Use the writing process: first draft, edit, rewrite and publish. All writers start off with a not-so-great first draft. Get your ideas out before worrying about spelling or grammar. Go back and re-read your first draft aloud. Listen for mistakes or places in your story that don’t make sense or move the story forward. Then rewrite it with corrections, additions or cut stuff out. Read it again out loud to someone else. Notice when they laugh or when they look bored. Ask them for questions and comments. Then make another rewrite (and another and another and another) until you feel your writing is the best it can be. Publish and be proud!
Follow the simple plot plan: Your character must:
A.) need or want something.
B.) have obstacles in her/his way.
C.) find a solution to these obstacles.
Remember: Your main character should be the one to solve his/her own problems! Follow this plot plan and you should have a clear beginning, middle and end.
Show, not tell. You’ve probably heard other writers or teachers say this, but it must be said at least one hundred times before it sinks into your head! Use description, action, realistic dialogue and the five senses to liven up your writing. Make it happen then and there. Don’t tell us about it. Show us! Instead of “Jacob bounced the ball at the bully,” try “The ball ricocheted off the cement and smashed into the bully’s face.”
Hook the reader. Author John H. Ritter says that you should hook the reader at the end of every sentence, paragraph and chapter. That sounds tough, doesn’t it? But keep this thought in mind when you’re writing. Will the reader want to continue on to that next sentence, paragraph or chapter? Make him/her want to keep reading!
Cut, cut, cut! Author Richard Peck says to cut at least 1 or 2 words from each sentence of your story during the editing process. After you feel you have rewritten your best story, go back and take out unnecessary words. You will find that your writing will become much tighter. This makes a better story!
Know your character. Readers notice a consistent and unusual voice. You must know your character better than you know yourself. Know what’s in their closet or pocket. Know how they feel about their grandparents, even if they’re not in the story. You must understand your character inside and out or else your voice will not ring true. What your character does and says must always seem real, or else your reader will sense it and not connect with your character.
Watch those adverbs! Instead of using lots of adverbs, try using stronger verbs. Don’t say “he walked slowly,” say “he lumbered.” Instead of “her heart beat loudly” use “her heartbeat echoed throughout her body.”
Use similes and metaphors. Writers have lots of tools in their toolboxes. Similes and metaphors can make your work shine. Try “he walked slowly, like a caterpillar crawling uphill” or “her heart beat as loud as fireworks booming directly overhead.”
Remember to have fun! Not all writing is enjoyable, but most of it can be, if you write from your heart. Don’t give up and your words will find their way out and come to life!