Tag Archives: improvement

Rules: Is this OK?

I could fill this post with an enormous amount of rules that mostly work for any novel you want to write, but that isn’t the point here.

Any writer, especially the ones who are just beginning, ask themselves now and then: Should I do this? Is that allowed? Can I write this scene like this? This is amazingly good and will help you a lot in order to build your story and give your work some quality, but let’s talk about writing rules in general: they are guidelines, not rules!


You can, if it works

No matter how peculiar your ideas might seem, if they work for your story, then you can use them. This is the only actual rule.

Do you want to tell your story from the flea point of view? You can, as long as it makes sense in the context. Now, you are probably thinking: OK, so how can I know if it works? The answer is easy: try it. Experiment, write different versions of a scene, for example, to determine who should be telling the story, if the narrator is sarcastic, funny or serious, if the narrator gives its opinions or merely describes what is taking place. You decide.

Flashbacks

One of the major problems a writer faces is how to tell background story and flashbacks are a commonly known way of doing it, however, most people would say “no” to it. So, are they allowed?

The reason flashbacks seem to be so hated is because you’ll need to stop telling the main story, to introduce the ancient story and most of the time, it’s not worth it. Again, these are guidelines, which work most of the time, but your story might very well be the exception and that is OK!

If it is, in your particular case, so important to describe something that happened before, do it! And that goes for any other guidelines too. If your story works best by breaking a rule, then please do it!

Experiment! Have fun! Try new things! Maybe you’re a visionary making something new and amazing, or maybe you’ll fail and need to start all over again. It doesn’t matter. There are so many options out there to be explored! Just enjoy yourself and never stop writing!

9 quick tips to improve your writing

Improvement. That’s an amazing word and fundamental for all of us who want to continuously get better at our jobs. As I already said in previous posts, there is plenty of competition in the writing field, so, if you want to write for life, you must be good at it.

You might read a whole lot and that certainly helps you in becoming a better writer, but even then, there are some points or specifics regarding your work that seem to lack that special something, right? There always is. I leave you here with some tips on how to improve your stories, your books, or, wherever you’d like to write.

1. Make them cry but also make them laugh

No matter how sad your story is, your readers will be delighted with some giggles somewhere in it. A safe way to do it is by creating a rather funny character, even among the most horrifying tragedy, he or she will have something fun to say, or even do. Your story will be all better for it, and much more interesting, believe me.

The same should happen in the opposite direction. You can be writing a fun story, but come on, nobody likes a full-time clown. So, some serious moments might prove useful.

2. Be logical

You may write about a completely crazy fantasy world, where nothing seems real, however, you should be coherent. Even within craziness, you need some logic. If everything is random and non-logical, people will lose interest.

So, you must decide for some rules when you’re creating your fantasy world, no matter how crazy they are, all that matters is that they are applied from the very first page to the last.

3. Structure

The classical structure of a novel or short-story is a character who needs to, somehow, solve some conflict in order to achieve some goal. You should always keep this in mind!

Now, of course you can fight the classical structure, but, you should be careful and have a purpose for it yourself, such as, getting a specific reaction or surprising your audience in some clever way. However, also keep in mind that usually, the further you move away from that classical structure, the smaller your audience will be.

4. Run from stereotypes

There are many successful stories about stereotyped characters, they usually intend to criticize some class or type of person. You could go there, if you wanted to, but remember, the stories who keep people talking about them, aren’t usually like this.

They have unique characters, deep thoughts and actions. They give their readers something to think about, analyze and interpret, almost all on their own with subtle clues, actions and dialogue within the storyline. Let your readers make up their own mind about a character.

5. Your reader is the most important one

This builds on the conclusion from the previous point. Do not treat your readers as if they don’t know anything. They are important and you want them to be interested in your story, right? So, let them have an opinion, don’t tell them everything, make them think, lead them to take their own conclusions.

6. Paper and pencil is the best way to start out

You might never think about it, but when you sit at your computer you’re being limited by it. Pick up a paper and a pencil and do whatever you want. You can write words, you can draw, make a map, anything you want. And don’t worry, it’s just for you, nobody will see it, so it doesn’t really matter if your cow ends up looking like an ostrich.

7. Take a walk

Writing is a solitary job, usually sitting down, closed off in a room by yourself. But the creativity and fun stories are out there, amongst LIFE. Get out! See people, talk to them, observe them, think about them and their issues. You’ll see your characters become more interesting and your writing improving.

8. You have 5 senses

And so do your readers… You should never forget about that, use it in your favor. When writing your amazing descriptions remember all of them and try incorporate them into your writing. Talking about the smell, the feeling of the wind against the skin, the sound of the forest will make your scene that much more interesting and detail-rich.

9. Nobody is definitively good or evil

If you want your character to be interesting and catch the reader’s attention, you must humanize it. The bad guy could have some positive characteristics and the hero can be a real jerk sometimes. A hero too good tends to become boring and a villain too bad is unrealistic (they can’t be all crazy, all the time, can they?)

What did I miss? 4 quick tips to improve your stories

What is lacking in my story? – The more you write, the more you’ll be asking yourself this question, and if you aren’t careful, it probably means that you’re not getting any improvement.

It’s really important for any professional try getting better at what it is they do, to improve themselves and the quality of their work. As a writer, you sometimes need to stop and really try to analyze your work and find some points where definitely have room to improvement.

Sure, this is not an easy task, but I can give you some tips that might help you through it.

1. Read your favorite authors.

Read your favorite books and authors again, and again, and try to find out what made those works some of your favorite. What made you want to read it in first place? What kept you reading that particular piece? What’s your favorite part? Why? Why does that story seem so good, at least for the reader, and maybe even the author in you?

It’s important for you to understand what makes a good first chapter, a good conflict and how the ideas they consist of, were organized. Is that something that would work for you? The style, the rhythm… the more information you have, the more you can improve your own work.

2. Organize and plan.

Yes, you are probably thinking that what you really like to do is write. Just sit and start writing… and that’s important, but often enough, a good story needs a bit of planning.

You need to organize your ideas and there are plenty of options to do it. Use them. Try different mixes of organization and work methods until you decide which ones are the best for you.

Organize your ideas, plan what will happen, when, how… Are you writing a mystery novel? Do you want the readers to have some hints that might make them curious? Every single detail is important and the more carefully planned it is, the better prepared you’ll be when you really do start writing.

3. Read it out loud.

Sometimes, what seems to work really well inside your head, turns out to be a bad idea on paper, and the best way to see if that is the case is to listen what is written. You’ll be easily aware of the narrative rhythm, the structure of the sentences, the way ideas are connected…

It can be a great experience and very insightful to ask someone else to read it out loud for you.

4. Focus on main character.

The main character is fundamental in any story. You must take some time to analyze it and improve it wherever or whenever possible. It should be remarkable and deep, good and evil at different times, and ideally, you want your readers to be able to identify with the character regarding several situations or experiences.

The main character should be an intense and active person, that either has something to win or lose. It should be someone your readers would actively care about, so they will read the story until the end in order to find out what happens to this character.

But be careful with the enthusiastic descriptions… There are other ways to show how your character looks like, the kind of person he or she is and the things they like, without describing them exhaustively. You can show or shine a light on all of these things through your character’s words and actions, the way in which he or she reacts to some situations, and how he or she talks to or approaches people…

This is a subtle way of giving people some knowledge about your character and, believe me, it is highly effective and way more powerful and interesting method of doing so.