Friday, December 28, 2012

Join In!

I joined a few discussion boards on LinkedIn this past year and have thoroughly enjoyed the feedback and input of all who have contributed. On one such board, there is an ongoing discussion about whether a writer's group is profitable if all the members are unpublished. This discussion led to the impact of poor writing. Below is my current entry in that particular discussion. If you have never joined or participated in a writer's discussion group, do it today. 

It's true enough that a story can be a good one even if poorly told. The trouble is, however, that no one will ever know how good the story is if they don't read it, and as a rule, readers don't read bad writing. Readers typically take the path of least resistance and do not read poor writing because it takes too much effort. The exception to this might be required reading for school, a job, or something else along those lines. The vast majority of readers read for pleasure; they do not want to work at reading. Reading poor writing is too much work for most. 

I once had a writing student with a fantastic story. She was an 85-year-old WWII survivor who was writing her memoir. Her story was fascinating. She told of playing in a playground at age five in France when bombs started going off and she had to run for cover. However, I knew her memoir would be lost without writing improvement because she presented her story more as a list of facts than the agonizing, action-packed experience it was. As I began working with her to improve how she told her story, I was intercepted by family members who thought they'd do a better job. I'd even arranged for a local TV station to interview her! Her story, as fantastic as it is, was lost to poor writing. It's been four years, I have not heard a word. 

E-publishing has leveled the playing field for most writers and this is a good thing. Writers no longer have to wait for the approval of a publisher to be published and subsequently accepted as an author. Publishers are wrong most of the time; most writers have files full of rejection letters to offer as proof. E-publishing has opened new doors of opportunity such as have never been seen before. 

So, yes, write and write and never stop. Bang on doors, never stopping, but also e-publish and never stop. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writing Well = A Learned Skill

Writers are simply people with something to say. Do you have something to say? Learn to say it well and you will see success. While some people have more talent than others, good writing does not just magically happen. If that were the case, we would never need editors. Good writing is a skill which can be learned by anyone with something to say.

A few tips for "good writing" include:

*Pay attention to grammar. It matters

*Pay attention to punctuation. It matters.

*Never write sarcasm. It comes across ugly and makes you look small. Sarcasm does not work for the written word unless it's used to develop a character.

*Less is enough. There is no need to embellish your writing. What you have to say is enough, so keep it simple and direct.

*Be real. Readers recognize a fraud instantly, so it's vitally important to keep your writing real and honest. If your writings are fraudulent, or any part of your self-presentation is fraudulent, readers simply won't come back for more.

*Remember that writing something down changes it. This fact makes each word vitally important and weight-carrying. Proceed with caution, but by all means, proceed.

These are my tips for today.
Happy writing!
Write well!