5 Pieces of Advice: Writing

1.) No matter what it is, it’s probably too long. Look again with a cold, hard eye. Yes, you love your words, but some of them you should probably kill. Be brave … and ruthless.

2.) Good titles count. Create a title that would make you click into the story. But remember this: cheese is costly. You can bait the reader a few times and then they’ll walk around the trap. Be smart.

3.) Read it aloud before you publish. This is one of the best paths for detecting rhythm and flow. Skip this step and you might help your schedule and your ego, but you will not help your work or your reader.

4.) Treat your reader with respect. Assume intelligence and help him rise to the challenge. Never talk down to your reader. He is not a child or a dog, and you should not speak to him as such.

5.) Good writing is timeless. It does not go bad with age, like milk or fish. Speak to the subjects of today, but choose your words with an eye that sees beyond this date or that clock. You can be both of the moment and far beyond it, too. Strive to be more, always more.

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4 comments
craigzielinski
craigzielinski

I meant more that I appear to habitually inject odd meter or sentence structure, to entertain myself, which may or may not result in someone having to re-read a sentence a couple of times before making sense of it. I guess I write because it tickles me.


I agree that some have a tendency to write as if there is something behind the curtain, but when you get round there it's just some hunched troll with a lot of tabs open. So it is in this fourth age.


I always enjoy your words, missus. Always have. Keep it up. Keep it right up.

craigzielinski
craigzielinski

Turns out, what I write is purposefully obtuse and impenetrable. As if the reader has to earn my words. Not unlike the music I listen to.

lisbethdarsh
lisbethdarsh moderator

@craigzielinski Oh, I would say to never pander to the unintelligent reader (you always want the smarter dog to find the treat so you hide it well) but, also, it is folly to mistake a lack of clarity for expertise. It is a popular style, though.