Was-ly On Writing

by klparry

Hello Friends!

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that I’m attending a writing class. Having no formal training other than what I received in public school many, many years ago, I thought this a good way to improve on and acquire new writing skills.

For today’s post, and for lack of other ideas, I’ve decided to share with you what I’ve learned in week one – all of which came from my reading assignment – pages 114 through 137 of On Writing by Stephen King.

Who knew he’d been an English teacher?

Don’t use was.

Yeah, I could explain it, maybe. Something to do with the passive voice – which is not good. You want your sentences to be powerful. So, just do your best to avoid using it.

The corpse was placed in the bedroom.

He placed the corpse in the bedroom – is the stronger phrase.

Avoid words ending in ‘ly’.

Wow. Not even sure how to write that but you know what I mean – words like suddenly, trippingly, laughingly and cautiously. King says this is the tool of the fearful writer who is afraid of not being taken seriously.

“Said” is enough. Keep it simple.

When it comes to explaining intent in dialogue you don’t need to dress it up.

“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!” she said wickedly.

Lame.

“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!” she said.

Recommended.

“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!” she cackled.

I actually prefer this one.

“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”

You may not even need to state who spoke. So don’t.

Well, I’m no English teacher so I hope some of this made sense to you.

Until tomorrow, Write On!

~ K.L. Parry

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