Whether you’re writing fanfiction, on an rp forum or an original story, there are things that you can do to better your skills. Some of them are very simple changes that can drastically change how your writing is perceived by others.
1.) Show, Don’t Tell: The most important thing that I can’t stress enough, is showing actions, not telling. It’s awkward when a writer goes into a long rant about how their character is and what makes them tick. Instead of spending the time breaking down your character and explaining them to your reader, show how your character operates by showing. Situations will present themselves which will easily show how your character acts. For instance, if you have a character who is self-obsessed and there is an opportunity to help someone pick up a cell phone that they just dropped, have your character be too worried about something on their own cell phone to notice or to pick it up, etc. It will be more believable that way as well and also makes it easier for you later down the road to slowly develop your characters as you have them take slightly different actions or make radical changes based on their circumstances. Another good way to integrate this into fixing up your writing is to have characters use body language and hand gestures. Another portion of this is name degradation. Whenever possible, don’t repeat “he” over and over again. If your character is a cop, say “the cop” or “the police officer” or something, to change it up.
2.) Quality Not Quantity: Pumping out 60k+ words for your story might seem like a fantastic idea, but if the quality isn’t there, it’s not going to be impressive no matter what. Instead of valuing how many words you’ve typed, make sure that all of the words are necessary or add value to the content. If you have a sentence that basically repeats another one, it’s not adding value to your writing at all and should probably be removed. The best way to catch these sorts of things is to reread your writing and see if you really need all the words in order to still make a good sentence. Filler words could also be removed like “than” or “like”. A worst offender is “that”.
3.) Flesh Things Out: The very worst thing that you can do is assume that your readers understand what is going on immediately. If you are writing a fanfiction or on a role playing forum, this happens often. You never want to assume that your readers know the characters or the setting. It’s best to introduce them. Not all at once, of course, but slowly build up the world around them by adding details such as describing the type of car they are driving in or what sort of crowd they are in if they’re in the middle of town, etc. These added details will slowly paint a picture for your reader of the surrounding environment and the characters that make it up.
4.) Grammar and Spelling: It really goes without saying that you need to pay attention to this, but nothing makes you seem like a novice at writing than mistaking words or butchering the structure of a sentence. If you aren’t sure if a sentence flows properly in terms of grammar, try rewriting it until it flows best. Spelling is easy, as you can simply run your writing through a spellcheck like Microsoft Word. Use your assets, always! But you have to still be sure you are using the right word. Mistakes such as using “write” when you meant the direction “right” can slowly grate on a reader’s nerves.
5.) Develop Characters: Nothing will lose your readers faster than having characters that just outright change their personality, ct out of character or simply never develop or learn. The best thing you can do is have a concrete idea of how your characters function and then make a conscience effort to ask yourself if their actions align with what they would do in a certain situation. Even if it ends up changing the plot or makes you have to make adjustments to the story, you should stick with that idea while still giving the characters room to learn and develop. But if you find yourself having characters out of character simply to jump an obstacle you set up for them, you’re probably doing something wrong.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this writing tip article, please give it a like! If you guys are finding these helpful, I might make more writing tip articles!