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Writing My BestMy dream is to become a writer, and I wondered if anyone on here had any...

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bekkygirl1 | Student, Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted February 14, 2009 at 12:38 PM via web

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Writing My Best

My dream is to become a writer, and I wondered if anyone on here had any techniques to help me write my best. The thing I hate the most about my writing is it seems too choppy, if you understand what I mean. Like I asked, does anyone have any techniques to help me write my very best?

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charcunning | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted February 14, 2009 at 4:58 PM (Answer #2)

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Hello! Glad to see that you like school! Here are a few helpful techniques to help you improve your writing:

1-get a notebook that you can keep with you at all times--you never know when a great idea will strike.

2-buy a high-quality dictionary and thesarus.

3-WRITE EVERYDAY--no matter what...even if it's just a sentence or two.

4-get rid of cliches--if it sounds 'common', get out your thesarus and work to make it more unique.

5-show, don't tell. Instead of saying "I'm sad", figure out how you can show that. "I fell to the floor, tears leaking from my eyes, and just lay there for about an hour until the stabbing in my chest began to subside."  Figure out how to say it just a tad bit differently than anyone has said it before.

6-join a writing group. If you go to meetup.com, you can probably find a local group in your area.

7-get serious about getting published! Take a look at teenink.com--they publish great writing from teenagers all the time!

8-don't let rejection get you down--it comes with the territory--don't take it personally!

Best wishes to you! Writing, for me, is like breathing--I can't live without it!

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cburr | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 14, 2009 at 9:49 PM (Answer #3)

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The best thing is just to write, write, write.  If you can get into a writing group, that would be ideal.  Don't get too hung up on the writing being just what you want.  When you hit on a theme that you really want to work with, that's the time to rework the first draft -- and then rework a few more times!! :-)

Good writing takes work, but what wonderful work!

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bekkygirl1 | Student , Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted February 15, 2009 at 8:22 AM (Answer #4)

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Thank you, guys! I have written two full books, one about 45 pages long, and one about 65 pages long. I am now reworking both of them! Thanks again!

--Rebekkah

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bekkygirl1 | Student , Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted February 15, 2009 at 11:19 AM (Answer #5)

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If any of you teachers have any more advice, please, share it with me! I am very serious about becoming a writer, and I want all the help and advice I can get! So, please, share, share, share!

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 15, 2009 at 5:33 PM (Answer #6)

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Have you read Stephen King's book ON WRITING?  It's really great and has lots of interesting advice.  I have to reiterate what the others have already said as well.  The best thing you can do to further your writing career is to set aside time to write every day.  Keep a journal or notebook of ideas for stories, for character sketches, portions of dialogue you hear in the mall or at the park.  These things will come in handy to stimulate your creativity.  Good Luck!

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 24, 2009 at 12:03 PM (Answer #7)

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I image that you're talking about creative writing; if it's essay related college writing, I would suggest "The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing."  It's a great book and, although it seems like a book that is ONLY about college writing, I think it can help with all your writing.

In addition to the "write, write, write" that has been suggested already, I would add "read, read, read."  I think we learn many things by imitating others who do them well.  You can "watch" what the author is doing, or you can just absorb.  One of my favorite authors is Tim O'Brien ("In the Lake of the Woods").  I know that I have learned some techniques from studying his style.  You can do the same with "The Beast in the Jungle" by Henry James.  His style is very unique, but again can show you some things there may be no other way to learn.  Then there's Hawthorne, Hemingway, Dickens, Fitzgerald ..........

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bekkygirl1 | Student , Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted February 24, 2009 at 6:16 PM (Answer #8)

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I like writing fiction, mostly, and my stepdad is a talented writer himself. I suppose that is why I have such an interest in writing. A lot of my immediate family is in journalism, which inspires me to become a writer. It makes me feel like I have the talent. I am currently working on self-publishing a book of mine. Thanks, everybody!
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sfwriter | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 26, 2009 at 10:46 PM (Answer #9)

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I image that you're talking about creative writing; if it's essay related college writing, I would suggest "The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing."  It's a great book and, although it seems like a book that is ONLY about college writing, I think it can help with all your writing.

In addition to the "write, write, write" that has been suggested already, I would add "read, read, read."  I think we learn many things by imitating others who do them well.  You can "watch" what the author is doing, or you can just absorb.  One of my favorite authors is Tim O'Brien ("In the Lake of the Woods").  I know that I have learned some techniques from studying his style.  You can do the same with "The Beast in the Jungle" by Henry James.  His style is very unique, but again can show you some things there may be no other way to learn.  Then there's Hawthorne, Hemingway, Dickens, Fitzgerald ..........

Agreed, timbrady.  Reading is really the one thing that most writers have in common; the great majority of the best writers read a lot.  Dashiell Hammett, for example, was rumored to have read two books a day while he was ill with tuberculosis.  But bekkygirl1, if you are concerned with the choppiness of your writing, there are probably two good ways to work on it.  The first would be to review in your English textbook, or with a teacher, how to write long sentences with grammatically correct dependent clauses.  This can make the lengths of your sentences almost limitless (although you'd certainly not want to make all of your sentences long -- variety is good!)  The next would be to read writers who have a style which includes long sentences and a great sense of "flow".  Henry James, as #7 post says, is excellent for that, and also Charlotte Bronte.  Jane Eyre is a great book, a good book for beginning writers to read because it is so exciting, and also it gives several lessons on plot development, literary devices, and how to keep a reader engaged.  And Bronte is never choppy!  Even better for Bronte's mature style is her seldom-read Villette, which gives you an idea of how much musicality and information can be packed into one sentence.  A modern writer who has a good sense of rhythm and flow is Junot Diaz.  Read any of his stuff and you'll get the idea.  Best of luck!

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lequam | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 27, 2009 at 6:32 PM (Answer #10)

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One of my favorite books on the writing process is Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones.  This book is not only entertaining to read, but it also gives good insight on how to develop your writing skills and how to become a practiced writer.  Another suggestion that I have for becoming a good writer is to find a genre and a style that you like and an author that writes in that genre and style.  Then, try to imitate his or her writing.  This imitation will help you to develop skills that others have mastered and will begin to help you to find your own voice and style.   

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 14, 2011 at 11:50 AM (Answer #11)

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The best way to improve as a writer is to write.  Then, join a writing club or group.  You can find one online, or you might just join an online group.  Having an audience for your writing, and feedback on it, will bring your writing to the next level.  There is nothing more valuable as a writer than talking to other writers.  You will also learn the ins and outs of publishing this way.

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