Thursday, February 07, 2008

Three Things Necessary to Make Writing Good and Powerful

By Yvonne Perry

There are writers who are creative types. They can let ideas and thoughts flow freely and create a story from their wild imagination. Misplaced commas, missing periods, and misspelled words don’t get in their way. I admire these people.

Then, there are the logistical, mechanical types like me, who have to edit and perfect every word in every sentence before going on to the next paragraph. I admire them, too.

It takes both kinds of writers to cover fiction and non-fiction.

While my fiction friends can weave a tale to take me on a reading fantasy, I doubt I would enjoy reading their book if someone didn’t edit for them. Right-brained writers need left-brained editors! I enjoy getting my hands on their manuscript and making mechanical magic happen.

Perfectionist types (like me) do well with non-fiction books like self-help, medical or scientific research, political issues—those “serious” genres—because we pay such close attention to detail. I normally have my bibliography completed long before I am satisfied that the piece is ready to be released to a publisher or printer. We are our own worst critic! We could take a lesson from right-brained writers.

I have three tips that I believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful. These apply regardless of which type of writer you may be:

1. Write to your target audience. Fiction or nonfiction, keep your reader in mind. What age, education level, interests and expectations do they have? Deliver to the customer. This is especially important if you are a freelancer writing for a client. Know their market and their business well enough to be their customer or employee.

2. Let your creativity flow. Don’t let the double period typo at the end of a sentence distract you while you are still creating the text. You can always go back and correct punctuation and spelling when you are finished.

3. Have someone proofread for you. If I let a piece sit for a few days before I come back to it, I will catch most of my errors, but I still appreciate having someone proofread my work before it goes out.

Remember, the more you write, the better you get at it. So, make time to do what you love and write to your heart’s content!

Now, I'd like to ask you for your suggestions. So, comment here and tell me what you believe are the necessary elements to make writing good and powerful.


Jim Murdoch said...

I think your third point is SO important. I don't care how long you leave your work for as soon as you get back into it, and with me that's usually by the end of the first paragraph, then you stop reading and start remembering. There is a world of difference. You need someone who doesn't know what you were thinking when you wrote that sentence, someone who is reading everything for the first time. And it helps if they actually know a thing or two about editing.

Yvonne Perry said...

Absolutely, Jim. It's the "forest for the trees" thing. We writers get too close to our own work to realize that we've misspelled or left out a word.

Thanks for posting.


marta said...

Ignore the fear. Ignore that nagging voice in your head (parent, teacher, wicked sprite) that says you can't, you shouldn't, and all that. Write what grabs your heart and is your passion. Powerful writing doesn't hold back.

Now I just have to follow my own advice!

Glad to have found this site.