How to Write Better

If you have been bitten by the writing bug, follow these tips to write the next bestseller.

1.Write daily 

Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t expect to write a whole novel at one go without any previous experience. Practice writing daily, for example, start a diary/journal, describe your day, narrate some interesting incidents(or write a blog). This way you’ll get the much-needed practice and also improve your writing style.

2.Fiction/Non-fiction

If you’re writing non-fiction, you’ll find a wealth of information on it. On the other hand, fiction is more interesting and can cater to a lot of age groups.

3.Topic

Decide on a specific topic for your book. For your first book, it’s better to stick to a safe topic. Do not go for controversial topics like religion or politics, especially if you have potentially explosive views on them.

4.Descriptive/Narrative/Factual?Take your pick

Descriptive writing gives the reader a more detailed view on what’s going in the story. Narrative writing gives the reader the narrator’s thoughts. Factual writing is, well, facts.

5.Style of writing

  • First person: There is a protagonist who narrates the story. It is from the narrator’s point of view.
  • Second person: There is no protagonist and everyone is referred to as ‘you’. Writers don’t usually prefer this style.
  • Third person: The whole story is told from the point of view of an onlooker. It tells the reader the thoughts of all the characters.

Or you can chuck the whole thing and go Gone Girl/Divergent/My Name is Red and use first person to write from the point of view of all characters. Be sure to properly demarcate which character is speaking when, with different chapters for each of them. This is tricky and can often cause confusion to the reader. Use this style only if you are very sure you can pull it off.

6.Genre

Use a maximum of three genres. Any more than that and you come off as confused.

Romantic Comedy with fantasy – √ (Okay)

Romantic Comical political mystery with a dash of horror and drama -× (No way, what are you thinking?)

7.Book length

  • Novel- over 40,000 words
  • Novella- 17,500 to 40,000 words
  • Novelette-7,500 to 17,500 words
  • Short story- under 7,500 words

8.Series

With the series craze going on, I don’t blame you if you want to write a trilogy or a tetralogy or a saga. However, there certain rules to be kept in mind(when are there not?) Check these out :

9. Stick to your brief

If you make your reader enter into the tunnel at Classical Literature, don’t make them come out at the Contemporary Horror opening. What I’m trying to say is, if you’re writing about classical literature, for instance, don’t go off-track and start talking about contemporary horror. Like I said before, it makes you look confused and unsure. Stick to classical literature if that’s what you’re writing about.

10.Language

The language you use in your book is key for its success. Crude language(a euphemism for ‘Garbage’), may work if the story is good. But it is good to stick to plain, simple, beautiful words, which will appeal to all readers.

11.Write the right

Do your research. You don’t want to commit a faux pas by writing the wrong things on the topic you’ve chosen. Also check your sources, The internet may have a plethora of information, but some of it may be wrong. Select reliable sources.

12.Have a reader

After every chapter/section/whatever you please is written, as your best friend, or brother or sister, (or someone you trust to say the truth) to read it and give their thoughts on it. This will act as feedback and you can edit the draft according to their comments.

13.Keep yourself in mind

While writing, think of yourself. Will you read this book if someone else wrote it? What is so special about this book that people should select it out of hundreds of other books?

14.Turn negative into positive

Accept negative feedback. No, embrace it. The trick is to turning it into a positive thing for you. Remember those negative comments while writing again and edit the mistakes.

15. Speaking of editing

Remember, editing is 90% writing. An edited work is more polished and fine than a non edited work.

Pro tip: Keep a word limit for each chapter you’re writing. After you finish writing the chapter, if the number of words goes over the word-limit, start cancelling out whatever isn’t needed and make other necessary changes. If it is within limits, go through the chapter once again and see if you have to make any changes.

16.Read, read, read

Last but certainly not the least(of all the clichés!), read a lot, especially in the early stages of your writing career. It is rightly said that every good writer is also a reader.This can significantly improve your vocabulary, you’ll know writing styles and also get ideas for your next book. Try not to get too influenced by the authors though, or you’ll end up being accused of plagiarism.

 

Remember, inspiration can strike you anywhere. You have to be alert for it. (I got the inspiration and shaped this post one night when I couldn’t sleep and was dreaming about being a successful writer.)

Hope this post was helpful, please give me your feedback in the comments section below.

HAPPY WRITING 🙂

 

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