Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #writingtips

Most recents (12)



The writing component of the IELTS exam is designed to assess how you “write a response appropriately, organise ideas and use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately. It comprises two tasks and candidates have 60 minutes to answer them".
Candidates usually dread the writing test, which is an understandable feeling because writing isn’t something you can self-study and any progress can only be marked by a teacher.
For those who aren’t confident with their English abilities, it can cause anxiety as this test demands precision in terms of grammar, vocabulary used and cohesiveness between sentences.
Read 6 tweets
"Omit needless words," say Strunk & White. But how do we know what's needless? To give us all another break from virus news, here are four #writingtips on finding needless words, best used while self-editing drafts. 1/6
1. Review prepositions. If you snip one (of, for, from, etc.) you likely take other words with it. Even cutting just one word makes copy tighter. "Tariffs barred dairy products from Canada" can become "Tariffs barred Canadian dairy products." 2/6
2. Review verbs. Changing passive voice to active voice generally shortens a sentence by about a third. So unless it messes up your meaning, turn "The man was devoured by the lion" into "The lion devoured the man." 3/6
Read 6 tweets
Harry Potter movies on TV all weekend brought to mind #writingtips from “Sorcerer’s Stone” about word order. The great writing coach Jim Hayes told me sentences should end with gusto. As Jim put it, “Put the best stuff at the end.” A key sentence in “Stone” does just that. 1/4
Near the end of the novel, Hagrid gives Harry a book of wizard photographs (remember, they move). J.K. Rowling describes what Harry sees: “Smiling and waving at him from every page were his mother and father.” It’s a moving passage—made me misty-eyed. Why? Word order. 2/4
That line packs a wallop because it ends with “mother and father.” What if she had written, “His mother and father smiled and waved at him from every page”? Stronger verb, but it’s not as powerful because it ends with “page.” Good self-editing habit: review sentence endings. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
Let's again set aside grim news for writing. I got a request for #writingtips on avoiding passive voice, so here's a full-proof method I learned in college. First, reminders. Passive voice: "The bill was passed by Congress." Active: "Congress passed the bill." 1/5
Turning passive to active is easy, so when writing your first draft DON'T WORRY about whether it's active or passive. Nail down your ideas and facts. That's the most important thing in writing--the meaning. 2/5
Next: highlight all forms of "to be," such as "is," "was," "were," etc. Circling words on a printout works well, but so does putting them in bold on your screen. Now the key step: rewrite the sentence eliminating the highlighted word. 3/5
Read 5 tweets
Dialogue should sound like everyday speech without it being boring like everyday speech. Every word should do double or triple duty in conveying character's traits, desires (what they want in scene) but without saying it outright. Dialogue needs to dance around the subject.
Dialogue must feel natural while being highly stylized. It should be nuanced/subtle but chock full of meaning.

The best dialogue is conversational and yet carries characters and plot forward in a powerful current--so it must be objectively goals-based (what the character wants)
& must be subjectively artistically rendered--not simply be on the nose.

Good dialogue is going to be words you can IMAGINE people saying in real life if they were always their best versions of themselves.
Read 11 tweets
For my #WordRace today I started a Post-it plan of my novel so far. Because so many people are home and maybe working on a creative project or finding it hard to concentrate, I’ll share my famous* Post-it planning method! #AmWriting #WritingTips (Thread) 1/

I do this at all stages of my novel, both drafting & editing, for different purposes. Today I’m at ~70k words in my first draft and I need to plan my ending. I want it to be satisfying & relevant to the rest of my book. But I started writing back in August! I can’t remember. 2/
I don’t want to go back and read the whole thing; I’d start fiddling and editing and changing and that’s not what I need to do right now. What I need is an overview of what happens, the important events & characters & themes, so I can use that knowledge to plan the rest. 3/
Read 16 tweets
Woke up so ready to get back to writing! I’m definitively finishing this sub-section today, but I would be thrilled to make major progress into the next sub-section too. Knowing how long this main body section (with 3 sub-sections) will be helps figure out the shape of the rest.
Current shape of the chapter is a beefy intro, a big body section with 3 sub-sections & then either a smaller section then a conclusion, or I move the ideas for that smaller section into the book conclusion & go straight into the chapter conclusion when I finish this section.
A lot of folks who have read my first book, #BodymindsReimagined, have commented on how clearly organized/presented the writing & argument is in it. That’s meaningful to me bc I spend A LOT of time working on chapter structure. The order & style of presenting an argument matters!
Read 10 tweets
Coincidence - your readers accept that one big coincidence that's part of your story's premise. Your protagonist just happened to be at Location X when Antagonist Y did Event Z.

Okay, cool.

That gets things rolling. That's why you have a story. But other coincidences that you MUST have to make your story work, those will annoy the hell out of your readers.

"Oh, Iron Man needs to repair his suit. The first building he checks has a fully equipped garage!"

"Oh, there just happened to be a steel-cutting saw in a kitchen drawer."

"Oh, she just happened to overhear a vitally important conversation."

"Oh, he just happened to have a friend that can hack into FBI computers."

Read 6 tweets
It's been 3 years since my first blog. I remember how terrified I was to hit "publish" on my first #blog post. Unleashing my words into the worldwide web was a scary thought. What if people hated my writing? Or worse, what if the article had mistakes? (1/5) #writingtips #SciComm
Importantly, this was supposed to be my first step towards transitioning into a career in #sciencewriting- a field that was a complete black box to my family and friends. Needless to say, everyone, including myself, was skeptical. (2/5)
Anyways, I tried, and learned 2 things over the years. 1) My writing didn't (positively or negatively) break the internet. At it's best and worst, readers moved on with their lives. (3/5)
Read 5 tweets

I get asked for writing tips a lot. Of all the ones I’ve given, here are a few of the ones that seem to hold true and remain somewhat universal or at least mostly unobjectionable:

#amwriting #writingtips
1. If you are a fast writer (i.e., if you compose first drafts very quickly) then you absolutely must become a slow editor. Much of what I call “writing” is really, for me, editing.
2. If you don’t read you cannot write a lot or well. Sure, maybe you can read like a maniac for a decade and then read less after that, but without some large volume of intake, there will never be a meaningful output.
Read 19 tweets
Strap in, #amquerying and #amwriting Twitter! Time for some primo, uncut #writingtips from an agent.

Something I've been thinking about this week wrt a particular type of #nonfiction book proposal:

The one structured around Examples Of A Phenomenon.

For these, first proposal draft submitted to me is usually structrd such that 1 chapter = 1 example.

Intro: This book seeks to answer the eternal question "what is a sandwich"
Ch 1: Hot dogs
Ch 2: Burritos
Ch 3: Falafel pita
Ch 4. Choco taco

This is a dumb example on purpose, but you see what I mean--it's basically a listicle. The chapters could be anything: Countries Doing Austerity, Stolen Artwork In Museums, 10 X That Changed Y

And the form can work, but it's trickier than it looks because...

Read 14 tweets
Writing Myths #3 Writing Portfolios are the magic way into the industry!!
Get a portfolio said the writing panel/advice/speaker in what is the latest throwaway simple advice that instantly builds a career…. So, let’s talk about them.
1)Portfolios are NOT magic. Simply having one doesn't get you a job. Tey are a tool to be used in chasing work and an increasing number of employers ask for them. Having one can be very useful, but just putting some bits of writing in the same place does not = instant career.
2) People tend to read your email first, then your c.v. and then portfolio. Mess up stages 1, or 2 and 3 may well not matter. Always rework your email, c.v. and portfolio for EVERY application. Focus on what matches that job/company.
Read 60 tweets

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