How Do I Get Better At The Craft Of Writing?

Ken

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
Joined
Jul 13, 2015
Messages
196
Location
Staten Island, NY
Hey,

It's been a while since I posted on here. I've been writing stories for more than ten years now. While I've definitely gotten better at writing them over the years, it still feels like I could do better. So, how do I get better at the craft of writing?
 

Mr. Hawaii

Space Monkey
space monkey
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
24
you should check out reddit's writing subs. you can get tips and feedback there.
you could start here:
 

Chase

Chieftan
Staff member
tribal-elder
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
3,890
@Ken,

Pick up a copy of Stephen King's On Writing, if you haven't.

I started writing stories as soon as I could draw letters. Wrote a small novel in fourth grade. At 18 I decided to make a concerted effort to write short stories every day to improve my writing and develop my own style.

I hadn't really written much fiction in years when I read through On Writing at about age 32 or 33. I'd mostly just been writing on forums and Girls Chase, adding in non-fiction writing styles. I wrote one novel at age 29 but other than that had done little fiction for quite a while.

After I read through On Writing I came away with a wealth of great ideas and new things to try. Quickly belted out two new novels. Later I went back to working on my scifi saga I cooked up around age 19 and the writing I did for that outclassed anything I've done before. On Writing played a big role in helping me to improve a lot there.

There are also some really excellent writing/character development videos on YouTube that are worth watching. There was a channel I got a lot from a few years back (which I can't now remember, unfortunately). It introduced me to character squares, where you take the four most important characters in the story and place them on a square -- each character mainly interacts with the other two adjacent to him, with his values/goals aligning with some and opposing with others -- as well as to character arcs, which I'd never paid attention to. Got me to writing entire backstories for characters and creating character arcs I wanted to focus on.

Also useful to think about distinctive character traits: flaws, shortcomings, skewed perspectives they have on the world, and so on. Makes your characters a lot more fleshed out, and not just carbon copies of the same one character reskinned to look different or have a slightly different backstory or purpose. The different characters' different ways of viewing the world tend to lead them into a lot of natural conflicts as you write, and the interesting thing about most writing is the conflict (within the character, with other characters, with the environment, etc.).

Chase
 

James D

Space Monkey
space monkey
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Messages
142
@Ken,

Pick up a copy of Stephen King's On Writing, if you haven't.

I started writing stories as soon as I could draw letters. Wrote a small novel in fourth grade. At 18 I decided to make a concerted effort to write short stories every day to improve my writing and develop my own style.

I hadn't really written much fiction in years when I read through On Writing at about age 32 or 33. I'd mostly just been writing on forums and Girls Chase, adding in non-fiction writing styles. I wrote one novel at age 29 but other than that had done little fiction for quite a while.

After I read through On Writing I came away with a wealth of great ideas and new things to try. Quickly belted out two new novels. Later I went back to working on my scifi saga I cooked up around age 19 and the writing I did for that outclassed anything I've done before. On Writing played a big role in helping me to improve a lot there.

There are also some really excellent writing/character development videos on YouTube that are worth watching. There was a channel I got a lot from a few years back (which I can't now remember, unfortunately). It introduced me to character squares, where you take the four most important characters in the story and place them on a square -- each character mainly interacts with the other two adjacent to him, with his values/goals aligning with some and opposing with others -- as well as to character arcs, which I'd never paid attention to. Got me to writing entire backstories for characters and creating character arcs I wanted to focus on.

Also useful to think about distinctive character traits: flaws, shortcomings, skewed perspectives they have on the world, and so on. Makes your characters a lot more fleshed out, and not just carbon copies of the same one character reskinned to look different or have a slightly different backstory or purpose. The different characters' different ways of viewing the world tend to lead them into a lot of natural conflicts as you write, and the interesting thing about most writing is the conflict (within the character, with other characters, with the environment, etc.).

Chase
@Chase Curious about your thoughts on traditional publishing vs self publishing when it comes to fiction?
 

Mike Silvertree

Chieftan
Staff member
tribal-elder
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
286
Location
A long time ago
In addition to the other advice you got above, write.

I was terrible at writing in 1996 when I first went online. Within a week, I found the Indianapolis Star News sports forum, which had a forum dedicated to IndyCar Racing, something that had been a passion of mine since I was a young man, back when the age of the roadster was giving way to the age of the mid-engine F1 style car. (Early 1960s) That was just when the IndyCar Civil War boiled over, and I was highly partisan on the side of the team owners. In the following 5 years I made 10,000 posts there and another 10,000 at another forum dedicated to the same topic.

Writing 10-12 posts a day, and getting into knock down, drag out fights really improved my writing, much more than the years I served in school. I learned to to say it in the fewest, most effective words, so I could get my point across. I improved because I wanted to sell my viewpoint.

Find something you are passionate about and start writing about it on a venue where you will get pushback.
 
Top