The writer’s alphabet A-C

A to ZIf you’ve got as many questions as I have about the craft of creative writing, you’ll know how important it is to try out new things. The more you learn, the more it seems there is to learn. Every day, as they say, is a school day.

That’s what this alphabet is all about. It’s not a dictionary of answers, more a lexicon of suggestions. Some of them are my own, many are ideas I’ve picked up along the way from people far smarter than myself. If you like the sound of them, why not give them a try?

A is for Adjectives and Adverbs

Try ditching both. See how concise and precise your writing becomes. Instead of writing he ran quickly, try he sprinted. Instead of telling me the building was tall, try telling me the building towered. Very often, the fewest words deliver the maximum effect. Less is more.

B is for But

When writing an outline for a story, try adding the word but into every single sentence. See how it instantly creates drama. Jack crosses the rope bridge BUT the rain has made it slippery. He makes it to the other side BUT drops his pack in the river halfway across. He climbs down to the bank BUT the crocodiles are closing in.

C is for Characters

Before writing from a character’s point of view, try inhabiting their persona for a whole day. Be a method actor. Speak as they speak. Walk as they walk. Think as they think. If they’re alive in your head, there’s a good chance they’ll come alive on the page.

Tomorrow: D, E & F

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