This is a guest post by Andrew Kennedy.
As with any other talent or skill, creative writing varies from author to author in terms of their opinions, thoughts and definitions regarding excellent writing style. In college, one of my professors would continually dock my grade for using “but” or “and” at the beginning of a sentence. My sister-in-law however, had a professor that thoroughly loved the creative writing style of a student who would perfectly use “but” or “and” at the beginning of a new sentence. Recently, I have been reading a published book which also has sentences which begin with “and”. Thus, we must recognize that our writing style will be judged and critiqued by many minds that may or may not like our individual style.
Although experts and authors may vary in their personal writing styles, there are some basic tips which authors agree will help your ability to creatively write. Here are six tips to help increase your ability to write clearly:
- Use the Proper Word
- Avoid Exaggerations
- Be Concise
- Avoid Ambiguous Terms
- Correctly Employ Metaphors
- Read More. Write More. Watch Less
Use the Proper Word
Novice writers, with best intentions, will employ words that distract from the actual meaning and intention of the sentence. This may result from an illusion, a fallacy, that if I employ “big words” then my story will automatically be perfect. Expert authors do not use big words, unless they know the proper meaning and are able to articulate its proper meaning within a sentence. In a sentence, an author should be concerned with well placed words instead of just using a word to sound more intellectual or articulate.
Have you ever witnessed a child trying to put a square shape into a circle opening? Sometimes, a smaller square will fit into the opening of a circle, but the fact remains, the shape was square not circular. In writing it is better to use a smaller circle that fits the opening, then forcing a square word to appear intelligent in your writing style.
An exaggeration may have its place in some forms of writing; however a good rule of thumb is to avoid it. A simple, well thought sentence will generally trump any over-zealous explanation or attempt to highlight a specific event within a story.
Circumlocution is when a sentence, paragraph, or phrase uses too many words to express an idea. My English teacher would often tell me, “This sentence is too wordy.” Well placed nouns, verbs and adjectives in a short decisive sentence will emphasize what is important without fluff.
Fine writing is when authors like to over-embellish statements, metaphors and analogies within any given sentence or paragraph. My friend once said, “Fine writing is when a person inputs a metaphor into a sentence for the sake of using a metaphor.”
When writing, be precise and to the point. When using metaphors, be cautious. Metaphors should be intricately woven into the sentence without an inquisitive shout to the reader, “Look at me! I’m a good one, No?”
Avoid Ambiguous Terms
Within the realm of writing, an ambiguous word will have the potential for the reader to misinterpret the point the author was trying to make. When increasing our writing capability we will often use words in a sentence that makes sense to us, but leave the reader confused. We know the intent of our word, or sentence, but the reader is left bewildered.
Correctly Employ Metaphors
A metaphor is a writing technique that when well placed invites the reader more into your story. These are opportunities for writers to express themselves and their individual and personal creativity.
Some expert authors invite writers to use a metaphor in lieu of a literal statement. If you use a metaphor, do not mix it with a literal statement either. Choose one or the other. A metaphor, to write more clearly, should not be used to express a prosaic idea or subject.
Read More. Write More. Watch Less
As with any talent or skill, a person must practice or acquaint themselves more with what they are striving to become. The more a person reads, and the more a person writes, the better they will be at writing. Michael Jordan didn’t become the best basketball player of all time because he watched others play. He diligently practiced to prove to rookies and himself that he was indomitable.
When reading to improve your writing skills, study the writing style, use of metaphors and placement of words. Actively seek out different ways to write better by practice.
This article has highlighted six simple and easy tips to increase an individual’s skill in writing. Although there may be differences of opinions of how to write clearly, the six ideas presented are elements by which all authors would agree. Remember to use the proper meaning of words especially when using metaphors. If you don’t know a word, or are unsure, look the word up and once you have an understanding, your ability to write concise sentences becomes better. The best sentences get to the point without being flowery or wordy, so avoid the fluff. Once you begin to understand these tips, practice, practice, practice. Read more books and study other authors’ writing styles so that you may begin to improve your writing style.
About the author
Andrew Kennedy works for PMA Media Group, an organization committed to assisting potential students in locating, becoming familiar with, the best online colleges.