Dear Editor: Any Writing Advice for a Newbie?

—(Originally appeared in Publishers Weekly)— Veteran editor and BookWorks founder and CEO, Betty Kelly Sargent, is back with the answer to another reader question, sent in from a newbie author seeking writing advice… Dear Editor: I’m just getting started with my writing career. Any suggestions? —Alex Good Writing Can Be Learned Most writers are made,… [Read More]

Dear Editor: writing advice for newbies by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com

—(Originally appeared in Publishers Weekly)—

Dear Editor: writing advice for newbies by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.comVeteran editor and BookWorks founder and CEO, Betty Kelly Sargent, is back with the answer to another reader question, sent in from a newbie author seeking writing advice...

Dear Editor:

I’m just getting started with my writing career. Any suggestions?
—Alex

Good Writing Can Be Learned

Most writers are made, not born. If you are just starting out as an author, or even if you’ve been at it for a while, there are lots of things you can do to make your prose better. Here are a few tips:Dear Editor: writing advice for newbies by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com

Write the way you talk—especially with nonfiction. Clear, easy to understand, unforced is always the way to go. Don’t use the same word (verb, noun, adverb, or adjective) more than once in a sentence or paragraph. True, Hemingway once used the word sad four or five times in the same paragraph, but he was Hemingway. Use the active voice, not the passive: instead of “Staying up late is often difficult for me,” try “I have a hard time staying up late.” Be specific rather than general: replace “Sally likes luxury” with “Sally likes Hermès bags, Porthault sheets, and Brunello wine.”Dear Editor: writing advice for newbies by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com

When you quote someone, use said, rather than criedexclaimedyelledshoutedsnortedsniffledsmiled, or frowned. As Helen Gurley Brown wrote in The Writer’s Rules, “nobody ever smiles or frowns a sentence.” Avoid clichés entirely unless you are using them in dialogue because that’s the way your character would talk.Dear Editor: writing advice for newbies by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com

Solid Writing Advice to Build Your Skills and Confidence

Of course, there are exceptions to these rules. But until you have really found your voice and feel completely comfortable with your own style, these are pretty good guidelines to follow.Dear Editor: writing advice for newbies by Betty Kelly Sargent for BookWorks.com


If you haven't seen the new version of BookWorks, please check us out for more great content like this and join our community of indie authors, editors, coaches, designers, marketers, bloggers and other self-publishing pros.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you are not a SPAM robot by answering the simple question below: *

 

Get Connnected From The BW Author Community


Our Partners

Partner