tagHow ToEasy Guide To Better Writing

Easy Guide To Better Writing

byWm_Sexspear©

You've written a story, you want to post it. You're not an English major, but want your story to read well. I wrote the following short checklist to help you. It contains no jargon or technical terms. Much below reflects my opinions, not rules of grammar. Remember free advise is worth everything you paid for it.

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Proofread your story by reading it out loud, slowly, to yourself. A trap for writers is they sometimes see what they meant to write, not what they actually wrote.

When reading a sentence, if it feels natural to pause, there's a good chance a comma goes there. A comma can also help the reader use your words the way you intended. EXAMPLE: He stood slowly ran to the door hesitated then opened it. SHOULD BE: He stood slowly, ran to the door, hesitated, then opened it.

Keep each sentence short. Three short sentences usually read better than one long one.

Keep paragraphs short. Paragraphs help the reader's eye not get lost. A paragraph is also a chance for the reader to mentally catch their breath.

Only use 'AND' when absolutely necessary. Too many sentences use 'AND' when using a comma or period will read better. Never have more than one 'AND' in a sentence.

Use ', AND' or ', THEN', but avoid ', AND THEN'.

Nine times out of ten, you can remove the word THAT, yet the sentence reads just a well.

I like contractions, I prefer seeing HE'D instead of HE WOULD. HE'LL instead of HE WILL. WASN'T in lieu of WAS NOT, etc.

Avoid begin sentences with these words: THEN, WELL, SO, NEXT, NOW, etc. If you remove the first word of a sentence, and the sentence still reads well, you probably don't need it.

PLEASE use your spell checker.

Remember your spell checker won't catch many typos or mental lapses. Example: writing TO when you should have written TOO or TWO. I often type FORM when I meant FROM, but both words pass a spell check.

Use TOO [not TO] when describing an extreme. Example: It was TOO small.

If a character has a name, use it from time to time. If a paragraph has a dozen SHE or HER's, consider replacing some of them with a name.

If more than two character's of the same gender/sex are involved, use names frequently so the reader can't get confused about who is doing what to whom.

If one word can replace three, fix it. Example: My hand started to move... vs. My hand moved... Or how about BEGAN for STARTED TO

Remove unneeded, distracting words. Example: He stood UP... Can he stand down? Therefore He stood... is probably all you need. 'He walked OUT INTO the kitchen', would read better as 'He went to the kitchen.'

Small words are often more effective than larger ones. Example: I started to NOTICE that her blouse was... could be written as 'I SAW her blouse was...

Your story should normally stay in one tense, past, present, or future. Many stories on this site are past tense, people writing about something that happened in the past. Therefore, words like WALKED, RAN, OR SAT would be used instead of WALK, RUN, or SIT.

Don't switch tenses as you go. 'I went into my room, I sit on my bed...' should be 'I went to my room, I sat on my bed...'

Many word processors have a Thesaurus. This means you can highlight a word, run the Thesaurus, and it will give you a list of other words with a similar meaning. Should you use insure or ensure? Further or farther? The Thesaurus MAY give clue which is the better choice.

Try not to repeat the same word in a sentence. Example: By this time it was time to time her. Could be: Meanwhile, it was time to record Sue's speed. Again, the Thesaurus can help here. If the word HOT appears 8 times over a couple paragraphs, the reader may well get bored. Each time you repeat a word, it can lose impact. You can probably remove half or more of the HOT's, yet improve the story. Can any of the remaining HOT's be swapped for another word? Fiery, sizzling, searing, steamy, warm, scalding?

If you seriously want to improve your skills or story, Literotica.com offers free editors. This sounds like a great service. An editor can be a huge help. But be fair to them. Do all the things listed above you can, before asking someone to help you fine tune a submission.

My definition of insanity: Continually doing the same thing, yet expecting different results.

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This article was written for posting on Literotica.com. April, 2002. This property is protected by (c) copyright and may not be duplicated, reprinted, copied or placed on any Internet Website without permission of the author. All rights reserved. Wm_Sexspear.

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