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Writing Tips

Beginner Writing Tips That Will Improve Your Writing

To understand how to better our writing, we need to look at a few different topics including what to avoid when writing and traits of a good writer.

We’ll look at the easiest ways to make improvements to your writing.

Let’s dive into the best beginner writing tips.

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Good Writing Tips

Create Outlines

The more you plan your work, the more cohesive it will be and the easier it will be to write. That is why planning out your writing is recommended.

You want to create beat sheets and outlines so you can understand the direction of your story and lay it out in a sensible way.

To learn more about outlining, I have a post that goes into further detail.

Know The Purpose

Knowing why you are writing is just as important as the actual writing. To get the right tone, you need to understand the purpose of your writing. Are you trying to educate? Inform? Entertain?

What do you want the reader to feel as they read your work? Hopeful? Angry? Sad?

Before you begin writing, try answering these questions. Once you know why you’re writing, you’ll be able to center your message and develop a cohesive theme.

Understand The Basics

If you haven’t learned, or have forgotten, the basics of writing, I suggest having a quick refresher. Familiarizing yourself with the most used rules will allow you to write easier, faster, and require less editing.

Some things to learn are:

  • Punctuation
    • Here’s where you can easily learn about punctuation.
  • Literary Devices (personification, metaphors, alliteration, foreshadowing, hyperbole, etc.)
    • Here’s a great resource of 55 common literary devices.
  • Grammar

Tips for Writing a Book

Writing a book can be unlike other forms of writing. And, what works for, say, content writing may not work when writing a novel. So, if you’re looking to specifically improve your writing for novels, here are some quick tips.

Stay Organized

Writing a book can get pretty messy. You may have ideas jotted all over random papers. Or, you may have multiple notebooks full of information with no way to find what you’re looking for.

Staying organized from the beginning is essential to good writing. I recommend keeping a story bible. A story bible is a document where you keep all the important information from your story. It’s separated into sections based on character information, plot information, and world information so you can quickly find whatever you need.

For more details about what story bibles are and how to create them, you can check out my post here.

If you’d like a pre-made story bible template, I have one available on my Etsy here.

Let The Ideas Flow

When writing the first draft, you don’t want to edit yourself. Let all your ideas out, no matter how good or bad you think they are. You never know which ideas will end up sticking.

Over-editing yourself as you write the first draft will lead to a lot of dead ends, frustration, and writer’s block. The first draft is meant to get the ideas written down and see where the story goes. Try not to edit at all during the first draft. Save the editing for the editing phase.

If you have multiple ideas for the same scene write them all down. You can go back and choose what works best after the first draft is finished.

Dive Deep Into Why

Why? is a question you should constantly be asking yourself when writing a novel. You should know why you’re writing it: to entertain, to inform, to inspire.

When writing, ask yourself why these events are happening? Why is the character reacting this way? Why is the bad guy trying to destroy everything?

The further you dig to answer these questions, the more dimensional your story will feel. Each action the character makes will make sense. The story will fall together in the best way when you ask ‘why?’

How To Get Better at Writing

Read More

Tying into a future point, writers need to know their craft. Reading is not only fun, but it allows you to understand writing in greater detail. You’ll begin to pick apart books in new ways and understand why you loved a book or why you hated it.

None of the characters felt real. The beginning dragged on too long. All the conflict and suspense kept me engaged. The foreshadowing throughout the book made the ending so good!

Practice

In many of my posts, I explain the importance of practicing, and this post is no different. To improve your abilities as a writer you need to practice writing.

A great way to practice is by completing writing challenges and using writing prompts. These challenges push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to write in new ways.

Here are some writing prompts for you to try:

As for writing challenges, I suggest these apps:

Put Yourself Out There

Putting yourself and your work out for the world to see is tough, but the benefits it brings are more than worth it. You’ll learn new techniques, realize your weaknesses, and make valuable connections.

Signing up for writing contests is one of the best ways to get your work seen while improving your skills. When we know we’ll be judged, we tend to put our all into what we’re doing. And, we also tend to critique our work more extensively. This stricter criticism will allow you to understand the mistakes you commonly make and correct them.

Another way to put yourself out there is by getting involved with the writing community. Connecting with other writers can drastically improve your work. You’ll be able to get new perspectives on your writing and learn tons of tips and tricks.

Things to Avoid in Good Writing

A great way to better your writing is to know what to avoid. Writing can be an abstract art, and there aren’t many ‘rules’ you need to follow. But as a beginner, there are certain dos and donts that are necessary to learn before trying to break these rules. Especially if you haven’t found your unique voice, trying to free yourself from these rules can come off as sloppy or unprofessional. Of course, once you do discover your writing style, breaking the status quo can help you stand out and better strengthen your message. Until then, though, I suggest becoming familiar with things to avoid in good writing.

Filler Content

Filler content is content with no purpose. It’s written simply to lengthen the story or because you think there should be more dialogue or more space between each event. Filler content is a big no-no.

For one, it’s just boring. This content usually drags on or draws out the suspense for far too long. Another reason this content should not be added is that it takes space away from a more important plot.

Each scene in your story, each sentence, each word, should serve a purpose. That purpose may be to set up an impending conflict, to build character, show location, or anything else that is important to the story. That purpose should not just be to take up space.

Not Being Descriptive

When reading, we want to immerse ourselves in that world. To do that, we need a description of what we’re reading. Not describing locations and characters will lead to disinterested readers.

Saying, “Her hair was red,” is not only boring but is also vague. There are so many shades of red, and what I’m imagining may be completely different from what you are trying to portray. Instead, writing, “Her hair was the color of a summer cherry,” better describes the character.

Telling Instead of Showing

The golden rule of writing, something you’ve probably heard a thousand times, is ‘show don’t tell’. And there’s a good reason for that. Telling your reader the story as if you’re reciting it is not nearly as immersive as showing them. It was hot that day. I was sad when I saw her reaction. Everyone looked angry. None of those sentences are the least bit engaging. Instead of telling your reader what happened, you want to show them.

This ties into being descriptive as you want to describe what’s happening.

Traits of a Good Writer

Each writer is unique and has their own rules and process. However, to try to step outside of the box as a beginner is to set yourself up to fail. Just like with any skill, it’s necessary to learn the basics before you put your own spin on things. Most skilled writers hold similar traits that we can learn from. As beginners, we can implement these traits into our writing process and instantly improve our craft. Here are some traits of a good writer:

Know Your Audience

Before you even begin writing, it’s critical that you understand your audience. Questions like why are they reading, what are they hoping to get out of reading, and how can I connect to them are good to answer before writing.

An example may be you writing a romance novel. Knowing your audience means knowing that your ideal reader is someone who is single, dreaming of a perfect relationship. They may be reading your novel to feel hopeful about their own love life. With this information, you may choose a hopeful tone for your story; one with a happy ending that can give your reader the confidence to get back on the dating scene.

Practice Often

All skills require practice to improve, and writing is no different. If you aren’t regularly strengthening your writing muscles, they will weaken over time. Luckily, to practice writing simply involves, well, writing. The more you write, the more you’ll develop your own voice and create better work.

Know Your Craft

Getting involved in the writing community is one of the easiest ways to become a good writer. By surrounding yourself with other writers, you’ll learn new techniques, make connections, and be able to share your knowledge with others.

You can find writing communities on Tumblr, Pinterest, and similar places.

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