I’ve wrote about what I learn from On Writing by Stephen King about being a writer. Here I begin to take notes from the part of the book on writing skills.
Use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful.
- No need to be ashamed to use short and precise words
- Don’t force unfamiliar “big words” into your writing
- Use the first word that jumps into your mind
Avoid Passive Tense
- Why? It’s weaker, harder to read, less clear.
- Why? It’s the voice of a timid, fearful writer.
- When? If using a subject brings up passive tense, try switching the subject.
Example: "The body was hidden." vs. "The killer hid the body."
Adverb Is Not Your Friend
- Why? Avoiding it will lead to a better expression. Example: “He closed the door firmly” vs. “He slammed the door.”
- Why? It’s lazy and uncreative.
- Why? Adverbs are weeds among good writing.
- Where? In dialogue attribution:
- If you write in active verbs, the readers should already follow the speakers’ emotions without adverbs. Adverbs only weaken the writing.
- It’s best to use “said”, also 1 of the Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. And avoid over using attribution verb, like he “gasped”.
- “…” he said, with a flush. This is an adverb phrase–a taller weed.