) better setting the context before the adverb sentence. Bonus tip: King is particularly critical of adverbs used in speech attribution: "Put it down!" she shouted menacingly. 10) When I sit down to write a book, i do not say to myself, i am going to produce a work of art. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention. george Orwell Photo courtesy of Flickr user Luca cerabona how to Use It: Struggling to find something to write about? Then this" should hit home for you. I've always felt like writing should really be about something. Not just to show off skill or craft. It's why i've never been a huge fan of writing prompts as anything but a throwaway creative exercise.
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Know enough grammar to best be able to communicate properly. But if you're going to spend time studying something, or obsessing over something, make it story, voice, theme, character, or dialogue. 8) "A good title is the title of a successful book." - raymond Chandler. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Bertalan szürös How to Use It: Now more than ever, headlines matter. With so much address competition (in every medium people are forced to be much more selective in what content they choose to consume.
Some argue that you should spend at least as much time on your title or headline as you do on the writing itself. A good habit to get into: don't commit to your first idea. Brainstorm at least a dozen different options to see if you may be overlooking a gem. 9) The road to hell is paved with adverbs. stephen King Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tojosan How to Use It: he walked slowly. Adverbs are used to describe or modify verbs, adjectives, or even other adverbs. And, when not wielded properly, can be the hallmark of an amateur writer.
And don't be afraid of getting too detailed. You can always trim back later. 6) "Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose." - elmore leonard. Photo courtesy of, flickr user Chris Drumm, how to Use It: Exclamation points are a funny thing.
They can be excellent at adding emphasis or expressing surprise, shock, horror, etc. But when you start to see them too often, or used poorly, nothing makes you roll your eyes faster. I'd default to not really using them at all. It will make the moment that much more powerful when you come across a scene that truly calls for one. 7) "Grammar is the grave of letters." - elbert Hubbard. How to Use It: A funny thing you'll notice the more time you spend around people who write: those who are insane sticklers for perfect grammar are rarely great writers. Guys, writing is about storytelling. It's not about who can follow all the rules and syntax to the letter.
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"Lope" could describe an awkward sort of gait. Just don't get business fancy unless the fuller more advanced verb actually adds extra context and meaning. 5) "Dont tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." - anton Chekhov. Photo courtesy of, flickr user Robert Burdock, how to Use It: everyone knows about "Show, don't Tell but there's still so much telling going on in our writing, i'm not sure if we've really stopped to think about what it means. On first glance, it might seem like "the moon is shining" is showing. But it's really only scratched the surface of the scene at hand. Drill your writing down to the deepest details. They're often the ones that hold the most power and meaning.
No one has to see your work until you decide it's ready. Get that shitty first draft out of the way so you can start to sculpt it into something that resembles quality work. 4) "Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting." - jonathan Franzen. Photo courtesy of, flickr user Daniel Silliman, how to Use It: There is an extremely fine line between using colorful language and making your writing overly complicated - especially when it comes to verbs. As noted above, avoid spending too much time digging through the thesaurus for gems like, phrases "canter "hotfoot and "smoke" when "run" will do just fine. What is the simplest verb available that will properly express the action? It doesn't have to be "run". "Scamper" could imply a sense of franticness.
"The first draft of everything is shit." - ernest Hemingway. Photo courtesy of, flickr user thomashawk, how to Use It: Similarly, hemingway knew that sometimes it takes more than a little whiskey to free your brain from its creative shackles. This idea, that first drafts always suck, is amazingly freeing once you internalize. Give yourself permission to suck.
Photo courtesy of, flickr user Nasos, how to Use It: read back over the last thing you wrote. Did you use any strange words you found hidden deep inside the thesaurus? Or, more to the point, did you use any words just because you've seen them used in similar pieces of writing and not because you thought they were a good fit? A big vocabulary is not the hallmark of a great writer. Instead, strive to take complex, fascinating ideas and make them universally accessible 2) "Write drunk, edit sober." - ernest Hemingway. Photo courtesy of, flickr user cebimagery, how to Use It: you can write drunk if you want, but I think what Hemingway was getting at here was this: writing and editing were not meant to occur at the same time. They require totally different states of mind. When you write, you should be loose, ambitious, and open-minded. Follow your creative instincts.
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Every so often, i run into these long lists of writing tips and"s from famous authors on sites like thought Catalog, buzzfeed, and others. Always interesting to read advice from the greats. But sometimes I wonder. These"s tend to swing wildly between craft, motivation, business, life, and everything in between. The only way to get anything out of them would be to print out the ones that resonate and pin them on your wall writing so they're there the next time you need them. So what i've done is, i've gone through basically every curated list of famous writing"s and distilled them down into ones you can use right now, today, this second, to make your work better. 1) "never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass." - david Ogilvy.