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Thread: Best Ways to Train Writing Skills

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Best Ways to Train Writing Skills

    Hi, I'm quite interested to hear your personal journeys on writing, and in particular, the most effective ways to practice writing.
    How does one train oneself? Are there any guaranteed methodologies that will improve one's writing?

    Thanks! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts

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    Everyone learns to write at school, but aside from that some people keep a diary, others write letters or emails, correspondence, others like to write poems and shorter rhymes. It really depends on what you want to write: political tracts? religious pieces? academic? and if so what under these broad categories: which religions, what politics, which academic disciplines? I think only you can decide what you want to write and follow the tradition in whatever that might be.

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    When you want to improve writing skills, you must practice writing in short and you need to spend more time in writing.

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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Reading works of other writers is the most important step, in my opinion.
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    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post
    Reading works of other writers is the most important step, in my opinion.
    This is the best way to start, j10234.

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    Writing is rewriting.

    Do not have too many expectations of the first draft. There will be holes, spelling mistakes and stupid errors - but these errors are part of the writing process. The "crappy" first draft is the foundation - without it you cannot move forward. The final piece may not even resemble the first draft - but the 1st draft is the crucial 1st step. It does not have to be perfect - and problems may resolve themselves after the 1st draft has been produced.

    The first draft is the first step. The second step is revising it.

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    Simply reading, writing, and re-writing are the big three, with particular emphasis on the first and last.

    I do have three exercises I enjoy apart from that. The first is coming up with sentences that I'm confident nobody has ever said before, sometimes about a particular subject or sometimes about nothing in particular, just to see what comes out of it. The second exercise consists of taking particularly bad work, such as the opening of The Da Vinci Code, and reworking it to something more palatable, while taking notes on each alteration.

    My third procedure merely takes snatches from different poems or a particularly good bit of prose and combines them as part of a stanza. Usually, if I'm writing something designed to hold Tennyson and Browning together, the quality of the writing immediately improves overall.

  8. #8
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    These are good ideas, Trevor Gower. The last three exercises are particularly innovative.

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    The Wolf of Larsen WolfLarsen's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ignore other writers! Listen to jazz instead!

    Use lots of drugs. Lots of alcohol. Lots of sex. Listen to free jazz saxophone players doing their wild crazy thing and try to write like they play.

    Try to write to the rhythms of the bed springs of whorehouses.

    Try to write with pain of a soldier dying on the battlefield.

    Right with all the noise & crash of American bombs falling on other countries.

    Right with the pump & thawed of police Billy clubs hitting on somebody's head.

    Rights with the energy of riots on the streets.

    You probably won't learn much from other writers. The literary world is too backward & conservative & reactionary & filled with censorship. Most of all, the literary world is filled with a bunch of arrogant so-and-so's uptight about sex, who masturbate 10 times a day dreaming of their novel hitting it big.

    You might find the painters to be much more inspirational than actual writers. I find the romantic & modern & postmodern painters to be the most inspirational!

    Whatever you do don't write like everybody else! How boring!

    I have carpal tunnel, and use voice recognition software, and I don't feel like going back in correcting the mistakes of the voice recognition software. I don't apologize for any errors.


    I invite the literary world to kiss my ***. The literary world is just a big blob of diarrhea, if you want to be a great writer, ignore the literary world,, it's not like it's producing much in the way of great literature.
    "...the ramblings of a narcissistic, self-obsessed, deranged mind."
    My poetry, plays, novels, & other stuff on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr...or=Wolf Larsen

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfLarsen View Post
    Use lots of drugs. Lots of alcohol. Lots of sex. Listen to free jazz saxophone players doing their wild crazy thing and try to write like they play.

    Try to write to the rhythms of the bed springs of whorehouses.

    Try to write with pain of a soldier dying on the battlefield.

    Right with all the noise & crash of American bombs falling on other countries.

    Right with the pump & thawed of police Billy clubs hitting on somebody's head.

    Rights with the energy of riots on the streets.

    You probably won't learn much from other writers. The literary world is too backward & conservative & reactionary & filled with censorship. Most of all, the literary world is filled with a bunch of arrogant so-and-so's uptight about sex, who masturbate 10 times a day dreaming of their novel hitting it big.

    You might find the painters to be much more inspirational than actual writers. I find the romantic & modern & postmodern painters to be the most inspirational!

    Whatever you do don't write like everybody else! How boring!

    I have carpal tunnel, and use voice recognition software, and I don't feel like going back in correcting the mistakes of the voice recognition software. I don't apologize for any errors.


    I invite the literary world to kiss my ***. The literary world is just a big blob of diarrhea, if you want to be a great writer, ignore the literary world,, it's not like it's producing much in the way of great literature.
    Actually writing, over and over again, is the best way to train your writing skills. You can participate in as must substance abuse and illegal prostitution you want, but if you never actualy practice writing, then you're never going to get any better at writing.

    Wolf, do your suggestions include children's writers, and people wo generally arent interested in writing about masrurbation habits as thier main topic?

    Just FYI, Lolita isn't praised because of its depiction of illegal sex acts.

  11. #11
    flash fiction fatale heartwing's Avatar
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    Simply be willing to pay attention to what is suggested you by your inner voice, to honor it and follow it. What can be made of this and whether something can be made is a separate issue and highly individual. A writer is someone who writes.

    There are things you can do to improve your writing such as reading deeply and using great and imaginative exercises, but a writer does something unique in that he or she enters and begins and against all odds, continues.

    Be willing to stack up a lot of work that does not work for various reasons. Be a writer who generates as well as someone who refines. Be generous with yourself. Go all out. Some people are polishing the diamond types but just as many may well be those casting a line out there, time and time again, trying various locations, various voices, various subjects, point of views, etc.

    This is harder to follow as one gets older and remembers rejections. But then again the rejections can inform certain aspects of the work, such as where the energy is.
    “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser
    (image: walking by crilleb50, deviantArt)

  12. #12
    Reading sounds like the general consensus here, so reading has been duly noted moving forward into the new year.

  13. #13
    Nonpracticing Solipsist
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    Besides reading, finding your voice, and the like, I'd suggest working out the little things.

    Pick up a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. You'll find some basic grammar and usage rules in the first section. Although some are outmoded, the rest are critical. Above all, master punctuation.

    Once you've learned the basics, weed out every unneeded word, phrase, or sentence. Understand that you, as a writer, are working on borrowed time. William Zinsser, in On Writing Well, wrote:

    "[The reader] is a person with an attention span of about twenty seconds. He is assailed on every side by forces competing for his time: by newspapers and magazines, by television and radio, by his stereo and videocassettes, by his wife and children and pets, by his house and his yard and all the gadgets that he has bought to keep them spruce, and by that most potent of competitors, sleep. The man snoozing in his chair with an unfinished magazine on his lap is a man who was being given too much unnecessary trouble by the writer."

    Readers don't have time for excess. Learn to eliminate yours.
    Last edited by JPS; 12-10-2016 at 10:35 PM.

  14. #14
    Anna BeachBooksBlog's Avatar
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    Read good books by great writers and show-up every day at your desk. I learned from Hemingway to write every morning for a few hours, or at least to be there and practice or edit or read. Consistency helps me a lot. He also suggests to stop when you still know what to say, so you could pick-up and continue the next morning from where you left.

    "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed," said Hem :)


    Anna
    “I want to know what it says. The sea, Floy, what is it that it keeps on saying?”
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  15. #15
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    I would say read a lot, get a feel for different styles. Write a few things, try and develop your own sense of style. Read what you've written aloud, make sure it reads naturally and easily. And just keep reading and writing as much as you can

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