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5 Writing Tips To Help Amp Up Your Prose

10/16/2013 12:04 pm ET
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All right, so you are trying to break into the ranks of writers with publishing credits and all you want to know is: “What can make MY writing stand out from the rest?” While there’s no absolute answer that guarantees recognition, publication, and fame, these five quick tips are a great place to start.

1. Don’t let the obvious happen. When we can expect and predict the next plan of action or the next line of dialogue, we lose our drive to continue with the story. We feel let down by the ever-present tedium of predictability. There’s nothing jarring our senses anymore. You almost need to treat your writing like it’s a horror film, even if the story itself is a romantic frolic into “heart-shaped clouds” fantasy land. There should be surprises around each corner, keeping us on our toes. We should feel apprehensive about what’s unknown and about what may come.

2. Your fears can be your best friend. Don’t be afraid to write about the things that frighten you. Cancer. A romantic relationship ending. Death. These things can affect your emotions deeply, and emotions are something we ALL have in common. Maybe writing about it will make you feel better. It may also make the reader feel better too. It helps us connect with each other, and isn’t that what makes writing so great to begin with?

3. Passion drives YOU, so…write about it. We all have our passions. If we didn’t, then we would never get anywhere. These things give us reasons to push on, to explore, to conquer. Delve deep into your passions and learn everything you can, whether you love creating music, painting, or, yes, even shopping. There are others in this world who have those same interests, and maybe you can teach them something about what they hold close to their hearts. Or maybe you can express the way they feel about something in a way they can’t.

4. Up the ante. Have you ever had one bad thing after another happen to you? Have you felt like everything is against you and there’s no way you can ever escape or get relief? Well, this is actually a great way to treat your characters. If your favorite prom king/starting quarterback/straight-A student is awaiting a full-ride scholarship to Yale, maybe he’s suddenly injured in a car accident. Then, maybe he is paralyzed. Yale revokes his scholarship. His family falls deep into debt with medical bills. How will he rebound? We are left wondering how he will EVER get out of this and back on top of his life. And that, in return, makes us keep coming back for more.

5. Perspective can always teach us more about the world. The world is full of generalizations and predetermined opinions. Grab us by our shirts and throw us up against the lockers, maybe threaten us with a noogie, and tell us that there are other ways to look at things! Show us that there isn’t one viewpoint—there are many viewpoints. If we agree or disagree, we are still learning something about ourselves and about how others see the world.

So, place your foot on the lower rope and let your writing climb into the ring. With these tips, your essays, short stories, or books will be throwing walloping punches at your readers, grabbing their interest, and not letting go. And once your writing is in prime fighting shape, Writer’s Relief can help you make targeted, hard-hitting submissions to literary agents and journals . All you have to do is…well, wait for the victory bell to ring.

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