We can all unanimously agree that writing is a craft that requires practice. Aspiring writers often look up to their literary idols to learn how they can reach similar heights, and although a century can only witness a few great minds, we can certainly hope to proceed in the right direction! Thousands of people write for more reasons than can be counted, and while there is no ‘right’ way of writing, there is always room for improvement.
Many bestselling authors have gone on record and given interviews, spilling beans about their nature of ingenuity. Here are five tips from bestselling authors to help you improve your literary flare.
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” – Mark Twain
The Huckleberry Finn author had some very important advice to give away which holds true even over a hundred years later. Be it blogging, content writing or simply writing for giggles, this piece of advice can be adapted to any literary expression. Your incompetence as a writer shows up on paper when you overuse certain words. So, every time you would want to use the word ‘very’ just keep an eye and delete it. Your work will look less trashy.
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” – Stephen King
Adverbs are words that describe verbs, and while some of them can uplift your writing style, overuse of adverbs is something that one should never do. In the process of describing what you are talking about, you will lose track of what you’re actually talking about! So, abide by Stephen King and trim them adverbs down, either while writing or in a second draft.
“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.” – Franz Kafka
Kafka has always been known to be philosophical, and while this tip might sound a little complicated, it’s not when analysed. The Metamorphosis author simply means this – develop your own style. You want to leave your readers a little something to remember you by, something unique. In an era when every second person is a ‘writer’, it’s very easy to get lost. So it is important to find your own style, and even more important to not imitate someone else’s. As Pakistani author Musharraff Ali Farooqi says, “Each writes in a different genre -- Bhagat on relationships, Tripathi on mythology, Sanghi on history, and I on financial fiction.”
“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it” – Edgar Allen Poe
This tip by Poe is applicable to the modern day concept of blogging. There are around 450 million active bloggers in the English language alone, and if you want to tap into the world of blogging (and succeed), you need a powerful, interesting or useful theme to center your blog around. A blogger should incorporate this in order to create a fully structured blog that offers value.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
King steals the show with one piece of advice that we all have heard right from kindergarten. As brutally honest as this may sound, if you do not like to read, you cannot be a good writer. You need to develop your idea, gather inspiration and knowledge, even if it is unrelated to what you want to write.
Writing takes practice, and even if you are writing a few lines for mere pocket money or planning to write an entire book, there is no escaping from the occassional writer’s block or rejections from publishers. This is the hard reality of writing. But some have struggled through, and what they learnt on their journeys could teach you a thing or two that you can, hopefully, use in your own journey.