Thursday, June 20, 2013

10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing


Dear Fellow Writer,

It's a terrible shame about James Gandolfini - he died so young at 51, this week in Rome. 

The Sopranos will always have a special place in my heart. Tony was a character with the right mixture of dark complexity and shining humanity that is so often hard for us fiction writers to get right!

Hey! Soon to be available for sale, you can now watch my short movie, FIRST CUT, for FREE - in HD - but only for today. 

Click on the screen below!

BTW: I'm starting a new author blog soon - one that is dedicated only to my fiction and film projects. 

I want to be able to share free insights on creating fiction, give away some of my stories and films - and have a place where there's absolutely no selling in sight! Look out for that!

Keep Writing!
Your Success is My Concern

Crime FictionWrite From The Start


10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing

Rob Parnell

Following on from the last couple of week's 'Easy Ways' Articles, I thought this week we should look at writing - apparently my area of expertise - as a few subscribers have pointed out to me recently!

1. Study The English Language

I know this sounds blindingly obvious but you will always benefit from learning current phraseology, syntax, punctuation and grammar.

Your writing shines with luminescence when you get everything right - something not all wannabe writers seem all that concerned about!

I'm not talking about adhering to all the fussy rules of correct English, I mean that your writing should look perfectly natural to the majority of English-speaking readers.

2. Get To Know Basic Structure

All good writing has a beginning, a middle and an ending. You need to introduce ideas in the right order, develop them and finish with a conclusion based on your premise and your evidence.

This is true of books, chapters, even paragraphs - down to the humble sentence.

When you don't write using an obvious structure, your writing can appear incoherent and rambling. Learn to spot structure in other people's writing - and emulate how they use it effectively.

3. Understand the Purpose of Writing

Writing is not just about putting your thoughts on paper.

The purpose of writing is to present a proposition - an idea or a concept or a point of view - and convince the reader that your proposition is correct and/or believable.

In fiction your proposition is your fictional world and the story you are telling.

In non-fiction the proposition is often a personal interpretation of facts.

In articles, blogs and shorter works, the proposition can be a anything you like - as long as it follows the first two rules above!

4. Read Everything

Read as much as you can find time for - anything in any form or genre.

See what everyone else is doing - and then do something different yourself.

Nobody wants to read the same old thing written a thousand alternate ways. Readers want new information, new insights, original thinking.

Any artist is a craftsperson first - and craftspeople learn everything there is to know about their craft - and then go beyond.

5. Engage Your Reader

Make your reader feel like they're part of a journey of discovery - either through your story or your chosen topic.

Don't explain everything as though you're dealing with a child. Trust the reader's intelligence. Leave some questions unanswered for a while - let them think for themselves while they're reading.

Allow the reader the space to ask their own questions, and permit them to choose their own interpretation of your 'proposition'.

Angry people shout and won't let you think until they're finished stating their position. Calm, rational, objective writers invite consideration, debate, and the involvement of the reader.

6. Enlighten Your Reader

Tell readers something they don't know. Let them see something from your unique perspective.

In fiction you can describe worlds or systems or just ways of doing things that most people are unfamiliar with.

In non-fiction you will hopefully have access to information that only you know in your chosen field of study.

Introduce interesting facts that highlight and illustrate your argument, your propositions. Quote famous people, draw parallels, invent original metaphors.

7. Be Amusing

Any comedy writer will tell you that 'being funny' is perhaps the hardest thing to do in writing. So much depends on the reader - and it's easy to look foolish or crazy if you don't get it right.

But if you do have an innate talent for making people laugh or saying funny things in writing, then definitely use that!

Publishers in particular often say they'd like to read manuscripts that make them laugh (in a good way!) 

Believe me, if I could do it well, I would!

8. Be Entertaining

The writing is not about you.

Stop being self indulgent and writing because you need to express yourself or get some sort of cathartic kick out of seeing your words on paper.


Give your reader pleasure. Write for the reader. As Dickens once said: "Make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait."

9. Be a Sharer

Make it personal sometimes. Share yourself. Don't be afraid to give away your darkest secrets - and even your most trivial thoughts. Readers will often love you for it.

Use the second person - you - when you talk to your reader.

It's not all about you, the author - and readers get tired of seeing I did that, I think this, I get so excited when, I, I, I...

10. Be Yourself

Do it your way.

All the advice in the world from other writers can only improve your particular style and tone of voice.

It's okay to deliberately break all the rules once you know what they are.

Strive to improve but remain committed to being unique.

Sharpen your skills, hone your talent - but don't aim to trot out the usual, done to death stuff - in fiction or non fiction.

Be specifically YOU.

Oh, and, of course,

Keep Writing!
 rob at home


"Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined." Anne L. Watson
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