10 Quick And Easy Tips To Boost Your Writing

How To Boost Your Writing

If you want to give your writing a quick and easy boost, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a top 10 of writing tips I give most often. What I love about these is they’re straightforward and easy to implement. You can start doing them all TODAY!  Ready? Let’s go …

1) Start Anywhere

Writing a whole screenplay or novel from start to finish can seem insurmountable. But what if I told you that you DON’T have to write in chronological order? Just start anywhere. GOGOGO!

2) Bullet Point It

Lots of writers freak out about outlining. They might say outlines kill spontaneity, or it’s so boring it demotivates them. But outlining can be anything … so why not bullet point yours? You’ll be surprised how quick and easy this is.

3) Plot Backwards

Screenwriting veteran Billy Wilder said that if you have a problem in Act 3, your issue is Act 1. So give your writing a boost by STARTING with your ending. That’s right … plot backwards! More, next.

4) Draw The Story

If you find plotting is difficult but also hate outlining, draw the story instead. Creating a visual representation of your story can really help you spot inconsistencies and gaps in your plotting. Download the free B2W worksheet (and see lots of other visual representations) HERE.

5) Use Brackets

Find that you’re grinding to a halt when you’re drafting, or outlining? No problem. Simply use brackets, like @Massawyrm suggests here:

In case you don’t know, Massawyrm is C. Robert Cargill. He wrote Blumhouse Horror classic Sinister and Marvel’s Doctor Strange. In other words, he knows his stuff!

6) Leave Dialogue ‘Til Last

Writers have lots of problems with dialogue. Maybe you find dialogue hard … Or maybe you have a tendency to overwrite dialogue, letting scenes and chapters run away with you?

No problem. Boost your writing by writing ‘[INSERT DIALOGUE HERE]’ and concentrating on the visuals, storyworld and characterisation instead. Then come back later and add those lines of dialogue. You’ll be amazed by the difference this makes.

7) Kill All /lys/ & /ings/

Uber-author Stephen King advised writers to ‘kill all adverbs’ – those pesky /ly/ words. Take it from me as a script reader: the average spec screenplay or unpublished novel has FAR too many /ly/ words. Screenwriters and authors alike can benefit from this advice and boost their writing.

Screenwriters would do well to avoid the present continuous tense too. It’s this that creates those annoying /ing/ words. Make sure you’re using the present simple instead.

8) Check What’s Gone Before

I hear a LOT of pitches that sound like stories I have read or watched before. Inevitably, when I ask the writers how theirs is different, they will answer with, ‘I haven’t read/watched that’. Noooooooo!

Boost your writing by immersing yourself in your chosen genre. Identify stories *like* yours and work out how yours is ‘the same … but different’.

Yes, yes you can’t know every single story, but don’t be lazy. Research like hell, because it WILL help your writing. Sites like The Bookseller, Publisher’s Weekly, DoneDeal and IMDB make this EASY!

10) Kill All FILLERS

Lots of stories have what B2W calls ‘fillers’ in them … Those actions and behaviours that don’t advance the story, or reveal character. Instead, those moments are just marking time. YAWN!

The most common are walking, running, eating and drinking. Obviously all of these *can* work … But ONLY if they advance the story and/or reveal character. For more on avoiding fillers …

10) Use A ‘Baseline’

Whether you are writing a spec screenplay or novel, it’s a great idea to start with a preliminary logline for your story. B2W calls this a  ‘baseline’. This can be a really powerful tool, as it creates a foundation for your draft. Using a baseline means you can check whether …

  • there’s any concept mistakes at grass roots level
  • your story has evolved, or you’ve gone wildly off-road with it
  • if you actually have two stories in there (happens A LOT!)

You can also send to your peers and check whether it feels generic or a rehash, too. Writing a baseline can save you a world of pain as well as boost your writing. Grab the B2W logline cheat sheet, HERE.

Good Luck!

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6 thoughts on “10 Quick And Easy Tips To Boost Your Writing”

  1. Ohhhh, I needed this. Have just been lost in a morass of sh*tty emails from my boss, too many carbs and too much Netflix. Thank you for giving me a boot in my heinie and a helping hand to bring me up and back to my story

  2. The quickest tip is to just start writing. You don’t want a blank canvas. Just keep writing and the thoughts and ideas will start to flow and form a better coherent whole after a while.

    1. I’m not sure I’d agree with this. One has to have some sort of goal to write towards otherwise you end up heading for some deadend or an incoherent piece.

      On the other hand, if you are saying, get an idea and don’t worry about plot, etc., but start to write it out (i.e. flesh it out), then I’m kinda in agreement with that. But the pantser route has its disadvantages, as I’ve discovered. But that might be me.

      Everything I’ve written is basically pantsied rather than plotted on paper, though the degree ot which I simply have idea and write has changed over time. I always have a mental goal and some idea of what the story is about and where the plot might lead.

  3. I really like this idea. I’ve started quite a few stories and got stuck or failed to complete them. (I promise to go back and finish them at some point–and in a few instances, I have.) The advice is similar to “writing from the middle” where you start the writing of the story from the midpoint and you can work forwards and backwards as you wish.

    In some stories, I’ve found myself writing the climax/end before I’ve written the middle. This is useful for writers like me who find plotting everything in intricate detail problematic, as it provides a goal to aim towards and I can see the pieces fitting together to get me to the end point.

    Not sure I’d go along with the idea of leaving the dialogue till last. I find the chatter some of the easiest parts to write, though I do edit it significantly at a later stage.

    What works is the mantra here. What’s great about this post is that it’s important to be reminded of how to be creative in turning an idea into a reasonably decent story.

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