Showing posts with label craft of writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craft of writing. Show all posts

Word Choice Matters


Word Choice Matters
Sentences Build Paragraphs 

by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Writers need to develop a strong vocabulary for building up the many facets of storytelling and article writing. Word lists of favorite, unusual, fun sounding words to compose a selected topic helps. Test the flow of sounds and experiment using some for creativity in your next piece. Expand your reading collection with classical, by-gone authors, to become familiar with how they expressed dialogue and scenes in their day, or lyrical stories and poems. Jot down words of interest. Note them in your Commonplace book, and create a collage of word pictures to describe scenes.

Enlarging your vocabulary with lively and interesting expressions, and writing like your natural speaking voice, is engaging. It’s a good way to empower your articles or poems.
Just write, remembering we always follow with revision and polish to honor clarity and communicate well with readers.

My Commonplace book includes a long word list of random words I’ve noticed while reading—including ones I am not familiar with, seeming unique, especially in the way used. These can be a welcome addition to my usual; for example; sweet Elysium (paradise), rose-colored visions, desecration, petitions, syncopation, provincial, and sexton.  You might also, choose topical words for particular projects, such as tranquility, shelter, botanical or courage.
Try it. You’re sure to be inspired!

Writers Read!

Sentences Build Paragraphs:
Effective communication elements: Clarity, Coherence, Control, and Credibility are key.
Points to Consider:
1.    Clarity—Help your reader by telling them where you are going, the information you plan to present, and offer your conclusion.
2.    The three-part paragraph structure gives a map for topic, development & resolution.
3.    Coherence—Paragraphs help to contain your thoughts. You may have several points in a paragraph, but in a unifying theme, each sentence supports that focal point.
4.    A natural, coherent flow to a paragraph begins with the first sentence; so, reorder the sentences of your paragraph if needed. A logical order of things leads to what comes next.
5.    Control—You are in control of the pace of your piece. Use paragraphical emphasis: longer is slower, shorter is faster.
6.    Credibility results from several things: language, knowledge of the subject, word choice, and your writer’s voice.
7.    The better you know your audience, the more successful you will be in delivering your information.

Write Sentences
Think in Paragraphs

Revision & Polish Tips:
1.    Keep the focus, the theme, of the piece consistent throughout,
2.    Sentence structure: a subject—a noun or pronoun, and a predicate/verb that explains what the subject is doing,
3.    Use nouns rather than adjectives and remove over used adjectives such as very,
4.    Verbs are where the action is—choose strong ones,
5.    Avoid adverbs that diminish the strength of a sentence.
6.    Vary sentence length within the piece.
7.    Make it personal and professional, convey the message, be specific.

Helpful Tools:
Melissa Donovan’s 10 Core Practices for Better Writing

Mastering the Craft of Writing by Stephen Wilbers 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at:   
Visit her caregiver’s website:

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:

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Different Types of Writing


by Mindy Lawrence

When someone discovers you’re a writer, the first thing they ask is what books you’ve published. Novels are one form of writer but not the only type by any means. All forms of writing are valid. A journalist is not less important than a novelist. Neither is a business writer less important than an essayist. Each type of writing has its reasons to be. Each type of writing has its goal.

Here are five types of writing with an example for each:

Narrative Writing
James Baldwin reflects on his life as a Black man in early- to mid-twentieth-century America with his narrative essays. He tells about the way he was brought up, where, and what it looked and felt like.

“Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin
“Harlem, physically at least, has changed very little in my parents’ lifetime or in mine. Now as then the buildings are old and in desperate need of repair, the streets are crowded and dirty, there are too many human beings per square block.”

Immediately there is the visualization of a place that is crowded and untended. In just a few words, Baldwin shows us the whole of Harlem at that time.

Descriptive Writing
In descriptive writing, a writer tries to paint a word picture of an event or a place. In this piece, Joyce Carol Oates describes an upper New York classroom.

"Inside District School #7, Niagara County, New York"
by Joyce Carol Oates
"Inside, the school smelled smartly of varnish and wood smoke from the potbellied stove. On gloomy days, not unknown in upstate New York in this region south of Lake Ontario and east of Lake Erie, the windows emitted a vague, gauzy light, not much reinforced by ceiling lights. We squinted at the blackboard, that seemed far away since it was on a small platform, where Mrs. Dietz's desk was also positioned, at the front, left of the room. We sat in rows of seats, smallest at the front, largest at the rear, attached at their bases by metal runners, like a toboggan; the wood of these desks seemed beautiful to me, smooth and of the red-burnished hue of horse chestnuts. The floor was bare wooden planks. An American flag hung limply at the far left of the blackboard and above the blackboard, running across the front of the room, designed to draw our eyes to it avidly, worshipfully, were paper squares showing that beautifully shaped script known as Parker Penmanship."

Persuasive Writing
Persuasive writing shares information or attempts to entertain or persuade. They are closely related to argumentative essays. It attempts to persuade a person to a certain point of view. Click the link for a sample.

Expository Writing
Expository writing Is nonfiction. It explains a topic logically without emotion or opinion. The writer assumes that the reader has little or no information on the topic so must make the reader aware. Types of expository essays include: Cause and Effect Essay, Problem and Solution Essay, Comparison and Contrast Essay, Definition Essay, Classification Essay and Process Essay.

Sample Expository Essay on the Silk Road:

Creative Writing
Creative writing includes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Here’s an example from The Hobbit.

The Hobbit
J.R.R Tolkien
“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

Review Writing
Aside from these forms of writing, there is also Review Writing. It’s a combination of descriptive, objective, and subjective writing designed to let readers know if they are interested in a particular book, author. It also can be the review of a product to interest an individual to buy or not buy it.

In book reviews, A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book. It will offer an evaluation of the  work. It will also offer a recommendation for the audience.

Kirkus Reviews: The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (Excerpt)

“An extremely powerful story of a young Southern Negro, from his late high school days through three years of college to his life in Harlem.

His early training prepared him for a life of humility before white men, but through injustices- large and small, he came to realize that he was an "invisible man". People saw in him only a reflection of their preconceived ideas of what he was, denied his individuality, and ultimately did not see him at all. This theme, which has implications far beyond the obvious racial parallel, is skillfully handled…”

Read the type of writing you are interested in and learn from it. Keep on writing!

LINKS to helpful information:
5 Types of Writing Styles,

Different Types of Writing, Different

10 Different Types of Writing styles: Which One Do You Enjoy, Software Testing

6 Persuasive Writing Strategies, Grammarly

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can Teach Us About Persuasion, YouTube

17 Review Example to Help you Write the Perfect Review. Reedsy Discovery

Mindy Lawrence is a writer, ghost blogger, and artist based in Farmington, Missouri. She worked for the State of Missouri for over 24 years and moved to Farmington in 2020.

She proofread the Sharing with Writers newsletter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and wrote “An Itty-Bitty Column on Writing” there for ten years. She has been published in Writers' Digest magazine and interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered.

Become an Author - 5 Basic Rules

It may seem like becoming an author today is a no-brainer. You just write something, get it up on Kindle, and you’re an author.

Well, that’s true, but I wouldn’t consider you an author. And, neither would any other experienced author. And, chances are, if you get any readers, they wouldn’t call you an author either.

To be an author, you need to create a quality book.

You need to write a story that’s well written, that’s engaging, and that you can be proud to have your name on. Before this can happen, you need to have some knowledge of what you’re doing.

Below are five fundamental rules for ‘new to the arena’ authors.
1. Learn the craft of writing.

Even seasoned writers are always honing their skills.

You can take online courses or classes. You can enroll in college classes. You can read, read, read books on writing. And, just as important, you should read books in the genre you want to write.

Tip: Don’t read exclusively in that genre, read in a number of genres, but focus on the genre you want to write in.

In addition, there are many writing blogs that offer great tips on the craft of writing. Take advantage of them.

Tip2: Learning the craft of writing includes learning how to self-edit your work.

2. Join a critique group and writing groups with new and experienced writers.

Even seasoned writers have trouble finding the trouble spots in their own stories. For this reason, you must belong to a writing group and critique group.

Critique groups see what you don’t. They spot: holes in your story, areas where you’re lacking clarity, grammatical errors, and so much more.

It’s essential to have your story critiqued or edited before you submit it for publication. This includes self-publishing. Just because you’re by-passing the publishing house gatekeepers, doesn’t mean you can forego having a polished story.

3. If you can afford it, work with a writing coach.

This really does make a difference. You get answers to all your questions, along with guidance and advice. Just be sure the coach knows her business.

There are lots and lots of people claiming to have the ability to teach you the ropes. Check them out first, before paying them. A good way to find reputable writing coaches is to ask other experienced writers.

4 Learn about marketing and book promotion.

Yep, this is a requirement of being an author. Even if you’re traditionally published, you’ll need to know the book marketing ropes. Look at heavy-hitter James Patterson’s TV commercials. He knows he has to market his own books.

Obviously, most of us can’t afford TV commercials, but if do online searches, you'll find many free articles, webinars, online classes, and avenues for instruction on how to promote and market your books. Take advantage of them.

The internet is severely overcrowded. There are thousands, more likely millions, of authors trying to sell their books. This means you need an edge. You need knowledge. You need something that will bring you to the forefront, or at least close to it.

Tip: If you’re thinking of hiring a service to help with your book marketing, be sure they’re reputable and know what they’re doing. Ask questions, such as:

- What’s the total cost?
- What distribution outlets will they use?
- Are press releases included? If so, which ones will be used?
- How long will the campaign last?
- What type of social media promotion do they use?

In other words, find out exactly what you’re paying for. And, ask around if anyone knows of them and if they’re reputable.

5. Pay it forward.

Help other writers who are starting out. Okay, I know this isn't a prerequisite to becoming an author, but it should be.

Established authors have always taken the time to help other writers. I’ve benefited from this and now I do the same. I even created a blog with other experienced authors and we share writing and marketing tips. You can check it out at Writers on the Move,

Then, what you learn, pass along.

These are five of the basic elements of becoming an author. I hope they help you reach your writing goals.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and a working children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. You can find out more about writing for children and her services at: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children. Check out the DIY Page!

And, check out my new picture book: The Case of the Plastic Rings – The Adventures of Planetman


Writing Secret to Getting Ahead

Building a Story Pitch

Publishing on Amazon: File Size vs Pricing

Writing a Novel? Try This!

Write It With Research

Write It With Research

We strengthen our writing by using descriptive details with specificity and authentic topics. Thus, we enter the zone of building our research and descriptive skills.

Observation skills are essential for every writer. Attentiveness leads to relatable writing.
Research assists observation gathering:

-Need to expand your topic with more details of interest?
-Lacking information for a particular project?
-Keep looking. Search books, magazines, articles and pose questions to a group of writers.
-Consistently qualify the sources you rely on.

Topical ideas can help guide your research and launch a story or essay:
1)    Current affairs compared to times and seasons of human history.
       a.    Transportation, information technology, art history
2)    Social issues to champion.
       a.    Children and music
       b.    Young and older exploring art through painting
3)    Present day hero’s—caring for others
       a.    A four-year-old boy that saves his Mom by dialing 911 for help
       b.    First Responders
4)    Unusual aspirations
       a.    A young girl dreams about auto racing and ultimately finds a way to do it
       b.    A hiker journeys the length of the Pacific Crest Trail

Have more Ideas? Please leave a comment.

Use life experiences?—add research:

    Can you pull a short period-of-time, like a move or relocation, or an event? Build on it by researching applicable situations of others.

•    Is the setting a place you have traveled or lived?

    Describe a scene in real time to bring your reader along for the ride, or use time-travel noting the differences of lighting, travel, rural or urban, and geography.

•    Is the scene at the shore of an ocean or lake resort? What are the sounds there? What did you buy for lunch, hot dogs smothered with chili? Describe how it tastes. Did you watch children chasing waves coming and going? Was it hot or rainy? How does the water feel? Slimy, muddy or clean?

Boost your descriptive writing with these elements:
•    Use detail to express areas of importance; big picture, specific purpose, or differentiation,
•    Use words that are vibrant, essential, and focused,
•    Use metaphors, similes, and comparisons to tell the story,
•    Use sense words to articulate a picture,
•    Stay on point and write with clarity and economy

Post links in this series—Descriptive Writing for Fiction and Non-Fiction:
1)    Make it Personable & Tangible:
2)    Make it Realistic:
3)    Make it with Specificity:

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her writer’s website at:  
Visit her caregiver’s website and read the Mom & Me memoir at:
Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer

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Using Personality Typologies to Build Your Characters

  Contributed by Margot Conor People often have asked me how I build such varied and interesting character profiles. I’m fond of going into ...