If you wish to write well, this post for you. If you wish to drive impact through your writing, this post is for you. And if, like me, you believe words have the power to bring about meaningful change, this post is definitely for you.
You see, I was an aspiring writer too once, with the hunger to improve. Eight years and more than a thousand stories later, I am in a much better place, but I know just how beneficial the right kind of help and guidance can be to our tribe.
And this is why I have decided to jot some things down – things I hope will be as useful to you, as they were to me, when I started out writing my first story.
Before beginning to write, set out a structure for your story, a structure that lays out what you want to say from start to finish.
Where to begin is one of the most crucial decisions you will take for your story. A good beginning can instantly draw a reader into a piece of writing, whereas a mediocre beginning can discourage a reader from reading further. Think of it this way: your introduction can literally make or break your story, so spend time perfecting those opening lines!
Imagine sitting in a class with 40 students, and a professor lecturing you on a topic. Even if the topic is interesting, if the way it is packaged is boring, chances are you will zone out after a while. Now imagine the same professor having a discussion with you, drawing you into the conversation about the topic. Which mode would you prefer? The conversation, right? Because it’s more personal.
Now apply the same principle to your words. Engage your reader. Ask them questions in the story. Provide vivid metaphors, similes and analogies to help your reader understand what you are saying.
Passive voice butchers your writing, while active voice gives it strength and vitality. Take these sentences for example,
The bat was thrown by George.
The door was broken by the dog.
Now, look what happens after a little makeover:
George threw the bat.
The dog broke the door.
By just following this one rule, your writing will instantly become stronger and sharper, and you will be able to create more impact with fewer words.
Complex sentences make your writing seem choppy and intimidating. Mixing up sentence structure keeps content lively and interesting, it also makes what you’re saying sound more human.
Consider this example by the renowned writer instructor Gary Provost and you’ll know what I mean:
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”
Aim for one main point per paragraph, and one main idea per sentence. And once you are finished writing, put your editor’s hat on and start snipping.
I once received a great piece of advice regarding the way to go about this: Write with emotion. Edit without passion. Take those editing scissors, and snip everything off, until your post has exactly what you need it to have, and not one word more.
No one ever writes the perfect draft. And while editing your own copy is great, nothing beats a fresh pair of eyes. An editor can also highlight your weaknesses and strengths so you can objectively look at your writing and decide what to work on. Once done, send your post to our expert editors at Youth Ki Awaaz, and we will work with you on making it better.
Every month, thousands of people write on Youth Ki Awaaz, driving impact through their words. You can be one of them too. Just use this link to publish your post and hop on the bandwagon!
We will wait to read from you.