7 Ways to Be a Better Writer

7 Ways to Be a Better Writer

7 Ways to Be a Better Writer
Photo by Daniel Weber

7 Ways to Be a Better Writer

Looking for ways to be a better writer? We all know that writing well goes hand in hand with being a good writer. But that's just one part of good writing. Another part is being a good storyteller. Invoking intrigue in your readers, getting them to turn page after page until the very end where they crave your next book.

Writing a good story can get tricky though.

Here are 7 ways to be a better writer and to write better stories.

1. Do your research.

You have to know what you're writing. To do research, you could either read about it or you could experience it yourself. Obviously, you wouldn't want to experience everything. There are certain things not even characters in a story should experience. And you'll use your imagination for some things. But to give accurate details for the others, you'll want to experience them yourself.

If you have a character locked inside the trunk of a car, have you ever been in one yourself? I'm sure you have a firm grasp on what claustrophobia is like, but do you know what the inside of a trunk feels like, sounds like? Does it smell like exhaust? Are sounds muffled? Is the radio loud? Is it bumpy when the car is moving? Do maintenance tools rattle against the spare tire?

Knowing specific details like these will help you write a compelling story.

2. Give your story time and attention to develop.

Your story won't write itself, even if you go through the scenes in your head. You physically need to sit down to brainstorm to develop your characters and plot, and you need to allow time for your story to take a life of its own.

What details are you missing? What areas of your plot need to be strengthened? How can you address racism without the narrative sounding racist?

3. Create dynamic characters with unexpected characteristics.

Great characters, especially POV characters, aren't cookie cutter replicas; they're unique, individual. They have minds of their own. They have backgrounds, all of those things that make them who they are in your story.

Does your POV have a soft heart for animals? Is she quick to judge? Does he have a lifelong habit of clicking his pen? Why? What is behind the mannerisms?

4. Turn a basic plot into your own unique story.

Just like characters, plots should be your own creation. There is debate on how many basic plots there are in the literary world, but either way, you'll be using a basic plot that other writers have used. The art of writing is in making it your own through twists, spins, and unique characters.

5. Write about what you care about.

If you don't care about what you're writing, your lack of enthusiasm will show through in your story and your readers will detect it. You also won't enjoy the writing process. 

So, write about something you're interested in and enjoy the ride.

6. Read a lot.

Writing a lot helps immensely in improving your writing skills, but reading is just as important. It allows you to know what other books are out there, how writers address problem areas or balance description and dialogue, and it helps get your creativity flowing.

7. Accept that your goal plan will vary from other writers' plans.

Don't compare yourself to other writers. When you compare writing progress, you'll either feel good that you're ahead or feel bad that you're behind.

Stay focused on your own goals and your own progress. Some writers will have more time to write; others will have an easier time developing their plots.

Learn to accept that your plan will be different so you can focus on your own work and get your writing done.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic! Please post a comment here or connect with me on my Facebook wall.

Jody Calkins
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