Having dwelled, last month, on several posts about “rules” and concepts I advised writers to ignore or at least salt down, I thought I should balance it with some more positive material; tips to help writers work better. It surprises many to learn that I actually have a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. From the University of Washington, to be precise: Go Huskies! But I learned more while writing for a living: meeting deadlines for newspapers, pressure to write better than the staff on magazines, measuring copy against sales figures for catalogs. And in all those classes and decades of exposure to pro writers, I only picked up a bare handful of tips that I feel are useful enough to pass along to others. So, since I rate in top echelons of truly wonderful guys, that’s what I’m going to do. These are things that actually help and actually work. They are additive, rather than prohibitive tips, ranging from truly simplistic to fairly arcane. And both kind of mystical.
I’ll start out at the simple end of the scale, with something that might just seem silly to many. But for some reason it works. I first heard it from the editor of an Army newspaper, and later, almost word for word, while interviewing a great American writer, the late Ross Thomas. Here goes. Continue reading “MOVE IT OR LOSE IT”