How to spice up your writing
There are Faux pas’ in the world of writing, just like there is in the world of fashion (I.E. crocs). Do you want to be the Croc’s of book writing?! No, that’s what I thought. So here are some basic things to do/avoid to enhance your story.
There is quite possibly nothing more mood-killing than reading the word “Said” a million times. We know that the person was speaking, so show us, don’t tell us (A topic that will be approached as you continue on).
“I love you.” Said Jenny.
“I know.” Said Juan.
“Really?” Said Jenny.
“Really.” Juan said.
Boy, if that didn’t make you cringe, then you need to pick up a few books and actually read the words on the pages and not just the front and back covers (I actually feel rage right meow. I am so sorry).
Using the word “said” Is practically suicide. It is one of the major things I would tell clients when they hand me a fresh, juicy, manuscript. “If I see ‘said’ distastefully, I will burn that paper and only feel bad because of the amount of trees it took to prove this point.”
Try, instead, adding emotion to your piece. Throw in some flare, some pizzazz, some oomph!
“I love you.” Jenny tucked her hair behind her ear, biting her lip to hide the strange sensation the new words had brought to her tongue, the books in her hand seeming to be the only thing keeping her grounded. She felt as if everyone in the hallway at Greensnatch High had stopped to stare at her.
She met the burning gaze of Jaun’s brown eyes, her body growing cold. “Really?” She whispered, afraid that her voice would betray her.
I had to name the school “Greensnatch High School” because I ruin beautiful things with shitty humor. But, do you see my point?
Now, this is a tricky one because there are two ways to fix this, and it entirely depends on you as the writer, and the subject that you are portraying. For instance, romance is about description and detail, whereas poetry or symbolic writing is about what you don’t say.
Adding more description
This one is pretty easy to fix.
The sunset was pretty.
Spice that F**ker up. Give it a little tone.
The pinks and oranges of the setting sun held steady against the dark greens and browns of the tree we sat in, replacing its warm touch with a cool caress, leaving a trail of gooseflesh tickling my arms
Okay that was a pretty shitty description, but you get it.
Show, not tell.
Tears ran down her face as she read the letter.
No. Bad dog. Spit that out. Throw some emotion in there, don’t tell me that the character is crying, show me, let me get into their head and feel it with them (And this goes for all emotions, but it’s 3:30am and I’m a single 25 year old, so sadness is relatable, okay? Okay).
Jess lost track of how long she had been staring at the folded piece of paper. She read it once, then a second time to let the shock sink in, and then three more times just to make sure that what it said was real. She held back the pulsing in her eyes for as long as she could, taking deep breaths and telling her heartrate to slow down. She swiped away streaks of black from her cheeks, the sleeve of her favorite grey jacket not yet given a chance to dry.
Do you feel that? Do you feel that Mister Crabs?! I never once said that she was crying, but it was very well assumed.
Taking away some description
There are times when you don’t particularly need to be super descriptive. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but one of the best things about reading is creating the scenes in your mind and coming imagining things alongside the MC.
Jacob was over six feet tall, with blonde hair, grey eyes, and a thin frame.
Where that description works, there is a better way of doing it.
Jacob was taller than me and easily half as thin. What made matters worse was that his eyes were more pretty than mine, even his lashes were longer and his sandy curls more bouncy.
Let the imagination take part in the creation of the character. How many of us have seen a book-turned-movie and had to say “Wow, yeah, that character was nothing like what I imagined.” And went on to list the differences? So yeah, try and leave a little mystery with your descriptions.
And of course, SHOW, NOT TELL
“Woowww Courtney, writing in caps? That’s a little aggressive and I’m gonna need you to stop yelling.”
This is probably the most important thing. Show me what is happening either through dialogue or through description.
After the uprising, they waited one hundred and thirty-seven years to come out of hiding again.
Instead, guide us to the assumption.
We went into hiding after the last uprising. Vladimir had put enough of a rift on our kind that we had to stay underground for decades, occasionally letting someone slip back into the human world to see if they got noticed. One by one we wandered up from our sanctuary as fewer and fewer of our kind came back. I, being the Second to the King, was the first of his loyals to step out into the moonlight.
“Sir, might you tell me what date it is?” I stopped the first man I saw, who had a strange device in his hand that illuminated his face and white chords coming from inside of his ears.
“January 3rd.” The guy furrowed his eyebrows, pulling one of the white tubes from his ears to see me better.
“It is always hard to adjust to a new year, isn’t it?” I chuckled, willing him to give me some inkling of the year.
“I still write 2013 on my papers from time to time.” The man pressed the tube back into his ear and pushed his glasses tighter between his eyes.
“As do I.” I tipped my hat at the man, trying to ignore the strange look he was giving me before turning away. To be fair, if an extremely pale man asked me for the date and was wearing a trenchcoat, I would have reacted much more brashly.
“137 years later. 137.” I shook my head, adjusting the hat lower to cover more of my face as I disappeared into the crowd. Now I had to find the new sanctuary in a world that I no longer understood. This was about to get interesting.
Raise your hand if you want me to write that story. Because I kind of want to.
But anywho, you see what I mean, yes? Show what is happening, don’t just blatantly say that the sky is blue. Let your readers use their imagination, and for the love of writing, DON’T use “said” more than a skater boy uses “like.”
Anyways, comment anything that you would like to see me/us talk about in future blogs, as we are only here to help you out.
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Peace out Girl Scout.