5 Tips for Strengthening Your Fiction Writing
Mar 31, 2014
Written a story, but not sure it’s engaging enough? Here are some tips to strengthen your writing!
1. Remove unnecessary words and phrases. Look through your manuscript for words such as “that,” “just,” “so,” “then,” “a lot,” “very,” “really,” “seem,” “suddenly,” etc.
A good rule of thumb: if the sentence make sense without it, you don’t need it. Let your sentences get to the point!
2. Show emotion. A very common mistake writers make is telling the reader what characters are feeling instead of showing it.
“He could tell she was nervous” just doesn’t carry the same punch as “She avoided his gaze, focusing on the floor as she bit her lip.” Your readers are smart; they’ll understand what you mean.
3. Remove “realizations.” Speaking of telling, beginner writers often narrate too much by writing things such as: “He realized,” “She saw,” “He wondered”… Try to reword your sentences without those phrases.
“She realized he was lying” is not as powerful as “He was lying.”
“He wondered if they had seen it coming. Probably not, he thought.” is not as strong as: “Had they seen it coming? No. Probably not.”The more concise, the better. It brings readers straight into your character’s head with impact!
4. Pace effectively. Check for variety in your sentence length. When you want fast pacing, write short sentences. When you need to slow things down, your sentences can be more complex. It’s good to have a mix between slow and fast so readers can be engaged in action when they need to be, but also have moments to relax in more thoughtful paragraphs.
5. Know your tendencies. When reviewing your work, you may notice that you re-used the same words a lot. Vary it up! Find these “favorite” words and replace them with different words—ones that may be even more appropriate for the tone or moment.
Be thoughtful with your editing and spend the time on it that it deserves.
Good luck and happy writing!