by Carrie Bennett
(Colchester, Essex, England)
Hi there, I have so many ideas for stories and I have no experience in writing. I wasn't the best student at school but I now want to write a fictional story. The problem I have is that I have no idea how to put a sentence together without it sounding boring and repetitive. I use stupid words like "suddenly" and "said" I'm trying using a thesaurus which kind of helps but then I found I am the repeating the new words.
I hope that makes sense. I also have problems trying to explain an object, place or character without it sounding like a 5 year old is writing it. I have no money to do a course and I really want this to work.
Any idea what I can do?
Do you read voraciously, especially classics or highly regarded works of fiction? I hope so, because that is one of the best ways to develop your vocabulary, get a sense of how sentences should flow well, and see how great writers tackled the same kind of problems you're wrestling with.
It doesn't cost anything to do this. Just become a frequent user of your public library.
When you find writers whose style you like (preferably ones who wrote within the last 100 years, but not necessarily), try copying out a few chapters of their work. Yes, it sounds painstaking and boring, but it's a great way to develop an intuitive sense of style.
Do this diligently for multiple writers and you will find your own style will improve tremendously.
Another technique, which works well for dialogue, is to join a community theatre group and try your hand at acting. The process of memorizing a script and performing the words as if they are your own will help you a lot when it comes to writing your own dialogue.
Even working backstage, so you have to listen to the same dialogue over and over can help a little.
Memorizing poetry is a third time honoured technique - not just for writing but for self-improvement as well.