10 Quick Ways To Make Your Writing Better

By on April 3, 2018
10 Quick Ways To Make Your Writing Better - Writer's Life.org

While it can be satisfying sitting down for hours and picking apart your novel, sometimes you don’t have time for that.

The great thing is that we don’t have to spend huge chunks of time on our writing to make it great. For those who can only grab a few minutes here and there, there are still ways to make your writing better and get that satisfaction that you’ve improved it each time you have a spare moment.

So what are some of the quick things you can do to make your writing better? Here are ten speedy fixes to try.

1 Look for spelling mistakes. Spelling mistakes make your writing seem unprofessional and will immediately make a publisher think you haven’t bothered to edit it well. Do a spell check of your work but also look for mistakes where the word might be correct but it’s not what you mean - there vs their and so on.

2 Do a grammar check. Even if you intend to use a professional editing service, having your grammar and punctuation as good as it can be before you send it off will help make the process smoother and leave you with a better piece of work as a result. If your grammar isn’t excellent, you can download a programme such as Grammarly which will help to weed out grammatical mistakes.

3 Look for words you overuse. We all have our favourite words or phrases, and it’s easy to overuse them in our writing. Try to skim through your work, weed out those that you end up repeating and find alternatives to keep your writing interesting.

4 Take out adjectives and adverbs. While descriptive writing can conjure up a clear picture in your reader's imagination, too many descriptive words can make writing seem overwritten. Look for these at the end of dialogue such as ‘he said lovingly’ or ‘she said angrily.’

5 Write in the present tense. The present tense gives much more immediacy to your writing and draws the readers in, so try to rewrite instances where you’ve used the past tense and change them to the present.

6 Give your character an unusual trait. Give your character an arresting feature, a lisp, a limp a strange scar or tattoo. This will immediately make them seem unique and intriguing.

7 Read your dialogue aloud. Reading dialogue aloud will help you decide whether it flows well and reflects how someone would talk.

8 Ask a probing question. When reading through your work try to ask an interesting question which could help you find a new direction for the chapter or storyline. Always think about your characters motivations for doing things and make sure their actions make sense.

9 Break up long sentences. Long sentences can be tiring to read so try to break up any that are a bit of a mouthful!

10 Delete anything that isn’t needed. Keep asking yourself ‘is this necessary? Does this drive the story forward?’ If the answer is no, hit delete.

These ten quick ways will improve your writing and can be done bit by bit, so even if you don’t have a lot of time to spare you can still get that manuscript in great shape before you know it!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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