20 Ways to Improve Your Writing HTML version
1. Keep opinions to yourself
A major pitfall of the amateur writer is to cheat by describing scenery with an opinion,
when they should make the scene project that feeling upon the reader without telling
them how to feel.
Unless the narrator is an integral part of your storyline, descriptions in third-person
narration should not contain opinionated words. Do not tell the reader that the dark forest
is scary, eerie, ghastly or horrible. Show them through vivid description and character
action. When you leave the description open to interpretation, the reader becomes more
involved in the story process.
Opinionated words do have their place. They should be closed inside of monologue or
dialogue to develop characters. Show the setting objectively and then make your
character react to it. This way, the scene is written to make the reader develop their own
For example, some people would feel perfectly at home in a swamp or cave. Others
would find it dreadful. It accomplishes nothing to describe your swamp as a “dreadful
swamp” in the setting description. Show us why most people think it is dreadful. You
will have to work harder but your efforts will be well-rewarded.
Conjure up the elements that people associate with dread: creepy crawlies, putrid
smells of decay, fog, sounds and twilight.
Let the reader use their imagination and form an opinion and they will be more willing
to accept the character’s reaction to the setting.