Friday, August 16, 2013


A sample of my reference & writing tools
"Tips for Writing a Better Book"  ... continued from a previous blog

PART 2  -  A Smooth Approach to Writing a Better Book

So you want to write a book? A few tips are in order. These will help get you started and on your way to writing a better book.  Write well and you will find yourself heading in the right direction.
What was passed on to me I pass on to you. Basic formats with specific language structures give a basis for the craft of writing. The more I write the more I realize that these are common-sense guidelines. 

Once a person becomes aware of them it is easier to spot these writing structures.  Now that I am serious about my writing I have noticed that I make mental evaluations while reading literary text. The author's use of  writing style and language is assessed more acutely than before becoming aware of what good writing looks like. This comes with the territory. I share a few guidelines with you as a first consideration while undertaking a writing project. These have been useful in my writing ventures. Good luck on the writing.

Make the first sentence count
         The most important sentence in a book is its opening sentence.
            -The first sentence must be an attention-grabbing sentence.
            -Gripping enough to capture the interest after the book's pulled off the shelf
            -Interesting enough to keep the person perusing through a few of its pages.

Make the message speak
        Every book has a predominate message.
            -A book’s content is related to its central message.
            -Prepare by stating the book’s message in concise language.
            -Then keep to it. 

            -Don't let the inside matter get side-tracked by side-eddies.
Make an organizational web
        A “chapter web” will help organize the main points.
            -Arrange ideas in thought-bubbles in a star-burst surrounding the main idea.  
            -Jot key content in bubbles for potential chapter guides.

Make it worth-while—
        Each page should be interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention.
            -Tempt the reader to be willing to plunk down $25 to buy your book.
             -Give the book-browser a reason to purchase your book.
             -Whet the appetite. Make each page speak on its own.

Make the reader join up
        Show the emotion, details, and physical sensations. 
            -Refrain from telling about the story.
            -Place the reader into the scene by using descriptive words. 
            -Avoid over-explaining the content.
           -Show what the character is expressing, feeling, or experiencing.

Make the narrative active not passive
        Write in an active voice.
            -Choose active, present tense verbs when applicable i.e. "is" versus "was."
            -Avoid words that may bog down the narrative and bore the reader.
            -Be careful to not flip tenses or first/third person in the inside matter. 

            -Train yourself to spot these by oral proofreading the text.
Make the use of adjectives and adverbs a rare occurrence
        The writing stands alone without the clutter of adjectives and adverbs.
            -Infrequent use adjective and adverbs is preferred. 
            -Write clean. Write sharp, clear sentences.

Make  the writing intrigue the reader by being slow to show
        The reader wants to figure it out; skip telling what or how to think.
            -Don’t tell too much too fast or hint at the book's conclusion.
            -Allow the reader to find their own way, to figure it out.

Make the book reach its intended point without over-doing it
        The reader will be insulted if you explain the obvious.
            -Don’t tell the reader how to process the clues.
            -Trust the reader to interact with your message.

Make the book free of clich├ęs, jargon, and words to impress
        Certain genres are prone to use "in-house" vernacular.
            -Political, spiritual, historical writings etc. may assume background knowledge.
            -Refrain from the use of terms not familiar to a general audience (or explain).
            -Language must be pure, direct, and understood.
            -Complicated words should be toned down if they impede the reader.


So, there you have it. A few tips that should help with writing clean.  Book-style writing is not writing the same way we speak, unlike many of us were taught during our formal education. Book writing has its own format. It requires the developing of a necessary skill, a craft that will be shape and morph until its hidden beauty speaks. The avid mind will soak up print as a tunnel to a world of delight.

 Some books
, both in children's and adult literature, have too many of these avoidable errors. I  find myself mentally correcting incorrect verb tense usage as I am reading a sentence, stopping the flow, before I can carry on. At times, I wonder why the proof-reading editor didn't correct the more obvious of errors. This is frustrating, especially while reading a book to a class of students. I mental-edit so I will read it correctly. One adult writer's first book is filled with such errors, making it a confusing read. Possibly, it is lacking an editor review. No matter.  Somewhere it missed a careful review which detracts from its readability. Later on, I read another one of this same author's books. It was fine, no out-standing errors,  a progression in her skills development.  Effective proof readers look for these errors.  I know I lack skill in writing mechanics. I am forcing myself to improve in this area. However, the attempt is made, to write well and to use grammar and language in a way that leads to a better written book, which, in turn, increases credibility in the community of successful writers and with the audience of readers.

Some of what I have written in this blog comes from information I gleaned during a conversation several years ago.  It is the tip of the iceberg. There is much more information that is available on the web through blogs and people who use Twitter. I have found the internet publication world to be a resource of substantial value.

I recommend the following book for all beginning (budding) authors.

“10 Mistakes Amateur Writers Make ... and How to Avoid Them” by Nora Profit.

It can be purchased here:  The Writing Loft Book Store Link:

Happy writing!  

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