Harsh writing advice



"Harsh writing advice" was trending on Twitter the other day, with users offering their thoughts on the craft — everything from the tried-and-true "just write, dammit" mantra to tips on how to create characters. My contributions, naturally, had to do with grammar. And they were based on years of experience reading and fixing bad writing.

  • Tangible subjects, action-oriented verbs whenever possible. Enough of this "Those who are known to frequent restaurants are considered risk-takers" bullshit. "Diners take risks."
  • Any adverb that does not add new information makes your sentence weaker, not stronger. He was violently gunned down in the street —> He was gunned down in the street.
  • Stop with the damn danglers, already.

The bottom line: If your ideas are great and your characters are great and your insights are great and your action is great and your information is great but you can't communicate them well, you're not writing well. Scrutinize each sentence to make sure it's as clear and efficient as possible.




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