Community (Misc.) > Tricks of the Trades

Writing Tips

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Merlandese:
I've been writing for school a lot recently, and I noticed that I was using the word "utilize" a bit too often. Despite having heard it in context a million times, I couldn't think of an appropriate definition and figured it was a synonym for "use." That made me wonder why I was using "utilize" when I could just as easily have been using "use." So I looked it up and got a rather satisfactory answer.

I wanted to make this thread so that we can all share our writing tips with each other, hopefully to better our abilities as writers. If you think you know something about writing and care to explain, please do! Also, if you have writing preferences or certain things you do or don't like to read, place it here! Evidence for writing rules are always welcome.

Of all of the articles differentiating "use" and "utilize," I found this to be the most succinct: Here


--- Quote ---"Use" is to employ objects for the purposes they were designed for.

"Utilize," on the other hand, is to employ objects for unintended purposes.

--- End quote ---


Also, as some personal advice, I abstain from using the word "began" as much as possible. Read through some poor writing and you might notice that things "begin" a lot. "The water began dripping," "the earth began to rumble," etc.

I find that there are many words and many ways to re-structure a sentence that make it sound good. If most sentences have the word "began" in them, the structure of the sentence also falls within two bland variations. Overuse can make it seem like the author has a sentence-shaped cookie cutter with Began filling.

Just Lance:
Mmm that's interesting. If you keep with this I could utilize this and finally begin to conquer and defeat my writing block.

Cef:
Hey cool~!

I think it helps if you have people go over the first draft of your stuff before considering it done. Or, better yet, you read it out loud yourself. Your mistakes in the grammar and styling of the writing becomes more noticeable that way since you get a different perspective over the writing. It's a technique my prof employs in our essay writing class, and, I have to say, it's extremely effective.

For creative writing tips, I suggest giving Limyaael a look. She's better at giving advice than me lol.

Merlandese:
That's a great tip, and I completely agree with it.

Vasha:
Advice on stereotypes: If they're too obvious, they're extremely annoying. But if done well or subverted or whatnot, they can be kind of fun.

Also, don't be too informal in your writing. This goes mostly for creative writing, cuz essays you shouldn't be informal at all, but if you're too relaxed when you're writing, it looks just kind of sloppy. Give your paragraphs/dialogue/story/everything good structure. (I still cringe when I remember the first time I ever wrote something, and anything that wasn't speech was dictated through closed-captioning-like speech, like *whistling* and *singing in the shower*)

ALSO, that reminds me. PARAGRAPHS ARE YOU FRIENDS. It's one of the most basic things we learn when learning about Grammar, that EVERY TIME A NEW PERSON SPEAKS YOU HAVE A PARAGRAPH BREAK. So many of the people that I've seen who experiment with writing just seem to have totally thrown that rule out of their mind. I did, too, when I first started back in elementary school, but it is SO IMPORTANT.

Also (Wow, I was planning on saying only one thing here), lay off the crazy names. Just because it's a fictional world, that doesn't give you an excuse to have your characters named Asfsa, Zaaaajcqu, and Flynrdl (and Bob). Stick with names that people can actually pronounce.


--- Quote from: Lance D. Stone on February 29, 2012, 04:07:25 PM ---Mmm that's interesting. If you keep with this I could utilize this and finally begin to conquer and defeat my writing block.

--- End quote ---

Haha, utilize :P

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