In today’s post, I’m coming home. The original intent of this blog was to share writing styles, techniques, and explain the more obscure rules of English grammar. Lately, I’ve been running a lot of promotions and hyping up my newest titles. But today, I’m going back to my heritage for a bit with this post on three tips to make your writing pop.
Writing Tip Number 1: Use Specific Nouns
Your character isn’t wearing a hat. He’s wearing a bowler, and it’s heather gray.
Mrs. Beeswax isn’t a teacher. She’s a macro economics professor.
That man isn’t walking his dog on a leash. He’s walking his St. Bernard puppy on a black, retractable dog leash.
The neighbors aren’t outside planting flowers. Mr. and Mrs. Haberdashery are outside on an overcast, balmy day and are planting fragrant hydrangeas on either side of their back deck. You can see them, not from the window, but from the upstairs bay window, smudged with your little sister’s fingerprints.
Leaves do not cover the sidewalk. Leaves, falling from the twisted oaks, cover the sidewalk invibrant, autumns hues of ruby and butterscotch.
The street isn’t littered with trash. It’s 1994, and compact cassettes, their tape pulled from the reels, hang from the shrubs in black ribbons.
Using specific, setting-centric nouns will give your reader a clearer picture of the place you’re intending to transport them. This will give your writing that extra shine or pop, and is especially helpful if you are writing something that isn’t in a contemporary setting.
Writing Tip Number 2: Vary Sentence Length
Long sentences can make your writing hard to understand. You can easily lose the reader or worse . . . BORE THEM!
On the other hand, consistently short, choppy sentences will make your writing sound childish and stilted. Which brings me to my next point:
Writing Tip Number 3: Add Emotion to Movement
When I first started writing, one of my biggest issues was choppy sentences. I didn’t quite figure out what the problem was until I started working with a writing couch.
My initial writing style is shorter sentences and a lot of movement. This, like I mentioned above, leads to choppy and stilted sentences. If you find yourself running into this same problem, see if you can insert some emotion into the sentence. This will naturally vary your sentence length as well.