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  • Writer's pictureCherish Michele

My Two Cents on Writing

Updated: May 1, 2022

(Fun fact: I wrote this for my school newspaper, and I liked it, so here we are.)

It all started on a sunny afternoon in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Upon arriving home from school, I noticed a pile of loose leaf papers had fallen out of the backpack that I had just thrown to the ground. Instead of immediately putting the papers back, I got a sudden urge unlike any other I ever had. This was more than just having a desire for a box of lemon heads I saw in the store. Something about those papers drew me to them. So, I grabbed the pencil and began writing, marking the beginning of a journey (A journey that you can read more about here-link). Now, I have a YA science fiction manuscript with about 75,000 words, a professional editor currently working on it, and a plan to self-publish some time in 2022. Though I still have a lot to learn when it comes to writing, there are things I already do know and I wanted to share a couple of writing tips for any other aspiring novelists out there.

Some people like to indulge in a good novel from time to time. For those who don’t read, then there are still plenty of options to indulge in such as a television series, a film, etc. Each form of entertainment has one thing in common, making it so that regardless of which medium is chosen at any given time, all audiences will essentially be getting the same story, just expressed in a different way. And that is writing. Writing is at the core of everything in the entertainment industry.

Since there are so many forms, writers do not necessarily have to be novelists, but all novelists are writers. With that being said, novels that are not picture books are the only form that is completely reliant on the writing alone to carry the audience into a new world. Authors only have words to convey their messages or tell their story, and those words must become their prized possessions. Each word must have a reason to be on the page; otherwise, it’s redundant.

Something a lot of storytelling novices do is litter their writing with purple prose, which is when a bunch of adjectives, adverbs, metaphors, etc. are thrown together, and flashy words are used in an abundance. When that happens, it comes off as if they just pulled as many words as they could from a thesaurus in the hopes of sounding like a genius so people will treat them as such. In reality, all they’re doing is taking away from the story that is waiting to be told, and possibly boring readers.

That’s not to say that all writing needs to be simplistic in nature, because that’s another mistake that a lot of novices make. There is nothing wrong with having an extensive vocabulary, or using adjectives, adverbs, and all that, but understand that all of it needs to be used sparingly. It’s not meant to be used endlessly, one after another, until it overshadows the actual story.

When feeling stuck, plenty of novels out there today give great examples of what constitutes good writing, and that is why it’s a widely held belief among writers that a good writer is also a reader. The king of horror, and one of the greatest novelists of our generation, Stephen King, has spoken on this. He once said, “Writers should read widely and voraciously because all books have something to teach us.”

Blogger Jan Fortune also summed it up perfectly. “Reading not only expands your imagination, vocabulary and empathy,” Fortune said, “but also your ability to reshape your writing in unexpected ways. Even if you are not a writer, reading helps to keep our brains active and is an activity that reduces stress. If you are a writer, you need those benefits.”

So at the end of the day, the two best things aspiring novelists can do for themselves is read and write, working everyday to refine their skills. And don’t be discouraged from starting with pen and paper if a laptop or computer is not an option. Typing may be the most convenient method for some, but never forget that the highest selling book series in history, Harry Potter, started off as a handwritten pile of notes. No matter what it takes, just get the words out. A blank page is not going to write itself.

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