Using story writing tips for beginners

How to start writing, improve your style, make your texts easy and enjoyable to read? In interviews with popular writers, you can find many interesting things:
  • They tell you how the daily work goes
  • What habits are useful
  • Which style spoils everything, etc.

These recommendations accumulate and become story writing tips for beginners. If you decide to try your hand at literature, here are some tips from famous writers that will help you get started.

The best way to overcome the obstacle of a blank page

Charles Bukowski said that he writes because the words just came out of him, and people paid him for it. Unlike Charles Bukowski, for most authors, writing is a serious work. It takes a lot of mental energy, makes you strain your working memory, and sometimes even causes a sense of vulnerability when you try to be honest in your work.

Making yourself write is difficult, but if you add to it the fear that you will have to present your work to the world community, this can put an end to the writer’s career – you simply will never start.

To overcome these feelings in yourself, you can do the following: allow yourself to write badly and just start.

Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, wrote an essay on why authors should start with horrible drafts.

Anne said that she knows many wonderful writers whose books are in high demand. And they are not always enthusiastic and not always ready to write with joy. In addition, their drafts are not very smooth.

Knowing this, it is much easier to start. Just start writing, and it does not matter how bad you get. The first thoughts can pour out on paper somehow, clumsily and dissonantly, but maybe it’s good? At least, many authors start their way to success precisely with this.

Do not use clichés

Clichés are frozen forms, hackneyed expressions, which are often used in literature. Complementing your work (often, unconsciously) with clichés, you will not disturb the reader, won’t make him think, because he also heard and read these phrases hundreds of times. Of course, we often hear persistent expressions and repetitive phrases such as “overwhelming majority”, “it’s worth noting”, “today”, and other similar constructions, so they are simply put off in your head and later poured out onto paper almost without your participation.

This strongly affects the very way of reading: the more familiar terms and thoughts you encounter in the book, the more often you jump over them and skip them. As a result, reading becomes uninteresting.

The best method to avoid clichés is to give an explanation to common terms using different words. The main thing is to find a middle ground between an intricate language in which your readers will not understand anything, and a too simple and banal expression of ideas.

In other words, your readers should have the thought that they are getting something new, but at the same time, trustworthy.

Write as you speak

American writer and screenwriter Elmore Leonard talked about the paramount importance of the reader, not benefits and lessons on writing the right text. Never put a textbook writing higher than the reader’s interest and the ability to capture his attention.

Elmore Leonard said that if it sounds like it’s written, he would re-write it again.

It’s harder to write as you say, than it seems, but as a result, the text turns out to be simpler and more understandable, without jerky phrases and ornate turns. To understand if you can talk in this way, you can do the following:
  • Imagine that a person is sitting in front of you and write as if you are talking to him.

Use short words, sentences, and paragraphs

You can use long sentences in conversation, but when you write, try to use them less often. By writing a text, you can always cut sentences, break them and remove unnecessary turns.

The father of advertising and successful copywriter David Ogilvy advised to use short words, sentences, and paragraphs, and never to write more than two pages about one subject.

This is not about editing but simplicity. Serve information as short and simple as possible using short words.

Remember that the two great masters, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote childlike sentences with deep meaning. “To be or not to be?” –Hamlet asks. The longest word in this phrase has four letters.

Try to write less, not more

Now let’s talk about editing. When you already feel comfortable, started writing and created your first draft, it’s time for editing. And very soon you’ll understand that this process takes almost more time than the writing itself.

It’s good if you have someone to read your work, or you can read it yourself aloud – this way, you can see all the mistakes and misses.

During editing, it is important to step back from writing and evaluate your text objectively, as a strict editor. Pay attention to the following:
  • Notice how clearly you express thoughts
  • Whether you have long words
  • If you use intricate sentences
  • If you have unnecessary clarifications

Kurt Vonnegut used an excellent rule for editing – no matter how beautiful the sentence may seem to you, if there is nothing new or useful in it, erase it.

Keep writing, by all means

The more you write, the better your texts become. You sharpen the style, you get more into the writing process. Even when you have a lack of ideas, just keep writing, and this can be the beginning of a brilliant work.

If you want to do something better, train. You will need discipline to continue writing, when you do not want to write and hold on, when you already have enough.

Social networks and online platforms for novice authors

According to literary critics, the electronic publication of the work is the main literary trend of the last decade. Today, a beginning author has more resources than the publisher:
  • You do not have to integrate into traditional chains of distribution of his works.
  • There is no need to spend hours at publishing houses, since you can independently reach out to a wide reader and test on it various literary formats through social networks and other internet channels.

For comparison: Joan Rowling received 8 refusals from publishers, before the manuscript of the first book about Harry Potter was accepted for publication. Meanwhile, the novel by E.L. James Fifty Shades of Gray doesn’t have any records of refusal from publishers because the author did not need a publisher: the book was published in the forum of fanfics, where it was picked up by the Australian publishing house of electronic books.

Blogger’s prose and Facebook stories have become very popular in recent years.

Experts also note the reverse side of internet progress: with the growing popularity of social networks, it becomes more difficult to track quality prose – in other words, graphomania becomes acute. Therefore, today a successful writer is also an effective PR manager whose task is to create a quality brand from his name and use the maximum amount of resources to sell his goods.

The writer is a professional in his field

A scientist is as creative a man as a writer, he simply relies on the analytical potential of the mind, not on the imagination, but if the former invariably relies on the theoretical foundations of his profession, the latter is inclined to exaggerate the talent of the narrator. Most often the imagination covers only part of the narrative and the task of the writer is to extend it to the limit. For example, a science fiction writer wants to write a book, the action of which takes place in the future, but he should not simply roll out the faded scenery of spacecraft onto the stage but revive the world so that the reader believes in it.

To do this, he needs to describe the following:
  • Values of the new generation
  • Political and social situations
  • Public opinion on certain issues
  • New ways of communication
  • Everyday life
  • Transport systems
  • Problematic ethical issues and much more, without replacing it with modernity

The same goes for other genres of, let’s say, the historical novel: people of the Baroque era spoke in their own way, and not as the author of the 21st century, commoners went on foot to other cities to get hired as apprentices to experts in their field, and aristocrats listened to an orchestra of selected musicians from all over the country, led by the composer-kapellmeister, which should be taken into account when creating a world view of the characters.

Start a new book with preparation: read about urban planning and calculate the power of computers for a fantastic novel, study historical works, if you describe the past, take the trouble to find out how the artist you chose as the protagonist, paint pictures and what he uses and bring this to the reader understandable language.

Here it is necessary to say a few words about literary speculation accepting certain assumptions for truth a priori. The author can create a universe in which people travel from planet to planet, while their technological level will correspond to the 1950s.

In this case, their research, acquaintance with new civilizations, the psychological climate on board the ship, etc., come to the fore, so this setting does not need justifications, initially implying the unrealistic nature of what is happening, in contrast to the purpose for which they wander and from where travelers take fuel and food.

The more the writer pays attention to details, the more lively the environment appears, so he must not only think through the storyline, but also the situation in which it occurs. The mechanic will not collect the machine by half, he will use all parts and present the finished product to the buyer, but the negligent author can sincerely wonder why his unfinished book is not read and published.

Work out the universe of the book and the environment – describe the fear, hunger, wind, come up with a new fashion or copy the old, create unique characters, not like you.

The writer corrects his shortcomings

In order to write a successful book, you need to constantly ask yourself how good the result is and rewrite an unfortunate or frankly illogical place from scratch, but not all are ready to show parental severity to their texts, resulting in spoiled absurdities. Reinforce ideas with arguments that the reader agrees with or refuse them. Work on the failed moments. Reproduce the character dialogue to understand how interesting and natural it is.

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