Can anyone be a good writer?
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Anyone can be a good writer. Most people have imagination, and most people have an idea for a story. What most people can't do is tell the story in a way that people want to hear.
These are the kinds of issues I often see at my writing group or on . They're easily done and pretty easy to fix. They include:
- Unclear speaker attribution
- Using clichés and hackneyed phrases (e.g. "knife through butter").
- Run-on sentences
- Too many adverbs and weak verbs
- Strings of adjectives
- Too much internal monologue
- Too many passive sentences
- Using obscure tenses
- Unnecessary explanation ("As you know, Bob ... ")
- Using superlatives rather than more precise descriptive words
- Not controlling point of view
- Commonplace dialogue ("Hi, how are you?" "Fine.")
- Telling not showing ("Bob was a funny guy.")
- Too much dialogue, not enough description
- Flowery writing or overwriting
- Repetition of words or phrases
- Mixed, forced, or jarring similes and metaphors
- Too visual or audio, not enough of other senses
- Authorial intrusion or bald exposition
Once you've got past those kind of issues, you can write stuff that at least some people will want to read. The writing will flow to an extent. The reader should be able to suspend disbelief and engage with the story without being stopped by the writing.
Intermediate-level (and above) mistakes
The next step is to take your reader on a worthwhile journey. Here's a list of possible problems to check your story for that might make that journey an unsatisfying one for the reader:
- Too much backstory before the inciting incident (this is the No. 1 problem I see in otherwise good stories)
- Protagonist too eager or things being too easy.
- Lurching tone ("Is is a comedy or a thriller?")
- Loose ends ("What happened to Joe? He just disappeared in Chapter 10.")
- Saggy second act
- One pace (nonstop action)
- Relying on deus ex machina to resolve the plot
- Plot unfocused or the premise is unclear
- Characters don’t change.
- Weak themes
- Weakly defined characters
- Stakes too low or characters too dull
- Setups not handled correctly ("Where did his radio come from?")
- Plot too obvious ("I saw the ending coming miles off.")
- Plot too convoluted
- Believability ("It seemed a bit crazy.")
- Character motivations not personal enough
- Plot and character not entwined
- Lacks emotional highs and lows
- Unoriginal or clichéd plot
- Stereotypical characters.
- Plot holes
At this level, the issues are a bit subjective. For example, the line between being “too obvious” and “too convoluted” is more about the reader than the writer and more of a question of what audience you want to appeal to.
You can find the original article at: http://www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2014/12/09/writing_fiction_what_skills_make_a_writer_s_work_better.html