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How To,  Writing Tips

Writing Techniques to Take Your Writing to the Next Level

If you feel like you’ve plateaued as a writer, and you know your work is missing something or could be better, but you’re not sure how to improve it, you’ve come to the right place.

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at places where writing tends to fall short, and how you can use simple writing techniques to quickly improve a story.

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Create Well-Rounded Characters

Characters. The foundation of any great story comes down to the characters you create. You may have the most wonderful story idea and may write with excellent detail using great writing techniques, but if your characters are flat, your story will never be strong.

There’s so much to be said about creating well-developed characters and to not bore you with too much information, I’ll summarize the basics and leave links to previous posts I’ve written that cover character creation.

For Well-Rounded Characters, You Should Have:

  • Inner and Outer Goals
  • Detailed Background
  • Quirks, Personality, and Basic Temperment

Avoid:

  • Having Characters with No Real Purpose
  • Introducing a Character Once and then Never Again
  • Using Supporting Characters as Accessories to The Main Character(s)
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How To Write a Great Unique Protagonist

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How To Add Supporting Characters To Your Story

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How To Write Dynamic and Interesting Characters

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Develop the World Around Your Characters

Detailed characters need equally detailed worlds to live in, and when creating a sci-fi/fantasy world, you should build your world with solid rules, history, and excitement.

If you are writing a world that’s based in our own, the rules and the history are already known, so it’s easier to make it feel real. However, if you part from reality and create something new, you’ll need to incorporate some information into your story so readers can understand how your world works.

For example, if your story is set in the year 3000, you may have information about a great war that took place in 2500 that changed the course of history.

If you incorporate magic into your story, the occult should follow some set of rules whether you write them into the plot or not. Like, let’s say you have superheroes in your story. If you at some point mention that only people born in summer develop superpowers, you should not later write a character born in winter with them. Does that make sense?

Even though your world may not follow the same rules as ours, it should still stay consistent.

Track Important Information

To avoid plot holes and create a more cohesive, consistent story, it’s important to keep track of any information about your characters and your world.

It’s a great idea to get into the habit of writing all major details as you create them in a story bible or similar system.

If you haven’t seen my post about story bibles, I’d recommend checking it out. I go over what a story bible is, its uses, how to create one, and have a story bible template and checklist available to purchase.

Simple Creative Writing Story Bible Template & Checklist

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Write Vividly

Personify items, use descriptive words, and allow the dialogue to flow as normally as it would in real life. Part of writing vividly involves finding your voice as an author, which is something that takes time. However, try to do as much as you can by using a variety of words, using personification, adding metaphors, etc. These basic concepts taught in school are great ways to bring a story to life and improve your writing techniques.

Add Unique Dialogue

The words used, the pauses they take, the way they speak, should be consistent for the character, and somewhat unique. Every person has their own way of speaking, no matter how similar or different to the next. Making unique dialogue for each character will help make them feel more real and will allow for a more interesting read.

The differences in speech between each character don’t have to be great. In fact, it’s best if you (the reader) hardly notice. The dialogue should still be easy to read and feel natural. And, it may just come down to a character who speaks in longer paragraphs as opposed to one who speaks in short utterances.

Remember, as you write dialogue, you should write it as your character would speak it, not you.

Show Don’t Tell

Describe the events like you’re painting a picture in the reader’s mind instead of retelling someone’s story. Describe. Let the page come alive. Show don’t tell.

Instead of “It angered him.” Say “He slammed his fist on the table, his face becoming more red with every second that passed.”

Readers usually don’t want to hear a recount of what happened, they want to see it—to feel as if they’re there in the story. Even if your story is a character’s account of what happened, we should feel a part of that character’s world, not ours.

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