Writing Tips (2)

Hey fellow bloggers!  This is my second writing tips post.  You can look at my last one here.  Alright, let’s get to it.

First I’m going to discuss the overuse of writing phrases.  What do I mean by writing phrases?  When I say writing phrases I’m talking about this.  “She ran her hands through her hair.”  “He swallowed thickly.”  “She dug her fingernails into her hands.”  Now these phrases are perfectly fine to use in your writing, but IN MODERATION.  As a writer, we need to diversify and not use the same words and phrases over and over again.  Overusing the same words and phrases continually will grate on your readers nerves, and maybe cause them to have trouble reading your work.

What I do to make sure that I use different phrases is read articles and books about body language.  It helps me to find new ways to describe what my characters are doing in certain situations.  For example: When a person is angry they may put their hands on their hips, get a red face, or stick out their jaw.  Another example is when a person is nervous they may chew on the inside of their mouth, unclasp and clasp their hands together, fidget, or pace.  Now, the key is to not be repetitive.

Second piece of advice for the day is to use concise words to avoid wordiness and breaks in the flow of your writing.  For example: “each separate chair was placed” can be changed to “each chair was placed”.  Also, “Dashed quickly” can be changed to just “dashed” because in of itself dashed means to run quickly so adding the quickly after dashed just makes for a wordy sentence.  Another example is changing “she is a woman who is” to just “she is”.  Way less words with the same meaning.

Third and last piece of advice for the day is to use less tags (she said/he said) in your dialogue.  Using too many of these tags will break up your story and bring attention to the reader that there is an author.  Readers want to be immersed in the story and feel like they are really there when they read a novel.  So instead of tags, try identifying the speaker by showing their action.

For example (1): “I can’t believe that you did that,” Zoey said, crossing her arms in frustration.

“You wouldn’t understand,” Chase said.  He turned away, refusing to meet her eyes.

Now let’s take a look at the same dialogue without the use of dialogue tags.

For example (2): “I can’t believe that you did that.” Zoey crossed her arms.

“You wouldn’t understand.” Chase turned away, refusing to meet her eyes.

(Notice that I also took out the phrase “in frustration”.  The reader will infer that Zoey is frustrated because she is crossing her arms.  Adding “in frustration” causes the sentence to be wordy.)  Now doesn’t the second version flow better?

Well, that’s all until next time!  Thanks for reading:)

~Nightsong

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