Top five writing tips

Monday, 5 December 2016

Ballpoint pen resting on the blank, lined page of a spiral-bound notebook, next to an English dictionary

November was Novel Writing month. Did it inspire you to try your hand at creative writing? To get started, read our top five writing tips. You might want to use these tips to help you with your career, or to help you write as a hobby or during your studies.

  1. Making the most of your characters in short stories
    Avoid long detailed descriptions in short stories – there isn’t space and the reader will find it more interesting if you let them picture the characters, without going into too much detail. Make sure you keep your reader engaged by only having a few characters – too many can confuse them and make them lose interest.
     
  2. First or third person?
    Fiction is usually written either in first or third person. You’ll need to decide whether you’re going to focus on one main character and only reveal his or her thoughts, or take on the role of an omniscient author and report on the thoughts and actions of all of your characters. Both of these tips are taken from NEC’s Writing Short Stories course.
     
  3. Research your market
    If you’re writing for a living, make sure you do your research. Don’t just write for publications that you read or for television channels you watch. Have a look around your bookshops to see what they offer. Research where the magazines and articles are being published. Some magazines are sold in shops, whilst others are sent through the post. The more research you do, the more avenues it’ll create. Taken from NEC’s Writing for a Living course.
     
  4. Use of good dialogue in fiction
    Dialogue has many functions in fiction, including helping to bring a scene to life by putting the reader directly in the here and now. Good use of dialogue conveys information effectively. You need to make sure that you don’t include too much dialogue to carry the story – in real-life scenarios, information is often conveyed through what isn’t said, rather than what is said.
     
  5. Use of figurative language
    Using figurative language is a great example of conveying meaning using pictures.  Images generate more meanings than words and often  represent something else. You can use similes, metaphors and images to convey a character’s inner feelings. Both of these tips are taken from NEC’s Creative Writing course.
     

We hope you find these tips useful for developing your writing skills. If you’d like to enrol on one of our Creative Writing courses, phone our Course Advice Team on 0800 389 2839.
 

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