Tips

The Right Write Tools

…to get the job done!

So you want to be a writer, or maybe you’ve already jumped onto the writing universe with both feet. Do you have the right tools? There are tons of books, pamphlets, white papers, blogs, and guides on how to be a better writer, how to write better characters, how to get an agent to notice your work, etc.  Most “experts” can’t agree on the best of the best from this ever-growing list. For every fan, there is someone who is not one.

The truth is the best way to improve as a writer is to read, read, and read some more; take the time to learn from mistakes, and get lots and lots of practice. Most writers have one or two go-to resources they use every time they write. These guides are more than heavy tomes used to prop up the rest of the books on the shelf.

Dictionary: This is a must for any author. It doesn’t matter if it’s print, e-book, or electronic. A dictionary can make the difference between authors who know their sh*t and authors who know they’re sh*t. Using the right word for the situation is necessary and just as important is knowing how to use it correctly. A dictionary also helps an author spell words consistently. Be aware that not all dictionaries spell words the same way. There may be variations in spelling, usage, and available variants from one dictionary to the next. So which do you use? Whichever one you have. Just consistently use that dictionary. There are many online dictionaries as well, for those who don’t a book.

Thesaurus: Using synonyms or antonyms is a good way to avoid repetition of favorite words. We all have signature words or phrases we use. Reading those same words and phrases over and over in a manuscript will elicit eye rolls from your readers if they become noticeable.

Style Guide: What is a style guide, you say? It’s a set of guidelines for authors and editors. The Chicago Manual of Style is considered the industry standard for the book publishing industry and for many businesses as well. Is this the only style guide out there? No. There are many style guides for many disciplines including, but not limited to, newspaper and magazines, academics, medical, military, websites, etc. Why should an author use a style guide or have their manuscript edited using a style guide? Because it ensures that your manuscript complies with rules.

Favorite Book on Writing: Check out a few books on writing. Advice from those who have done this successfully can shave off years of trial and error work for you. If you want to build stronger characters or a more dynamic plot, find a book to help you. While having these references won’t make you a better writer just by having them, they are the tools of the trade to help you improve your craft as you practice and fine tune your writing.

Happy writing!


Comments

  1. Wonderful post, Janine. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: