An Aspiring Writer's Key Takeaways from "100 Ways to Improve Your Writing" by Gary Provost
This book is short and to the point compared to others I have been reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed it because of that. With a help book such as this, I believe they all should be set up similarly to how this one was. Each chapter was a general idea, and within each chapter were more descriptive points branching off those general ideas.
For example, one of the chapters is titled “Improve Writing When Not Writing”, and within that chapter included tips that branched off this idea such as vocab, read, eavesdrop, etc.
This blog post is going to consist of my personal favorite tips mentioned in this book and how I instantly reflected on them. That being said, all 100 tips are beneficial and necessary, but these mentioned in the blog are just what stuck with me. I would not consider this analysis a spoiler, but rather an insight into the ideas and inspiration this book offers to improve your writing. All ideas mentioned (the underlined and bolded phrases) are to the rights of the author, just the personal thoughts and experiences are my own.
Hopefully, this post encourages you to get a hand on a copy, I definitely recommend any writer, student, author, person in general to read this. If any of these points seem potentially beneficial to improving your writing, definitely buy this book. Enjoy.
Improve Writing When Not Writing
Vocab: I can look up synonyms to any word of any object, person, or place I encounter.
Read: I analyze books and post them on my blog.
Eavesdrop: it is not as bad as it sounds, just tune in to conversations while I am at the gym or getting coffee by myself.
Write in your head: usually in the car I get grand ideas and I cannot write them down obviously, so I’ll organize it in my head and speak it into the notes of my phone.
Overcome Writers Block,
Journal: I already keep too many to count but adding one to the list to jot down conversation notes or public situations will be beneficial to creating realistic events in books I plan to write.
Picture a Reader: this one I took a while to process and think about when I write a book, who will even read it?
5 Ways to Write a Strong Beginning.
Write a strong lead: my story needs to start off with a spark of curiosity.
Set a tone and maintain it: I witnessed this in a book recently, where the tone, in the
beginning, was completely flipped upside down halfway through the story.
Begin at the beginning: “cross out every sentence until you come to one you cannot do
without. That is your beginning.” I found this sentence one of the best of this whole book.
9 Ways to Save Time and Energy.
Use transitional phrases: it’s straight-up but effective in keeping the reader interested.
Don’t explain when you don’t have to: do I have to explain this one?
Avoid wordiness: I have seen it, it catches my eye instantly and bugs me. Use intelligent
words, but don’t use five in a row to explain a simple concept, it is not worth it.
10 Ways to Develop Style.
Listen to what you write: “to write is to create music”. I like this sentence he wrote because as
humans, we have a special ability to easily remember music. So, make your writing flow like
music and people will easily catch on and remember it.
Vary sentence length and construction: self-explanatory, but so important to avoid a
dragged-out, boring structure.
Show, don’t tell: I have seen this tip multiple times and I love it. Basically, describe, don’t
Don’t force a personal style: as much as I enjoy J.K. Rowling’s writing, I must remind myself
that her style is her style, and my style is my style.
12 Ways to Give Your Words Power. Go read this whole section, it is important.
11 Ways to Make People Like What You Write.
Show your opinion: in my soon to be novel, I will definitely use this strategy to include my own
opinions and thoughts within my main character to make her more relatable and realistic.
Obey your own rules: set the tone in the beginning and do not switch up on yourself.
Create a strong title: a title is so short, yet so complex and important. I find it the hardest
part about any writing piece I create.
10 Ways to Avoid Grammatical Errors.
Prefer good writing to good grammar: even if the grammar is good, the style and
communication can remain poor if you aren’t careful enough.
6 Ways to Avoid Punctuation Errors.
Use orthodox punctuation: “be creative in your writing, not your punctuation”.
Know when to use a comma: use commas when a pause is needed for clarity. This clarified a
lot for me, believe it or not.
12 Ways to Avoid Making Your Reader Hate You
Avoid Jargon: stop using slang that most of the world doesn’t understand.
Don’t use transitions to conceal information: a reader can always tell if they are being
cheated out of information, so don’t do that to them, surprise them.
Don’t play the mystery game: bring the exciting news we all want to know to the beginning of
the story, and use the rest of it to “prove” it.
7 Ways to Edit Yourself.
These all stuck with me and will be very useful. Get this dang book to figure it out yourself.