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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

WRITING TIPS & THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND THEM



THERE IS ALWAYS REASON BEHIND MADNESS ... AND TRUTH, TOO

Something to remember in these political debates ... and in the wisdom given to us on how to write well.


WRITE SHORTER


Every extra word makes readers impatient in these short-attention span days. 

Got to keep checking on those FB posts, you know.

Write as if each word cost you 50 cents.  Shorter prose is more powerful.



SHRINK THOSE SENTENCES!



Tiny draws attention in this big world.

Long sentences make readers work too hard to get to your main point.  

Break sentences into bite-size ideas.  Be Hemingway not Longfellow.


PASSIVE IS THE NEW POISON 




Passive voice sentences hide who is acting, creating uneasiness unconsciously in your reader.  Not good!

Be the detective of your own sentences -- find out who is the actor in each sentence and link him to the verb.



ERASE JARGON. FOCUS ON CLARITY


Jargon and Tech words just make your readers feel stupid. Way bad.

It doesn't make you sound smart.  
It makes you look as if you are talking down to your reader.

Tell your story as if you were relaying it to your mother or next door neighbor.  Tell the tale to make the most impact to the most people.


PUSH TO THE HEAD OF THE LINE





Move key scenes and insights up as close to the front of your novel, chapter, sentence as you can.

You are not making a case in a court of law where you have to lay a foundation fact by fact.

You have only a few sentences to get the readers' attention.  

Don't waste those few precious moments.  

Grab your audience right out of the gate -- at the first sentence if possible.
CLUES 


Authors use foreshadowing to hint at future important events. 

Whether consciously or unconsciously,

readers pick up on these clues if they read and use them to make predictions about what will happen later in the story.

It creates tension and suspense, keeping the reader turning the pages.

16 comments:

  1. Great tips, Roland! Let's hope the politicians take your advice. ;)

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    1. Politicians only listen to their ambition. :-(

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  2. Hi Roland - shortening our sentences - I must put more effort into doing that ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I try to think: how would Hemingway write it. :-)

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  3. Great advice! Thanks! It's good to hear your voice again :)

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    1. Thanks, Heather. Work has been keeping me hopping!

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  4. Believe me, I am short and no tech jargon!

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    1. And those are two of the reasons your books are so popular -- and you tell a riveting story! :-)

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  5. Excellent tips. One of my rules is "don't use a word you don't need."

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yes, think we are writing by telegram, having to pay for each word! Ouch, right? :-)

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  6. These are some very good tips, Roland, but I'm afraid for my two current novels (which as you know I'm editing and polishing), longer sentences are woven in with shorter ones, not just because of the rhythm but because of the 1867-69 setting. Must speak a bit like the Victorians, right?

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    1. My two NOT-SO-INNOCENTS novels, the latest to come out this October, are set in the same time period so I know what you mean! :-)

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  7. I think that's one of the best articles I've read about writing in a long time. Seriously. Whew! Nicely done.

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    1. Crystal, you just made my morning! Now, off to the blood wars. :-)

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  8. I think it is very important to vary sentence length. Jargon works in dialogue but not in narrative.

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    1. Agree! :-) Thanks for visiting. It means a lot to me.

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