October 13, 2021Learning to Write

The whole time I was writing the Arranging Words article, I was painfully aware that I was only really giving very broad guidelines on how to outline a story and decide what your characters need to go through to get to whatever goal or destination they’re trying to reach.

Nowhere in the article do I show you how to actually write it. I have no clue how to teach someone to write.

I’m a newbie at this writing stuff myself.

I’m sure there are classes that teach people how to write, or at least how to begin. They would instruct you on sentence structure and grammar rules and making sure plural and singular subjects, verbs and pronouns matched up, and that verb tenses stayed consistent.

Mostly I suspect they would have you write about whatever subject you were interested in, and then they would edit the piece and show you how you could tighten up sentences, drop unnecessary words, not ramble so much, what words could be better substitutes to get a point across, etc.

If you are interested in poetry, there are classes that could teach about meter and rhyming, and how to write in verses.

If you like mysteries, you could learn how to do medical research to find out what poisons could hide in a body undetected. Mystery writers would probably use my outline backwards … write the end first so they’d know who did it, and then work out how they did it in the middle part.

If you wanted to write historical romances, you’d learn how to do the research to get background settings correct. Can’t have a 17th century hero swooping in to save a 15th century damsel. Everything has to be accurate.

But no matter what kind of writing interests you, truly, the best way to learn how to write, is to simply write.

Begin by keeping a daily journal. There’s something a bit magical and even therapeutic about seeing your own thoughts written out on a page. It will help you organize your thinking better, which will help you express yourself better both orally and in writing. The thoughts begin to flow and before you know it, you really are writing!

Another important step in learning to write is to read.

Artists learn to paint by copying the old masters. Writers can learn to write the same way.

An artist who studies Rembrandt’s brush strokes and techniques doesn’t end up with work that looks like Rembrandt’s … his work will look like his own. He simply learned how to mix colors, apply glazes and how to use his brushes.

And it’s the same with a writer. Find authors who are writing material like you’re interested in writing. Study how they write their characters, how they describe scenes and write dialog, and how they keep the action moving forward. Then make up your own short story and try to write it like they would.

It will feel clumsy and awkward at first, but stick with it. The more you write, it will begin to feel more natural. Add that to your journaling and before you know it, your own original thoughts, voice and style will begin to shine through.

You are writing!

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  • Dixie Cooley says:
    2021-10-13, 18:18:52
    Thank you
    You're welcome!- Sherry A Mitcham
  • BILL MITCHAM says:
    2021-10-13, 08:23:42
    Exactly!- Sherry A Mitcham