How to improve writing skills?

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Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:44 pm Post

What do you do to improve your writing skills?

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Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:33 pm Post

Read -- analytically.
You should judge people not by how close they get to the top, but by how far they have come from the bottom. Some people have a mountain to climb just to get to the place where others start out. (Me, 2010)

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Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:41 pm Post

Write, a lot.

You learn something by training. If you want to learn to write, write a lot, and then read what you’ve written.
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Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:28 pm Post

Read a lot.

Write a lot.

Classes can help, but primarily because they (1) force you to actually write things and (2) ensure that you'll get feedback on what you've written.

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Jolanth Szatmary
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:08 am Post

I like doing some experimental stuff from time to time:

- if you touch type: turn the screen brightness all the way down and type a chapter without seeing what you're writing. Results can be interesting.

- Go to to a place that is the opposite of what you usually need for writing. If you need a quiet room, go to a busy café and try to concentrate against the distraction.

- Set yourself rules for your writing project, you could, for instance, assign each character in your story to a figure on a chess board. Characters can only meet if they are able to meet on the chess board, too. If a pawn needs to get out of the way, you'll have to »move« this character first (i.e. write about them). Just a silly idea I once tried out.

Other than that: Write, write, write. And watch your style evolve.

Good luck!


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Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:48 am Post

Everyone's already covered the basics: read a lot, write a lot. Even if it's just emails, you're honing your writing skills each time your fingers start that magical keyboard dance.

In addition to what's already been suggested I'd add the great spectator sport of people watching. On the job, on public transportation, at home with the family, at the supermarket, whatever. One can pick up all sorts of useful tidbits to build characters with just by watching one's fellow humans.

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Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:10 pm Post

Good advice given so far. My addition to it - I joined a writing group where every member is at various stages of writing their novels (multiple genres). Every few weeks you send them a chapter, they read it and then at the meeting they tell you their critique.

I've learnt a lot from correcting some basic punctuation mistakes that are ingrained in me (ongoing process) to learning to take criticism. It's not a simple process of course. What the other members say is not necessarily correct. As the writer you have to sift through all of the suggestions and determine which you are going to take on. That is outrageously difficult (imo), yet also a great learning opportunity for me.