10 Blog Tips for Writing Good Content
Go Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially the Hooptedoodle
Elmore Leonard gives us ten blog tips for good writing to help writers remain invisible, and to help writers show rather than tell what’s taking place in a story.He advises “if you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.”While on occassion I’ve been accused of enjoying the sound of my own voice, I decided to take his advice anyhoo. Although his rules were written for more serious writing there are gems there that bloggers can also take note. I especially like the following advice:
Never use a verb other than “said” when carrying a dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary…Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful…
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
I follow another basic rule in writing. It should sound ‘conversational’. Read your post out loud. Or better still, use software that will read it for you (click on the little speaker icon at the bottom right of this post and you will see what I mean). Or ask someone else to read it to you. If it doesn’t sound natural, then it needs fixing.