Basic Points to Writing:

A fellow blogger, Frank Garcia, posted an interesting subject called, “The 5 Keys to Defeating the Academic Essay” … which you can find HERE

As I read this article, I realized that these apply to all writing in general, whether academic or other.  I’m an independent fiction writer, but I still abide by all but one of these five basic points.  I re-list them here to give my thoughts on them and share them with other fellow writers:

Time – Time constraint is probably the only issue I currently do no have to deal with (yet anyway).  But there is “time enough” to write or “finding the time” to write.  As a working husband and father of two teen girls, finding time often becomes difficult, but again, I do not have “deadlines” to meet, unless I’ve promised a story out by a specific date, which I avoid doing.

Make Sure You Thoroughly Comprehend your material Even as an independent fiction writer, knowing and understanding your subject matter, even if it’s fiction, can still make for a much more believable story.

Address All Points of Counterargument – Counterarguments also arise in fiction.  You have to think to yourself, what will the reader question and how can I re-write it so that they are not removed from the story.  Even though a story is fiction, you can’t just chalk up mysterious events or creatures or what have you on the basis that it is “fiction”.  I feel, to keep the reader reading and the story flowing nicely, you should always have some back-story to explain some of the more questionable parts of your writing.

Give Yourself a Quiet Place to Write – This, I believe goes without question.  My only difference would be, it doesn’t necessarily need to be “quiet”.  At times I like having a little static noise to keep other distractions at bay.  For example, at this very moment my dog is in the office with me, chewing on his hard plastic fake steak.  I have hardwood flooring, so the toy is continuously banging off the floor as he chews away at it.  But, it’s a steady noise and one I’m used to, therefore it has become a relaxing background noise that I do not pay any attention to.  It helps keep other, non steady, distracting noises at bay.

Revise it. Then Revise it Again – I believe you should re-read your work over and over, then over yet again. Especially anytime you edit or re-write. You need to make sure the story continues to flow with the new changes.  There are times where I’ve re-written a sentence to explain how or why something is.  Then after re-reading it, I realized it made absolutely no sense with the rest of the story.  Certainly, it would explain why something was the way it was, but it took the reader out of the story enough to ask even more questions.  This is not good.  I re-read and revise everything I write, several times.  Of course, there is a point where you can be over excessive, adding more to the story than is relevant.  You need to know where to draw the line at enough explanation to keep the reader from questioning the believability and too much that it just becomes monotonous and nonsensical.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you make use of these tips or if you don’t agree, let’s discuss it.

SL Sullivan


3 responses to “Basic Points to Writing:

  1. All things I do, except for the last one. The more I re-write, the worse my writing gets. I have an amazing editor who helps me when its time to publish, but I learned early on, the more I read what I wrote the worse it ends up.

    That’s probably a terrible way to write, but it’s the way it feels to me.

    • If it works for you, then there isn’t really a problem. I sometimes find myself making a story worse by re-reading and editing something more than I should. That’s why I mention that there is a point where you need to draw the line. My wife does my editing. She’s been in the legal secretary gig for over twenty years, plus she’s read so many books, we could start a library. I trust her opinion and corrections, but even then, sometimes I don’t always accept them.

      On the other side of the coin though… there are these blog sites. I like to get feedback on my stories so I know what I doing right, and what I’m doing wrong. I love feedback, good or bad. The problem is, a lot of people are afraid to tell a writer that they think their story is garbage. At least I haven’t heard any criticism such as that, but at the same time, I haven’t heard that it’s good. So that tells me that people are afraid to say what they really think, so they just don’t say anything.

      Anyway, I haven’t been able to read “ALL” of your works, but I do plan to at some point. What I’ve read so far, I enjoy. So you must be doing something right… eh? 😉

      • I’m glad you have enjoyed them. That’s the reason I write.

        I have heard some pretty terrible feedback. One guy gave me one star on amazon because “What, is the main character McGyver?” because he knew how to make pipe bombs.

        The funny thing is, I wrote that chapter without any research, from my own (completely hypothetical) experience making them when I was a kid. AND, the recipe I posted in my book wouldn’t work. (Done on purpose, don’t want the kiddies to try it)

        I guess I’ll get to work on my mullet.

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