Seeing to the overall user engagement at my last post: “Writing 101 – What Makes a Good Writer”, I felt encouraged to go further with the epic task. This article is in continuation with previous one that I just linked above. Hence, I politely ask you to move your butt to the old post, in order to better grasp the concepts.

a writer appears to fix his typewriter while sitting in his office

Anyways, it begins from this point onwards…

Writers are innocent beings. Most of them are freelancers, journalists, newspaper columnists and God knows what else. Us writers only have a pen and paper to express ourselves. We use words; sometimes they’re harsh and railroad a lot of influential people (words can topple a regime!). Sometimes our words are encouraging. At times, we write novels and use perfect sentence structure that’d be enough to give new life to Frankenstein.

Yep, while we’re writing something phenomenal, a surge of electricity tingles down our spines. We share it, we feel it and we bask in its ambience. In short, the writers’ lot has to go through many obstacles (ain’t life always like this?). Since I already mentioned earlier that some of us don’t share the “secrets” of effective writing – I’m here to share ‘em with you.

First off, there are no secrets. Yes, there’re methods and practices which you’ll have to follow to make yourself better. But secrets? Nay, if there were any, I can assure you that they lie buried within the dusty recesses of Andy Worhol and Leo Tolstoy’s minds. All I have is a number of tips that are appended below.

  • Contractions:
    • What are contractions? In technical terms, a “contraction” is a phenomenon when something shortens up – either by hook or by crook. Many a times, words are a game of using and implementing contractions. Editors and proofreaders love contracting words and sentences. Take a look at some examples:
      • Word Contraction:
  1. We are going to the park => We’re going to the park.
  2. Love them; hate them => Love ‘em; hate ‘em.
  3. You are not going anywhere => You’re not going anywhere OR You’re not goin’ anywhere.
  4. This will fix you I promise => This’ll fix you, I promise.

In the above example, I tried to elaborate the word contraction phenomenon. Notice that two words were shortened to give the impression of one word. If you’re trying to write in American style, just keep your blog or article in a conversational flow. Also, example “d” uses a comma was inserted right after the word “you”.

Ian McEwan photographed while sitting next to his typewiter

Sentence Types:

  • Parenthetical Sentences: Already mentioned in the Writing 101 post, but I’ll explain it again. Parenthetical sentences implement the deliverance of two details in one sentence.
    • Example: Tom is a native from Iowa who likes to draw comics.
      • Tom, an Iowan native, likes to draw comics. (Notice that in the absence of “an Iowan native”, “Tom” and “Likes to draw comics” makes sense. Proofreaders check this thing critically!!! Do NOT use this technique repeatedly in long sentences. It’ll make them stringy.
  • Balanced Sentences: As the name suggests, it’s the art of balancing two ideas or two terms in a sentence perfectly – Sort of like an Ice vs. water combo. You should use the parallel structure formation at this point.
    • It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. (Very famous example)
  • Loose/ Incomplete Sentences: Don’t leave your sentences in the naked. Give them clothes to wear and a complete look as well.
    • He needs the money. ————— X————– (No mention of why, when, where)
      • He needs the money to build a building. (Okay)
      • Because he’s trapped in a debt spiral, he needs the money. (Okay)

A good writer always tries to deliver or express his thoughts through complete sentences. I did leave out one or two other types of sentences. Just want you to search the internet. Come up with more tutorials on your own. Trust me, it will help you.

Don’t rape your sentences by using “And” … repeatedly:will i ever go beyong shitty first drafts

  • When you’re writing something, DON’T use the “and” word frequently to connect the sentences. Your reader will get lost in the pool of expression that you’re trying to come up with. He or she will have no idea where and how your sentence started. If you want to convey a long message, just break the sentence into two or three parts.
  • There are times when writers use 50 or more words to write one sentence. They have their own writing style, which is the only reason for their sentence to be clear. However, abusive use of “and” will make you a lingerer. You’ll be craving “and” like anything. The same application goes towards the excessive use of “So”.

Proper use of “.”:

  • The proper use of period, full stop, dot or “.” Is also important. I’m talking in the context of highlighting a situation of silence, grief or something that leaves a thought provoking situation. As per the proper English writing guidelines, USE 3 Dots to emphasize anything you want to.
    • We heard her screams in the cold of the night…
    • “We haven’t talked in ages…”
    • Read on…
    • And then there was silence all over…

Make your sentences active:

tennessee williams photo - associated press

  • Use active voice in your sentences, rather than sticking to the passive one. What’s the harm of writing “He stuck his fingers in Jenny’s throat?” The passive version of this sentence is this, “His fingers were stuck in Jenny’s throat by him”. Likewise, “He shut the door”, is a lot better than “The door was shut by him”.
    • The active sentence strategy is based on actions. Product marketers use this technique to make their readers follow them. Aren’t you compelled by the “Do it Now” sort of sentences. They’re far better than “This thing is done by millions of people”.
    • Feel free to replace Fingers and Jenny’s Throat with different things on your own! 😉 – A good practice for guys.

Here comes a big confession to you all: I use passive voice in my tech and news articles. First off, I do this deliberately because I am aware of it, and it’s something that I can change anytime I want to. It’s sort of a requirement to implement continuity in a news posts’ style.

  • Why do I use it?
    • Go to different news websites and look for passive voice sentences. You’ll find millions.
    • News media does it in order to sound more effective. It’s their style and at times, it looks really bad.
    • You can also look up passive sentences in the newspapers, editorial columns and cheap children books.

Stephen King’s Example –

  • The body was carried from the kitchen and placed on the sofa. (WRONG)
  • Freddy and Myra carried the body out of the kitchen and laid it on the parlor sofa. (CORRECT)

Passive sentences are at their worst when the writer isn’t aware of them. He keeps on using them, while making his or her writing less effective everyday.

(Practice Exercise for You:

Pick up different articles and convert them into active voice. The process will help you.)

i have got so many ideas to talk about right now

The epic confusion about “Which” and “That”:

  • Startup writers, especially foreign startup writers (Indians, Pakistanis, Latin and Chinese – It could be anyone. I don’t intend to offend anyone), misuse “which” and “that” a lot.
    • To put it in a nutshell, “That” is used when you’re referring to something SPECIFIC.
    • “Which” is used when you’re referring to something in general.
      • This is the knife THAT the murderer used.

Implementation of “Which” and “That” in a dialogue:

  • Jack: “Hey Laura, did you get the documents yesterday”?
  • Laura: (Pursing her lips), “No, WHICH ones are you talking about?”
  • Jack: “The blah blah blah reports on blah blah?”
  • Laura: “Oh, That one? Yeah, I did get them.”

The law of vocabulary according to Stephen King:

  • Stephen King has always given second or slightly degraded priority to vocabulary. To him, you’re better off writing the first word, which comes to your mind. He wrote down in his book: “On Writing”;
    • Use the first word that comes to your mind. You do need to increase your vocabulary, but if “Jack wants to take a shit”, let him take it. If you want to write it in a delicate manner, use “Jack went out for a little bit of “pushing”.”

But he also wrote down that vocabulary is crucial to your sense of expression. It is an important tool, which needs constant and timely attention. You can and should improve your vocabulary through READING as many books as you can.

The big question still hangs in the balance:

i keep thinking but no words come out on paper

My fellow online writers, I need you to read these questions carefully. When you go to bed, think about them and answer them on your own…

  • Do you want to be a low level writer?
  • Do you want to slave for pennies for the rest of your life?
  • After polishing your writing skills, are you still going to be at the bottom of the food chain?
  • Is writing 200, 300 or 500 word articles on the internet every day. IS this what your whole life is about?
  • Don’t you want to be a real aspiring “writer”? Someone like J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Stephen King, Sydney Sheldon?

A real “writer” takes a long time, an age in the making. There’re tons and tons of writers on the internet. 89% of them keep on working for OTHER PEOPLE. They don’t know what there is to writing, except for the fact that they want to earn. You can head over to Elance.Com, Digital Point Forums, or oDesk and see it for yourself.

The online world, as we know it, is full of writers. I wouldn’t call them actual writers because through repetitive nature of their job, they damage their creativity. They harness their thinking process and can’t move ahead in the food chain. Do you want to be that guy or a girl, who starts the day with 5, 10 or 15 re-writes, original articles and website content?

Of course, you have liabilities. Maybe you want to support your family. Maybe you want to save enough to diversify your business. Maybe you DON’T know that there’s more to writing than craving $1 content production. If you can stop your current writing routines, I’d rather let you take some time off.

  • Download books about writing techniques.
  • Download screenwriting software and drama writing stuff.
  • Download movie scripts and e-Novels from the internet.
    • Now, take a day off once in a week. Read that novel, notice the writing style and continue doing this stuff.
    • Your task is to increase your productivity. You NEED to be a well-known writer. Don’t you want the whole world to know you? Don’t you want newspapers and readers to await your next best book anxiously? Don’t you want to get paid heavily on “per word” basis?

Get to know that Cup ‘O Coffee:

Actor Bradley Cooper in one of the scenes from Limitless

  • At the time of this post, I’m on my 5th Cup of Coffee. Been writing for 14 hours now, and I normally take coffee when I’m in the middle of something important. Today, I took it for you guys! So you better learn something from this post J Don’t get addicted to it, because my 5 cups only had one spoon of that black mineral. But you need coffee because it’ll make you super active.
  • With coffee and practice, your typing speed will be amazing. It’s sort like of taking that pill, which “Bradley Cooper” took in the “Limitless” movie trailer. Do watch the trailer; it fits your profession because you’re a WRITER! 🙂

Reading, writing, practicing and expanding your vision, will help you a lot. Trust me, if you want to be there on the top, you have to be willing to. Will yourself to do it. Don’t wait for the change to happen, implement change NOW.

In my next post, I’ll talk about ethics of online business for employers and employees.

Listen to music when revising articles. Love yourself, love your writing and stay tuned for more tutorials…