A little inspiration to remember.

The writers you worship had writers that they adored, too.
Your life doesn’t change when you win a award in a writing competition, your life changes when you submit your manuscript to the editors.

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Three Words You Should Eliminate From Your Writing

This is a fact! Really!

A guest post by James Chartrand of Men with Pens

Every good copywriter will tell you that you should write concisely. Eliminate every unnecessary word. Be bold with your choice of nouns and adjectives. Choose precise words, not common ones. Cut all the fluff, the clutter and the jargon.

And if you’re a copywriter, you probably follow this advice – or think you do.

Unfortunately, several words are so common that you often don’t even realize you’re using them. These words sneak into your writing all the time, and they contribute nothing to the content.

They damage your credibility. They bring down your writing. They make your work look amateur.

If I pointed those words out to you, you’d probably shuffle your feed and shamefacedly admit they don’t need to be there. You hadn’t even noticed you’d put them in.

Those words are like condiments in your fridge. You open the door a dozen times a day and never see them. It isn’t until a friend comes over and asks why you have two-year-old mango chutney that you realize you should probably clear some of that out.

You should. Here are three words you can clear out of your writing.

Word #1: Really

No, really. Take a look where this word might show up and clunk up a sentence:

  • It’s really important that you sign up for this.
  • This is a really valuable product.
  • You have to check this out – it’s really interesting.

I’m specifically talking about instances where really is an intensifier. In grammar, an intensifier is like a modifier, only better, and its job is… well, to intensify the emotional context of words like “important” or “valuable” or “interesting.”

But an intensifier actually adds no particular contribution or value. Take it out, and the whole sentence still works just fine, thank you very much.

The problem with really is that it’s supposed to enhance the word it’s modifying and amplify its meaning. But really has become so common that it doesn’t actually make us think more of the item in question. It makes us think less of it.

Watch what happens here:

  • Sign up. It’s important.
  • This is valuable.
  • Interesting.

All those words have weight and heft when they stand on their own. But add really to them, and it sounds like you’re trying hard to convince someone that you mean it.

“This is interesting.”

“Yeah, right.”

“No, it’s really interesting.”

Unless your reader has some reason to doubt your statement of the facts, really is unnecessary – AND it gives your reader the impression that you don’t believe your own words.  Not really.

Word #2: Very

Really and very suffer from similar maladies; they’ve become so common that their original purpose has been flipped in the opposite direction.

It’s uncommon for us to say a house was big. We say it was very big.

We do this automatically, without thinking, and so much so that the word very doesn’t even register in our brains. It’s not as if we think big and by adding very we think even bigger.

We hear very big and we think big. We stay at the same level of perception, without anything being added to our mental image.

Very sweet. Very tall. Very nice. Very interesting.

It carries far more power to drop the word very and allow the word it intensified to stand alone.

The man entered the room. He was very large.

When we read this sentence, we get the impression that the man is fat. That’s usually what we mean when we say someone is very large. But when we simply say:

The man entered the room. He was large.

Now we have the impression of the man’s actual size. Maybe he’s fat, or maybe he’s broad and tall. Either way, there’s a lot of him. He is large. (And probably intimidating too!)

Word #3: Totally

Totally means ‘in total.’ As in, the sum of all. The whole. The entire shebang, completely. Like this:

Are all the boxes here? Totally.

That’s an old-fashioned version, but it still works for emotions:

Can I confide in you? Totally.

You can tell me the sum of all your confidences. Hold nothing back. I’m prepared to listen to the entire shebang of what you have to say.

The problem is that in common language (probably thanks to the explosion of Valley Girl talk in the ‘80s) totally became a placeholder word, modifying that which does not need modification.

Example: I was totally shocked.

Being shocked implies totality. You’re either shocked or you aren’t. Your ears can’t go into shock while your leg stays casual about it all. Your entire body and mind go into shock. That’s what shock means.

Totally, here, is redundant.

Here’s another example: This is a totally great price.

It’s great or it isn’t. A price is about as totaled as you can get – so the extra word serves no purpose.

Take it away. Take all three of these words – really, very, totally – away

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List of Best Websites For Any Writer – BOOKMARK IS A MUST!

Here follows my list of “best websites for any writer”:

*Subscribe to the newsletters if available, they are packed with hints and tips. 

1. http://www.writetodone.com

2. http://www.dailywritingtips.com

3. http://www.betterwritingskills.com

4. http://www.writersdigest.com

5. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ – Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) has over 200 high-quality grammar and writing resources

6. http://www.firstwriter.com – First Writer is a helpful; resource for writers everywhere. The site has a searchable database of book and magazine publishers, literary agencies and writing competitions.

7. http://www.brainyquote.com – This website is a good place to find a quote for your article or book. It features a database with numerous search features that makes it both fast and easy to find just what you’re looking for.
 
If you have any websites to recommend, please add them to the list. 
 
Hope you have an inspiring day with these websites. 
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Hi writers!
 
I hope you had a wonderful Saturday, anything happened that awakened a new idea for a story? My “light bulb” moment came when I was watching a kettle on a lovely fire, ideas came streaming! The sky is the limit….
 
Share your ideas with me, write a little something while you’re at it and post it. I will enjoy reading your stories or poetry about a kettle on a flaming fire, play with the idea.  I will sit and let the creative juices flow and come and share it with you. 
 
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List of websites for any writer

°°° I will be adding a list of websites for any writer or even reader to visit. This is websites that you might find very useful in your journey as a writer. Not only to help you to develop, but to bring the joy in writing. °°

*Please feel free to add your favorite websites to my list, the more the merrier!

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What Bad Movies Teach us About Good Writing

I want to share this extract with you that I found recently – important information to consider.

A guest post by Jennifer Brown Banks ofPen and Prosper

Have you ever shelled out good money for the show and then felt cheated when the movie was over?

Maybe it was a low budget flick that you held high expectations, or a box-office favorite with high ratings that was low on entertainment value.

Most of us have.

Being a frugal freelancer, I was determined, after having this happen too often as a “sequel”, to gain something redeeming for lost time and money.

When I did a rewind and reflected, I discovered that there was much that bad movies can teach us about good writing, if we are attentive.

Here’s what I discovered.

1. Good writing starts with an awareness of your audience’s needs and expectations. Whether you’re penning a blog post, a play, or an article for an online publication, it’s crucial to consider the motivation of audience members. Are they on board to be entertained? Enlightened? Empowered? Does your content deliver on your title’s promise? Assess then respond accordingly.

2. Insulting your audience’s intelligence is a dumb thing to do. One of the biggest critics of movies, plays, and books happens to be other writers. We can’t help but dissect dialogue, rewrite scenes, and see the oversights that others miss.

For example, even in a fictional piece of work, the scenarios and actions of characters have to be credible. If a play has a setting that takes place in the 1940’s, having the main character use a cell phone to call in an accident would be ridiculous, because they obviously weren’t being used back then.

Get my point?

In my opinion, writers of horror movies tend to be the biggest culprits here. Many will write scenes that are more comical than scary, often times leaving viewers shouting at the TV screen.

Put yourself in your readers’ shoes.

Try to fill in any missing gaps in information. Seek to answer questions that might be potentially posed. Make sure that two plus two equals four. Keeping in mind that articles and blog posts are not supposed to have cliffhangers.

3. Pacing is important to the overall experience. Think of it like a good kiss. If it’s too fast, it won’t engage. If it’s too long, it loses momentum. Good writing starts with an opening that’s brief and straight to the point, and ends with a satisfying closure that feels finished, yet leaves audiences wanting for more.

4. Good writing evokes emotions. Whether it’s the passion that’s felt from Barrett-Brownings, “How do I love thee?” or the giggle we get when we read Dr.Seuss in Green Eggs and Ham. Good writing connects and inspires a response.

5. Good writing, (regardless of genre) has timeless appeal. Consider the works of Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Harper Lee, or even Melville. When writing is quality, old stories still draw new audiences.

To illustrate my point, I’d like to offer a movie made decades ago that continues to excite audiences, young and old. Remember Saturday Night Fever, with John Travolta? I believe it was made back in the ’70s. Last month, a local network aired a rerun, and I was stuck like Velcro, even though I’ve seen it a dozen times.

Why?
Of course the fact that Travolta was the ultimate in eye candy, didn’t hurt. But on an artistic level, I really appreciated the “craftsmanship” that went into this movie.

The attention to detail was great. This movie combined drama, humor, suspense, family dynamics, friendship, conflict, uncertainty, loss, religion, and all the messy elements of life. The script made sense, the characters’ lines were convincing and well-suited, and even the sound track (by the Bee Gees) was amazing!

Another more recent example of a well-written movie is “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. Warning, this is not a P-G movie, folks!

The moral of the story here? Don’t cheat your audience. Give them value for their time.

As writers, if we neglect to observe these outlined practices and principles, we run the risk of losing our fan base. And at the end of the day, good writing really makes good business sense.

So next time you’re at the keyboard composing, use this as a checklist for the “write results”. Doing so will insure that your work will be worth the price of admission.

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Welcome the to first ever Writer’s Buffet!

HI!

I have finally decided to create a blog especially for all the writers out there. I have so much information that I want to share with you, that there is just not enough space on my Facebook page. 

I am creating this blog to share hints and tips with you, but to interact with you the writer or reader as well. To share in your opinion on some matters, or even to take part in discussions about a certain topic every week, for example to write a whole poem about a certain word, or creating a sentence with a new and interesting word.

I want to hear your opinions, I have created this blog for YOU. 

Please share your experiences, it can range from an experience with a publisher to an article you have posted to a magazine.

Let this be the beginning of a wonderful chapter!

 

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