Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia - E.L. Doctorow

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fundamentals of Writing Creatively

I am very lucky to have an awesome writer "Kim Wilkins" who teaches at my university. In my writing course she came in and gave a lecture on the Fundamentals of Writing Creatively. My next Author of Note will be the lady in question. So, since this lecture was very informative for me I thought I would share it with you all. And hopefully you will get something out of it. Enjoy!

1. Be Specific


Use good descriptive verbs, they may help cut down bulky sentences. Sometimes you need short, sharp, and sweet. It can add more empathise.

For example: Instead of - He put the folder on the table forcefully.
                        Make it - He slammed the folder on the table.

2. Be Clear


Make sure your words and sentences are relating properly.

Incorrect: The boy went missing in his school uniform the first day he wore it.
This makes it sound like the boy actually went missing inside his school uniform instead of while he was wearing it.

Be careful where you place your modifiers. Find ways to achieve sentence variety, and break sentences up. You don't want to overload the reader with to much information.


For example: The heat leeched him, settling like dust in his throat.
This sentence is not wrong, but too many metaphors can sound pompous. You shouldn't overlap a metaphor with another metaphor. Make the metaphor work, and once you have achieved the perfect metaphor walk away from it. No one likes a metaphor show off.


Say what you mean to say. Don't use unnecessary words.

For example: Instead of - He went out and touched the edge.
                        Use this - He touched the edge.

3. Be Careful


Use good descriptive words.

For example: Instead of - He was quite tall.
Quite is not a very good descriptive word. Words such as rather, pretty, a bit, a little, somewhat are also not great descriptive words. Instead what you could say is...The top of my head came up to his chin.


Be careful of them. Words such as very, and extremely.


You don't need to explain every little thing. Your reader is a smart cookie. Like with metaphors if it works walk away from it.

4. Be Relaxed

A test: Do I know this word?
If the answer is no you should probably not be using it.

Also, don't use words if you know it, but don't need it. No one likes a show off.

Check out How to Write a Novel by Newman and Mittlemark.

5. Be Creative

Read a-lot. Try some of the great masters.


Once you understand how grammar works than you can break the rules, and make your own rules. It's about the only time you will be able to break grammer rules, so have fun.


  1. What great tips. I also appreciate that you gave examples. That helps!

  2. Awesome tips here! I especially liked the metaphor one. I read somewhere that an author should use no more than one per paragraph, but I think it should be one per page.

  3. Thank you for the blogger award that you gave me, I really appreciated it, and I wrote about it in my latest blog post.

    Check it out and write on!

  4. What a great reminder for all us writers. Thank you.


  5. Great tips and examples :) I have to watch myself for qualifiers - I tend to overindulge in that area!

  6. Love these tips! I used to check the thesaurus whenever I wrote. Now? Not so much. :)

  7. Thanks for sharing those tips, very useful, I'll bear them in mind. I love the Thesaurus Syndrome one.

  8. Good reminders. I actually miss taking classes!

  9. These are great tips! Very useful :)

  10. So many of these I can get better at. Thanks for passing on this wonderful advice! :o)

  11. Great list of things to think about when writing. And it's true, you can break them but you have to learn them first!

  12. Good points; I especially like the last one: break the rules!