Our journal assignment this week (the last journal assignment of the year! 😦 ) is to share 3 to 5 writing tips.
I hope these make you think! And I’d love your feedback! ❤
Some of my tips are pretty generic for any writer, but I listed those I thought would be especially helpful to my particular readers. These five are targeted not to just any writer though, but specifically to those like me — Christian, homeschooled, book-loving creative writers. And I listed them roughly from most generic to most specific for this audience.
Use proper conventions – please! No matter how tedious it seems, this can really make or break the respectability of your writing. I saw a presentation once where the slide said something about a ‘weekend immune system’. Apparently cows have pretty strong immunities Monday through Friday…
Grammar, spelling, punctuation – it makes a difference.
Create multi-faceted plots. Every well-written tale needs moral and emotional depth beyond mere action or mystery. But these two aspects need balanced in order to create a truly substantial piece of writing. Interestingly, boys tend to focus on the action and physical heroics of their characters, while girls typically tend to put the whole plot in conversations and romance and feelings. As I’ve heard it described, to males, the hero has to save the world and the emotions are the side issue, while to females, the relationships are everything, whether or not the world crashes in flames around them. A good book is something that all readers – young and old, ladies and gentlemen – should be able to appreciate.
And this means that if you want to write a good book, you need to balance the plot.
Create realistic, yet admirable protagonists. Your heroes and heroines should struggle and cry and get dirty, yet still have character and integrity. They shouldn’t be demigods, always the tallest and prettiest and strongest and naturals at everything, but they should still be heroes – people you would want your readers to emulate. For example, I read The Great Gatsby earlier this year and was a little disappointed after all the ravings about it. It may represent the time period well, but where is the substance to the story? There are no admirable characters in it. Even the ‘good guys’ are self-centered beasts with nothing but their incredible finesse at sinning to recommend them.
In other words, heroes need to be human, yet actually heroic.
Read your own work. Duh. I know it sounds obvious, but do it anyways: Read what you write. Read it out loud to see if it sounds stilted or repetitive. But also read it analytically. What do you think of it? If it wasn’t your own story, would you even want to read it? What makes it stand out from the oodles of others out there? And, especially hard for bookworms (i.e. most writers) who dream of works equal to their favorites, is your story really original, or is it an amalgam of different plots and poetry and styles of all the other books you’ve ever read?
Reading your own work forces you to think over three questions: a) is it well written? b) is it worth reading? and c) is it really your own work?
And finally, have Jesus read your work. Well, you can’t actually slide your manuscript under His door, but as you write – and read – your own work, use your creativity to envision your Lord looking over what you just scribbled. What would He think? Are there conversations or plots or characters that you would be embarrassed to imagine Him reading?
What does this say about your writing?