11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

The editors of Writer's Digest provide a weekly Writing Prompt to get your writing going.
User avatar
wdarcy
Major
 
Posts: 1696
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:13 pm

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby wdarcy » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:08 pm

I certainly agree, Shadowwalker. I write the sort of story I would like to read myself. I feel sure there are others out there who enjoy reading the same thing. Maybe a few, maybe a lot, doesn't matter.

I read somewhere that a better adage than "write what you know" is "write what you love." Makes sense to me. And really, life is too short to spend it doing something you don't love.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

MPhillip
Private E-1
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:48 am

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby MPhillip » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:19 pm

.
Last edited by MPhillip on Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sammy2
Private First Class
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby sammy2 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:39 pm

[quote="MPhillip"]All of those tips can be found in a multitude of writers' blogs and I've seen them as advice given by more than one best selling author.

Perhaps writing short sentences, short words, and short paragraphs can legitimately be considered "dumbing down", but usually only by folks who know little about reading levels. One of Hemmingway's most popular novels, [i]The Old Man and the Sea[/i], is written at a 4th grade reading level according the Flesch-Kincaid index. Here's an article that some of the writers of the more critical responses might find interesting - https://contently.com/strategist/2015/01/28/this-surprising-reading-level-analysis-will-change-the-way-you-write/

I think I'd challenge any of the naysayers to provide a sample of their work for reading level analysis. I have some software that will run the text through several of the currently accepted standards for identifying the ease with which a work can be read. Just drop me a private message with half a page of text from your writings. I'll send results back privately and ya'll can decide whether or not to post them publicly.

Ramandeep08, I'm personally sorry you haven't been back since reading so many unjustifiably harsh and uneducated responses to your post, but I'm not surprised. But, if you still get messages of updates to your thread, be of good cheer - many of the members here who have little respect for others are moving to a 'new house' where trashing WD members appears to be the common core of adhesion for the group. With luck they'll stay there. I hope you come back despite the harsh treatment you've received.[/quote]


Interesting link and blog.

I note that in
https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/p/1/005/0b0/31c/37dca25.jpg
ACA was rated very hard to read. I guess made it even harder to read if you had to pass it before you could read it.

sammy2
Private First Class
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby sammy2 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:49 pm

[quote="ostarella"][quote="williamadams"]
i have no desire to impress some english prof or critics or others with fancy high falootin writing to please them if it would in any way detract from sales[/quote]

We're not talking about impressing some English professor (you seem to have a problem with them) or anyone else, for that matter. At least, I'm not. I'm talking about not insulting readers by thinking we have write down to them. That doesn't make for "brilliant writing" nor does it guarantee sales. Writers have to understand their audience, but that doesn't mean pandering to them in order to make a buck.[/quote]



It is hard to underestimate the American public. I think the OP meant that we tend to write at our level , which may be very educated, instead of writing at the level of our audience. The level for a scientific paper would be, at least should be, far higher than a thriller novel.

I suspect writing a novel that is too hard to read will result in fewer sales than writing one that is easier to read while not being too low a level.
Although with comic books aka graphics novels being so popular, the current level of readers may be closer to middle school than even YA and certainly not approaching college level.

User avatar
wdarcy
Major
 
Posts: 1696
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:13 pm

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby wdarcy » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:50 pm

A year ago I took a writing workshop with Steve Berry, a best-selling author who earns 2 million a year from his novels. One thing he said really hit home: the hardest thing for a writer is to get away from academic writing. In his case, it was writing legal briefs (he's a former lawyer). In my case it was writing books and articles aimed at the academic market (specifically, Music Theory). And he's right--it's very difficult to make the transition from academic writing to fiction writing. I think I'm doing it, but it's taken a lot of effort. I think this may be relevant to the OP's points and to sammy2's comment.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

sammy2
Private First Class
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby sammy2 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:14 pm

[quote="wdarcy"]A year ago I took a writing workshop with Steve Berry, a best-selling author who earns 2 million a year from his novels. One thing he said really hit home: the hardest thing for a writer is to get away from academic writing. In his case, it was writing legal briefs (he's a former lawyer). In my case it was writing books and articles aimed at the academic market (specifically, Music Theory). And he's right--it's very difficult to make the transition from academic writing to fiction writing. I think I'm doing it, but it's taken a lot of effort. I think this may be relevant to the OP's points and to sammy2's comment.

--Warren[/quote]


A number of lawyers write fiction. Maybe it is easier to really dumb down the writing than to just make a small change from what legal briefs sound like.

The hardest change I had was to stop writing government bureaucrat style when I moved to private industry. I had another change that was hard after hearing and speaking caribbean island style English when on a vacation and then coming back to the mainland.

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby ostarella » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:07 pm

I think there's a difference between "dumbing down" (ie assuming your audience doesn't have a reasonable education) and taking "specialty language" (legalese, business terms, science) and making it understandable to those not in the field.

sammy2
Private First Class
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby sammy2 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:45 am

[quote="ostarella"]I think there's a difference between "dumbing down" (ie assuming your audience doesn't have a reasonable education) and taking "specialty language" (legalese, business terms, science) and making it understandable to those not in the field.[/quote]


Instead of dumbing down lets call it shorter simpler sentences with common words not long complex ones with less common words.

User avatar
ostarella
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 am

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby ostarella » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:10 pm

[quote="sammy2"][quote="ostarella"]I think there's a difference between "dumbing down" (ie assuming your audience doesn't have a reasonable education) and taking "specialty language" (legalese, business terms, science) and making it understandable to those not in the field.[/quote]


Instead of dumbing down lets call it shorter simpler sentences with common words not long complex ones with less common words.[/quote]

I'd have to disagree if the premise is that the audience can't cope with longer sentences or a more varied vocabulary, and especially if one thinks they have to change their style in order to MAYBE add a few more readers who weren't really part of the target audience to begin with.

sammy2
Private First Class
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing!

Postby sammy2 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:51 pm

[quote="ostarella"][quote="sammy2"][quote="ostarella"]I think there's a difference between "dumbing down" (ie assuming your audience doesn't have a reasonable education) and taking "specialty language" (legalese, business terms, science) and making it understandable to those not in the field.[/quote]


Instead of dumbing down lets call it shorter simpler sentences with common words not long complex ones with less common words.[/quote]



I'd have to disagree if the premise is that the audience can't cope with longer sentences or a more varied vocabulary, and especially if one thinks they have to change their style in order to MAYBE add a few more readers who weren't really part of the target audience to begin with.[/quote]




Depends what you are writing. Of course, you should write to your audience. But better to underestimate them then give them too much credit.

For fiction, I envision my audience as being lazier and not wanting to read long convoluted sentences with GRE level vocabulary . While they may well be able to do that, they are interested in a faster easier fun read not more verbiage like they have to read at work every day.

I suspect that making it shorter and simpler will add a lot of readers while losing very few. Hemingway is a great example. Fourth grade level of writing yet extremely popular and widely read.

Basic statistics says more people are average or below average than are above average. Unless you are doing academic writing the odds say you get a lot more readers with shorter simpler sentences.

PreviousNext

Return to Writing Prompts and Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests