EST. May 2000 (AD)


Popular Columns:

How To Write Good

By Pamela Miller

Some people think that a good writer was born knowing how to write. This is not true. No one is just born knowing how to remove nasal polyps. The person with that job went to a special school. People who want to write need to go to a special school, too. Or they could just read a book on how to write. There are many good books out there written by people who like to write and want people to write, too, so they will have something good to read. Either way, writing is a nice thing to know and learn.

There are some simple lessons that can help improve a person’s writing. Here they are:

1) There are 8 parts of speech. They are all good, but some people have a favorite. I like pronouns. Other people really like adverbs very much. Action words are called verbs. If you add the ‘ing’ ending to some nouns, they will turn into gerunds. To turn them back into nouns, you take away the ‘ing’ ending. It’s like magic, but it’s just grammar. Adjectives describe things. It’s good to know many words to describe how big, bad, or nice something is. If they are the opposite, you just add the word "not." Then the reader will know that what is being described is not big, not bad or not nice. Conjunctions link phrases and clauses. Or not. At the end or in the beginning or around the middle part of the sentence, there can be prepositions. When you are very excited, you can add an interjection. Yippee!!! Now we know the parts of speech!

2) Some words are better than others. Don’t use words that will offend your audience. For example, some words are just too big. People like little words so they can very easily know what you are saying. For example:

The cow is in the barn.

The bovine is in the room where they keep the hay and other things related to hay.

The first example is the good one.

There are also bad things that are not supposed to be in what you are writing if children are reading it. The name for this bad thing that accidentally happens when you write is double entendre. It’s never something that you plan. It’s the fault of your reader for having a filthy mind.

As in:

While sister was practicing sword swallowing, Dick forcefully thrust his sabre into mother's muff, grandma's honeypot and Aunt Helen's glazed donut. Children should not play with knives in the house.

3) When it comes to punctuation, use lots of it. It tells the reader that you know how to end sentences, ask questions or that something is exciting.

As in:

Boy, that was good pudding!(!!!!!!!!!)
Do you know the recipe????
I do not…

4) Many authors use word pictures and descriptive words. If you want to write like authors, you’ll use them, too.

The sky is blue. (Now you’ve established the time of day. It’s daytime!)

The car is red. (This will alert the reader that you don’t mean the blue car or the white car. The reader will picture only a red car in his head.)

5) Characters: Write what you know. Write who you know. If you don’t know anybody, go out and meet people so you can write about them. Change their names. That’s what will turn the story into fiction.

6) Plot: It moves the story from A to B (and sometimes back again). If you don’t have a plot, not much is going on. Authors of fiction often have plots. The first thing you should learn in writing school is to do a plot.

7) Language: Pick one language and always write in it. Unless you italicize the letters. If you use italics, that will tell the reader it’s a foreign language or the title of a magazine.

As in:

Oy vey, I just finished reading Vogue.

8) Sentences: They have a subject and a predicate. They should not go on for too long because it’s hard for people to follow along when the sentence doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and just seems to ramble on and on and in a roundabout way without ever getting to the point and the reader will scratch their heads and wonder where the subject and the predicate are and what’s the point of the sentence.

9) Paragraphs are how you put clumps of sentences together. Or just one. Paragraphs are really good except if you’re writing a slogan. If you are writing a slogan, only use 2-7 words. And don’t use a paragraph.

10) Ending stories: Writing "The End" is sometimes good enough. Always write the ending with closure.

Writing takes a long time to learn. Even when you think you wrote something good and nice, you could be wrong. Always ask other people to tell you what they think. What they think may not be what you think, but at least we are all thinking.

The End.

Copyright © 2005 by Pamela Miller





Pamela Miller saves the world by day, writes by night, and wishes she could find a hotter place to live than Phoenix. The world is simply too cold.