While most of this site is concerned with deeper, big-picture writing techniques, such as dramatic structure, it's also important for aspiring authors to master the surface elements of good writing.
By surface, we mean the actual words on the page which the reader reads. The style and voice an author uses often count for as much or more than the actual story or the underlying structure. Poor writing can turn a reader off very quickly, whereas readers can often overlook a poorly designed plot if the book is written in an intriguing style.
The articles below will introduce you to some of the most common guidelines recommended by writing instructors.
As with every principle we present, keep in mind that these writing techniques should not be regarded as iron-clad rules. The first stage in developing style is to master these writing techniques. If you practice them, you will likely find they can improve your writing, as they have for countless others.
Eventually, you will reach the second stage, which is to develop an instinct for language that will let you break the rules when you need to achieve your desired effect.
The Key to Descriptive Writing: Specificity
One of the most powerful secrets to descriptive writing, and in fact all writing, is to provide specific details rather than vague generalizations.
Showing Not Telling
An important technique to bring your writing to life is to practice "showing not telling." Here's what this technique can do for you and when to use it.
The Passive Voice vs. The Active Voice
Writing in the active voice is usually more effective at engaging the reader. However, sometimes the passive voice can be useful too. Also, discover some other tips for choosing better verbs.
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