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How to Write

Posted by Luminosity , in Other 28 January 2016 · 561 views

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I'm a published writer under my other name. People tell me I'm good. I'm sharing what I know. Today's chapter:

 

Writing Dialog

 

Transcribing taped interviews I did as a journalist helped me to see how people really talk. People speak in broken sentences. They interrupt each other. They do not explain their content. Things are understood from context and past experience.

 

When someone says something I want to include in my writing I try to write it down as soon as possible as verbatim as possible.

 

Bad dialog contains lots of explanations and complete sentences.

 

Achieving Greater Clarity

 

Try discarding the first two paragraphs of whatever you've written. Chances are you were just warming up. The beginning of the third paragraph is probably a better lead. If you write for an alternative publication, chances are your first two paragraphs were just torturing some analogies.

 

How much freight can your article carry? A 500 or 1,000 word piece on the arts, modern life or popular culture can only convey who, what, where, when, and why we should care. If you're lucky you can convey the flavor of the thing through a quote, song lyric or anecdote. Don't overload your article showing off every piece of arcane knowledge you have. Don't try to connect your subject with another subject through a tortured analogy. Sometimes the things teachers like in school clutter up your writing in real life. It's hard enough to write about a band who has had several names, several lineups, and who plays in a pop up nightclub. Focus on basics, plus how to get there and where to park. Don't try to write everything you know about the subject. Prune what you know to fit the readers' ability to absorb information. Writing is editing.

 

Common Rookie Mistakes

 

Too many fancy words, ornate old-fashioned sentences. Fancier isn't better. Good writing tends to be simpler than bad writing.

 

Beginning with an explanation, especially for fiction. Avoid detailed descriptions of settings. If your depiction of a house sounds like building specs, rewrite it. Instead pick two details to evoke the house and fold them organically into the content.

 

Too many adjectives and adverbs. In writing class we may be rewarded for observing many details, especially ones others don't notice. Good writing usually demands that we pick a few telling details. You may start out with more than you end up with. Prune them.

 

Some people are in love with dual adjectives or dual adverbs. They don't always work. Even if they do, a little of that goes a long way.

 

I'll end this post with a writing exercise I came up with. It helps you capture life on the page.

 

__________________________

 

Snapshot

 

Right now, where you are, write a

 

sight

 

sound

 

taste

 

smell

 

touch

 

overall feeling or impression

 

_____________________________

 

Wishing you luck with your writing.

 

Find my best blog posts here: http://www.longecity...t-8-recommended

 

Find Poems and Quotations I've collected here:
http://www.longecity...oems-quotations






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