How to write better with TA and the 4 Cs
Sounds like a rock band, doesn’t it?
Well, here we are again at The Inspiring Bit. Another month of lockdown has gone by and an increasing number of people are, like me, starting to recognise what really matters in life and what they want to do. For many that includes getting writing at long last!
So, I was delighted to be interviewed by Louise Wiles of Thriving Abroad (that’s the TA) for her regular podcast series about Writing Through Challenging Times. You can watch the interview above (if you're reading this via my Monthly Inspirer email you may have to click 'view email in your browser' at the the top to display the video) or just listen to it, along with many other fascinating episodes by subscribing to the podcast.
The 4 Cs are something completely different. Here goes:
Jo’s 4 Cs for better writing
Write clearly and know your reader’s reading level. I’m always harping on about being accessible, writing in short sentences and short paragraphs so that what you are saying is easy to digest. The easiest way to see if your writing is clear is to read it aloud. If you stumble over the text as you read then the reader will stumble too – yes, even if they are reading it in their head.
Readers are not stupid. You may have been told at school to “tell them what you are going to say, tell them and then tell them what you said,” but that can be boring to read. Some of the ropiest tabloid newspaper stories do this. Keep your writing short and to the point. Don’t bog the reader down in overlong descriptions, just give them one or two details to hang onto so they can picture it and move on. Keep it simple. Keep it short. If you want to hammer a point home then do that like this:
For years I have been asking my students to ‘paint a picture with your pen’. Show the reader your characters, your settings, your feelings. Make your writing come alive. One of the best ways to do this is with dialogue. A page that contains dialogue looks more interesting. Lines that start with the inverted commas (“) that indicate the start of speech always pique my interest.This looks like a fun page, I think. Dialogue allows you to show character and to move the story forward. People make your writing colourful. Carefully chosen specific details do too.
For a piece of writing to make the reader want to stay with you on the page, it must retain their interest. Keep your writing lively. Vary sentence length, make your vocabulary match the mood, move the story forward and your writing will have pace. Pace and plot make a story compelling but so too does ‘voice’. Voice is the way you write. Your natural writing style. A style that shows your personality, is authentic, unforced and fun to read. One of the best ways to find your writers’ voice and settle into it is to join a writer’s circle. Why not join my Friday Speedwrite Live events, do some writing and then share it and get feedback from the group? Trust me, it’s one of the best ways to find your voice.
That’s it then, if you want to get writing and think you may have run out of excuses then watch my Thriving Abroad interview, remember the 4Cs and join a writers’ circle.
And, now, every month you can join my monthly Life Story Jar Live webinar, have a short lesson, do a writing task, share and get feedback.
For more inspiration and live events go to www.joparfitt.com/virtual-events.html
If you miss an event you will be able to catch up via the Tools for Writers tab on my website.
Jo Parfitt's Monthly Inspirer