Hello there. As you must know, I love reading. But the only other thing that can compare to that kind of enjoyment is writing. And I’m going to share some of the thing’s I found that people should and shouldn’t do when writing a novel.

Furthermore, these are my tips on writing…

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Start your story as close to the middle as possible. 
It is great to have a back story, but this in normally shown gradually, in a number of chapters, and not in the first few chapters of your novel. By starting in action, you are showing readers that something has happened. They would be more interested in finding out later in the book why, and it would intrigue and make them want to continue reading your story more than the alternative. The alternative is the attempt to grip your readers in by explaining what happened to your characters before that made them go on their journey, instead of your characters explaining it themselves. By doing this, your story may drag on a bit. Always do the readers want the conflict, the what (is going on) and not the how (did it occur).

Add in the necessary information.
When you are writing your story, always ask yourself this question – do I really need to add this in? For example, if you are describing a characters disability, is it a necessity? Will we look further into the character’s disfuncture or is it just there as a description? Another thing is, will we see this character later in the story? Are they that important to introduce to us earlier in the novel, or should you just leave it till we see that character. Another thing is, if you can add this in later, then always do. A sentence, every sentence that is in your novel advances your plot. Is it doing this? Or is it just something that is there?

Use active, not passive voice.
This is said many times, and it is important. Listen to this. Does this sound better – I ate lunch, or – Lunch was eaten by me? Active voice is when the subject, as in ‘I’, acts, whereas passive is when the subject is acted upon. Active voices show more concise and clear sentences, whereas when you use passive voice, the subject can easily be taken away. For example, ‘lunch was eaten by me’ could be altered to say, ‘lunch was eaten’. All sentences are correct, but readers would have a better understanding of what is going on when you use active voice. Also, writing in active voice allows your sentences to be less wordy, and this is good because, as I said earlier, the key to great writing is cutting unnecessary words out.

Show, don’t tell.
This is another famous saying, and it is true. Showing is vital when it comes to writing, as it allows the readers to feel, see and experience what the author has, to be in the moment with the author. Telling may be good, but only telling us what is occurring can be dragging. You need a good combination of both. For now, some ways to show, and not tell, is through many things, including;
– Dialogue (allows the reader to experience things for themselves)
– Sensory language (Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting of the world around them)
– Being descriptive (Description paints a picture in someone’s mind)
– Being specific and not vague (being vague frustrates the reader, not getting a clear image in their minds)

Be descriptive.
This can be classified into many things, but where I’m going at here is when you write a scene, for example, a fight scene, be descriptive in the way the swords clash together, or the gun fires at the character’s head and they collapse onto the ground, blood oozing out of the wound of the character. Also, be straight with it. The character died? Say it. Don’t tell us that ‘the character fell to the ground’ without telling us that the character is ‘unmoving.’ And do not be quick with it. Take your time describing the events as it happened. Don’t summarise and tell us that ‘When I saw the man, I went straight at him, the sword in my hand gleaming in the night sky, ready to shed with blood. When I got close to him, a deep burning hatred fired up inside me and we fought, dangerously and with skill and precision. In the end, I killed him.’ Don’t tell me that this is a scene. It is not. It is a sum up of what happened. Explain how you fought, if you swerved to the right, and describe the times you fell to the ground, and how you were almost defeated, and how you overcame him. This is important. You need to be descriptive, but do not use a whole page to tell us ‘how the glass gleams in the bright afternoon.’

Don’t overuse dialogue.
When using dialogue, it is important to keep it simple, straight-forward, on not take up most of the page. Readers want conversation between the characters, but it gets confusing and over exaggerated when used excessively. Also, when telling us who has spoken, a lot of writers overuse either ‘said’ or other words like ‘asked’ or ‘stuttered’. You need balance. When writing dialogue, it is important to vary the words from ‘said’ to others, but not when it takes over every single conversation. You should mostly use ‘said’, and only use the other words in between, but rarely, as it is may be jumbling to the reader.

Vary sentence length.
When writing it is important to vary your sentence length. What I mean by this is when writing a paragraph, it is good to mix up your sentences from simple to compound to complex. A couple of sentences should not only include one of those three forms. It makes the writing become uninteresting and slow. Here is an example:

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Don’t say utilised when you can say used. 
When you are writing, there is no need to bring up the thesaurus to search up words that mean the exact same thing, yet more complicated. You do not need to say ‘ingurgitated’ when you can say ‘gulped.’ The same goes for sentences. Do not try to use more complex words so that it would sound smart, and so that it may sound like you know what you are talking about. Because it doesn’t do that. All it does is confuse the reader. For example, don’t say ‘My attribution coerced the Queen for a tribunal on Daniel.’ when you could say ‘I compelled the Queen to put Daniel on trial.’ The second one reads more smoothly, and it is more understandable, isn’t it?

Now, stop procrastinating and go write. Will you keep these in mind when you are writing? Because I hope so…

Published by Estera Lea