1. Escritor
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    Escritor New Member

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    I'm a newbie writer...how do i improve my writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Escritor, Sep 1, 2013.

    oh some many things to practice, i don't know where to begin:

    from grand scale plot, passing medium scale chapters, to little scale coherent paragraphs.

    Developing my character

    while being coherent, being also interesting

    Having good dialogues

    Having good descriptions/narrations.

    Playing with multiple POVs

    so much to do , where do i begin?


    How do i improve my writing, where do i begin? could you describe your first days as a writer... your first weeks, months, years. Do you remember how did you learn, what did work?
     
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  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like anything, you just have to practice. The best thing is if you can join a local critique group, where you critique and get critique from others in the group. Being able to discuss some of the things is immensely helpful.

    I have found it helpful to read some of the writing books, but use them more as food for thought, rather than as laying down "THE" rules. Read them as indicating what the author thinks worked for them, and see what resonates with you.
     
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  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for starters, you can learn the lingo...

    'dialogue' is a collective noun, so we don't put an 's' at the end...

    same with 'narration'... though in re writing, it's called 'narrative'...

    first, by identifying what needs upgrading... you can post an excerpt of your writing in the workshop section if/when you've fulfilled the site requirements and we'll give you feedback on what you need to improve...

    i didn't become a serious, full time writer till my early '40s, so since i was always good with words and was a constant reader of good writing, all i had to learn was how the publishing world works... i started a writing services business and wrote my own stuff between clients...
     
  4. EmmaWrite
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    EmmaWrite Member

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    I'm reading this book right now called Spilled Ink. It's for new writers and covers all the things you listed. You should look into it.

    My advice would just be to write every day. You'll get better through revising your work. You can submit on this forum or on other writing websites like Figment for feedback. You should also read as often as you can make time for and notice what you like about those books and see how you can use them in your writing.
     
  5. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    Write. You can improve your writing by writing plain and simple. If you need to work on dialogue write dialogue then read it back think, 'would anyone say that?' 'does it fit the character?' and try to identify whether it seems plausible. Also edit what you've done to improve it, through writing and improving what you write you can find what you need to work on and how to improve. Getting others to read over your work and be honest may not be good for your self esteem but it will help you improve.
     
  6. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Like everyone says.

    Write.

    The thing that will make you the best writer (or anything else in the world!) is practice. Practice, practice. And watching others do it (reading).

    My biggest cheat is using actual people as models for my characters. That way, when I put them together, I already know how they will interact! Like a dream; every character in your dream is really you. That way you know that the parts of your characters that make them special really came from you but the solid, underlying block that is who that character really *is* is the person upon whom they are modeled. Use your family, your friends, teammates, lovers, etc.. It makes the writing process go very smoothly!
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    simply continuing to write will not make anyone a better writer, because unless they do something to improve their writing, they'll only be committing the same mistakes over and over again, thus making it ever harder to break the habit...

    to improve your writing, don't just keep writing... most importantly, you need to read and study the works of the best writers... constantly...

    and seek the advice of pros on what you need to improve in your writing...
     
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  8. GHarrison
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    GHarrison Senior Member

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    Read and write and obsess. Let embryonic stories develop in your mind and give birth to them when you can no longer contain them.

    ...And listen to everything mammamia says... :D She tends to be write.
     
  9. MrWisp
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    MrWisp Member

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    Read. A lot. It's like immersing yourself in another language. The more great writing you read, the easier it will be not only to recognize what direction you'd like to take your own writing, but also to find shortcomings in your own works.
     
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  10. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Originally i started just writing the same scene over and over again (i had no idea where to take it then) a girl waiting under a tree for her brother -what the tree looked like, the basket, the flute in her hand, etc. It took quite a long time for me to finally start an actual story with it - and even then i had no idea where it was headed (now after three years, i finally do and it was SO worth it!)

    Now, i don't mean to advertize the RP side of the forum, but we do a lot of different things there you may be interested in trying. you get to create your own original character based on a template (character making practice) as well as experiment with whatever POV you like. And that's only the beginning. Pretty much the Rp forum is a huge playground for you to practice in, and i am happy i joined it. The people there are warm and friendly, so you can ask lots of questions even when the games get overwhelming at times (or, say, in a time of personal need of comfort like i did just today). Aside from reading, participating in a huge story with just your one character alongside with many others is a very good experience i should think.

    Well, i'm not gonna bother saying anything more, but if you want to know just what I'm talking about just go and look! at least with the RP forum you don't have to fret about plots like in a normal book yet.

    One step at a time...
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    RP?... as in RPG?... or something other?
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do you expect t find the answers in one quick thread? To even one of these questions?

    There are many, many threads on this site addressing EACH of these questions. Start reading, and start practicing. Meanwhile, acquire and read lots of good fiction, in as many genres and by as many authors as you can manage.

    Expect to spend considerable time and effort on this, Nothing worthwhile is easy.
     
  13. anniede
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    anniede New Member

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    To me, there are two steps to improving your writing:
    1) Write
    2) Read

    Write --> Write short stories. Write novels. Write flash fiction. Heck, you can even write jingles and descriptive bits on the inside of cereal boxes. The important thing is that you WRITE! As they say - "Practice makes perfect!"

    Read --> They say that the best writers are ones who read a lot --> fiction and non-fiction, classics and current bestsellers, magazines and websites. The more information and "good text" you can feed into your brain (or muse), the better your output will be.

    For example, I always have 3 types of books I'm reading at any given time - 1) fiction book (right now, I'm reading a Sherlock Holmes steampunk novel), 2) non-fiction book (current one is biographical "Just a Geek"), and 3) a book on writing (I'm currently working my way through the "Structuring your Novel" ebook by KM Weiland)

    Oh, and don't even get me started on the stack of magazines by my bed or all the blogs I have in my Blog Reader. If I'm not writing, I'm usually reading... ;-)

    Anne
     
  14. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    I'm also a very new writer. Some of the best advice I received was not to be afraid to write poorly. It gave me the freedom to simply write and develop my abilities without agonizing over every sentence.

    Other good advice was, when working on a piece, to get through the draft and get my ideas down and then go back and revise.

    And of course--read, read, read and write, write, write.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    reading must come first... can anyone design and build a car, or a house, if they haven't studied the real thing constantly, for a good long while?
     
  16. MrIthil
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    MrIthil New Member

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    It is very simple. There is no 'magical key' to becoming a skilled writer. Every skilled writer does these things:

    1. Write a lot
    2. Read a lot
    3. Do not settle for any less than your best when working
    4. Be persistent in your submissions
    5. Take the good with the bad

    That's all there is to it. Bounce your ideas off of your friends, family, hell, if you can find any ''critique groups'' to work with, go right ahead. Some people will criticize you just to criticize you. Don't take any notice of those people.
     
  17. Smitty91
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    Smitty91 Member

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    As I'm sure has already been stated, reading is your best means of learning how to write well. Read those who have left their mark on the literary world and see what they did well and what they didn't do well. Base your writing on what you read. Reading will [usually] help you improve your writing without you realizing it. If you're writing for children, I recommend someone like Marc Brown or J.K. Rowling. If you're writing for adults, then I suggest someone like James Patterson or Stephen King. There are also people you can pay to serve as your writing coach, but be warned: this can cost a good deal of money. Don't invest in a writing coach unless you have enough money to pay them and your monthly bills. Otherwise you won't be able to pay one or the other.
     
  18. desam90
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    desam90 New Member

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    George RR Martin (author of the Game of Thrones books) answers this question aswell: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/for-fans/faq/ (he basicly says what everyone has been saying: read, read, read and write everyday)

    EDIT: I wonder if browsing the web could be considered reading?
     
  19. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    And edit the living snot out of your work. Edit, edit, edit!

    Edit your forum posts too ;-) In the same way people assume a writer is stupid or deeply uneducated, if their writing is filled with spelling and grammar errors, people will think you are a freaking genius if your writing is excellent.

    In my experience, I have found there is no need to correct their erroneous conclusion leaps. :)
     
  20. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Ro
    It's called Role Play now but yes.
     
  21. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    Try to be objective when reading your own work. Visualise yourself in a bookshop, idly flicking through books. You open one and read whatever you've just written - except now you have no prior knowledge of the characters, no investment in reading any more. Would you want to keep reading, in that situation? Would you buy the book? Edit it until you would.
     
  22. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    There are a few things we recommend in our critique group for new writers looking to improve their skills (and since we're a critique group filled with published writers, we get approached by new writers a lot). I'll give you the basic list we discuss.
    • Read. A lot. I read between 100 and 150 books a year. You don't have to read that much, but you do have to read. And you have to read a wide variety of books. Sticking to one genre is not a good idea.
    • Write. A lot. I write just over 1 million words a year (only about half of them publishable). Write every day. Not everything will be gold. But if you write enough, something eventually will be.
    • Edit your own work. Go over it and improve it at least three times.
    • Have it edited by someone who can show you what you're doing wrong. We get a lot of objections to this one, especially from newbie writers who know everything, but it really does make a difference.
    • Join a critique group. A good one where people actually give decent feedback. A group where everyone just pats each other on the back is no help at all.
    • And finally... take a class. Find a class taught by writers who can teach that focuses on the kind of writing you'd like to do. Not all writers can teach, so watch out for that. Also watch out for classes taught by writers who aren't actually writers. If they can't point you to something they've written, find a different class. Our local university offers an entire series of classes for writers. It's not the only one, so look around.
     
  23. AlyHomewood
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    AlyHomewood New Member

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    I can't say that I'm great at practicing my writing, because at the moment studying so that I can get a job gets in the way. But I found a quote when I looked up about writing practice once (I was trying to work out what would be good practice, not that my research helped):

    "Sometimes you get the handsome prince and sometimes you get the frog. The point is, no matter what, you turn up at the pond." Basically, you aren't going to get anything good if you don't write, but not everything you write will be good either. Reading that helped me accept my less than ideal writing.
     
  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say start by writing something that interests you.

    Have you got a story in mind? A character or two? A setting or a story idea? Dig in, start writing as best you can. Don't worry about what other people are going to think of it. Don't worry about writing 'do's and don't's' at this stage. Write honestly, and try to make the story itself your focus, not your writing style.

    Take your time and bring it to life. Do whatever it takes to make us care deeply for your characters and their story. Let us see them doing things. Let us hear them talk to each other. Let us meet them and learn their quirks the way you would meet any new person. You observe what a stranger is like, don't you? They don't come with a set of character traits plastered across their forehead. You learn what they are like by paying attention to what they do and what they say. Write what you see them doing, think about why they are doing it, and they'll quickly become real people to you.

    Don't worry about whether your word choice and grammar are perfect during a first draft, or worry whether your subject matter is what everybody wants to read, or anything like that. Don't worry about being sentimental, stupid or anything else. Just get it down—all down—in a way that pleases you.

    One little trick to break the writing 'ice' is to pretend you're telling the story to somebody you know very well. You don't have to actually show this person anything, but just pretend you are telling it to them right now. This should be somebody who shares your interests and isn't a harsh judge. In fact if this person thinks you're the best thing since sliced bread, so much the better! (Your grannie, your little sister, your best friend) Knowing they are hanging on your every word will give you confidence, AND develop your voice as well.

    "Learning to Write" is a wonderful ambition, but unless there's a 'why' behind it, it's an empty exercise. It's kind of like saying 'I want to play the guitar, but I don't really care for music.' You can learn the mechanics, but if the soul isn't there to start with, it's not going to be much fun for either you or your readers. You need to have a story to tell.

    After you've finished and edited the first draft of your story, to a state that pleases you, THEN is the time to get it out there. Either on this forum, if it's a short piece, or give it to somebody you trust to have a look at it. See what happens. Be prepared to listen and make changes that seem sensible to you. If you can leave a time gap between finishing and giving it to people, so much the better. You'll be more inclined to look at it objectively, and take what other people say about it on board.

    If your reader wants to discuss your characters and what happens in your story, you know you've got them. If all they do is talk about the quality of your writing, you probably don't. Don't worry. It happens to everybody. Just keep getting feedback, and work from there.

    The most important thing? Write it. Have an idea and write it. Don't worry about it. Write it. Give yourself something to work with. Once you've done that, you can make it better.

    Good luck. Writing is wonderful, and a long learning curve. I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013

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