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Daily Archives: November 13, 2012

Guest post: Tips for Improving Your Story-Writing Skills by Patrick Swimmerly

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of the craft of creative writing, is brought to you by Patrick Swimmerly.

Tips for Improving Your Story-Writing Skills

As a story writer, it can be too easy to focus on the mechanics of getting work submitted to editors and just forget that your story writing is also of most importance. We should always be striving and seeking ways to improve our story writing skills. When we do that, our approvals from editors will become much easier. Below are some of the things you can start doing that will help improve your story writing skills and the chances of being published.

Improved Vocabulary

All successful story writers find ways to improve their vocabulary skills every single day. Purchase a good dictionary, and learn some new words every single day. Even if you just choose one word a day, play with it by using it in sentences, descriptions and dialogues throughout the day. As you do this, keep a running list of the words you have learned. In a month or two, try to define each and every word. If you can’t remember one of the words meaning, look it up again and use it again for a month. This is a great way to get your vocabulary growing.

Read More

Successful story writers read a lot. You won’t come up with new and original ideas unless you know what hasn’t been used before. Read as much and as often as you can, both in the area you specifically write in and beyond that. If you happen to write crime fiction stories, read about horror fiction, classics, science fiction, and some of the recent blockbusters. Choose some non fiction as well in the areas of mythology, biology, astronomy, and archeology. Nothing is ever a waste to read and you will learn more and more as you read.

Deconstruct Writing

Successful story writers will deconstruct a writing that works. If you read a story that you see as a very good piece of work, or if it’s a book that has had huge success in your area of writing, read it one more time. Take notes this time around and ask yourself a few questions. What was it that really grasped your attention about the book? What did the writer do that you don’t do? What could you have done differently? You can do the same thing if you see a really bad writing. Once you do this over and over, it becomes automatic and from the notes you take, you can begin a good list of tips to follow for yourself. This is how you can make improvements in your story writing.

Edit Yourself

Successful writers will edit themselves. You need to be able to take a look at your writing without passion. Develop thick skin and be a critic to your own writing. Once you have written something, leave it alone for a couple of days, then look over it again to critic your work. Go over your spelling. Check all your grammar. Remove anything that seems too repetitive. Are the verbs the correct tense? Change the long words to short words if they will work. Continue to critic your work until you feel it is the best it can be. You need to be the first one to respect your writing before you can expect others to respect it.

All of the above tips can help you enhance your story writing skills. Get inspired, and really work hard so that you can write stories that you are proud to see other people picking up and reading with great delight.

Thank you, Patrick!

Patrick Swimmerly writes about the arts, personal finance & finding the best term life insurance.

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with author of science fantasy and urban fantasy for children and thrillers R.A. Jones – the five hundred and fifty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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