Tuesday, August 02, 2016

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Writing Come Alive for Your Reader

My favorite compliment from readers is when I hear, "It felt like I was there." Setting out to write something that generates this feeling from readers would have intimidated me when I was starting out to write my novel, but it really is an accessible skill. Think of all the times you've described a vacation, recalled a funny event, or have given a play by play of a dramatic conversation. You've triggered those same feelings. Thankfully, there is an easy approach to translate that ability into your writing.

Here are the 5 easy ways to make your writing come alive for your reader:

1. Cut out some of the words.

As soon as you tighten up your reading, you are positioning yourself in the category of writers of those brilliant sentences that you want to read over and over again because they are so full. Description and a great turn of phrase work together to bring the reader right into your scene. This can be a second draft approach. Instead of forcing this kind of sentence out the first go round, just get the general story on the page and then refine it once it's there.

2. Use a recording device to capture your storytelling.

Whether it is your phone, voice capture software, or an old school hand held recorder; dictating the story takes the inner editor out of the equation because of the speed of delivery and lack of back space button. The important thing is to get your story down. Your natural story telling voice is likely oral first. Use that to your advantage and watch your project fast track to finish.

3. Tell the story to someone first

Telling the story to an interested audience will rev you up about the project and will help flesh out what the reader wants to know. Note the questions he or she asks you and make sure to answer those in your next (or first) draft. The further engaged you can make the reader, the more impactful your work (and the more likely your next story will have a built in audience)

4. Use interesting noun and verb combinations

One of my favorite writing exercises is to look around the room and compile a list of ten nouns (clock, rug, chair...etc) and then generate a random list of 10 verbs (strolled, chatted, gripped, etc...) and then draw matching lines between them and make interesting sentences (ie. The clock strolled...) It is a fun way to play with language and move your story forward in a fresh new way.

5. Travel in your mind's eye

Daydreaming a bit about your setting and characters means you can write what you see instead of focusing so hard on sentence creation. The more you tap into your natural, unforced, creative ability; the better the experience for both you and your reader.

Let me know if any of these approaches are ones you already use. If you'd like to join an online writing community, meet up here

Stories Your Mother Never Told You is on the Chilliwack Progress' summer reading list  You can read the first 15% for free at smashwords .

If you'd like to join my book reviewer team and get a review copy, leave a comment below.

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